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Ava Gardner: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Friday, 15 May 2015 02:02 PM

Ava Gardner was a legend of the silver screen during her lifetime, appearing in more than 50 movies, but the sultry actress best known for her femme fatale roles and striking green eyes, plus being the love of Frank Sinatra's life, also left her mark on the small screen. In the 1980s she had roles in television series and mini-series as well as three made for TV movies.

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Born in North Carolina on Dec. 24, 1922, Gardner began her career as a model but finally clawed her way up the entertainment ladder with an appearance in the 1946 movie "The Killers" that made her a star. Known for playing dramatic roles, Gardner's life off-screen was equally off-kilter. She was married three times before her death in 1990, at age 67, in London – to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra.

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Gardner did not begin her television career until she was in her 60s. Her first TV appearances came in 1985. That year she appeared in a seven-episode story arc on the popular primetime soap opera "Knots Landing." She played Ruth Galveston, the mother of one of the show's stars, and described her reasoning for appearing on the show to United Press International's Vernon Scott in 1985, like this:

"I'm doing the show for the loot. It's that simple,'' Gardner told Scott. ''My manager, Jess Morgan talked me into it, and I could kill him. 'It's not the same thing as working in movies. These seven episodes are enough to last me a lifetime. I couldn't keep up with the fast TV pace. It's tough for an old gal of 62. It takes me a little more time to get things together these days."

That same year Gardner made two more TV shows. She played Agrippina in the five-episode miniseries called “A.D.” that is set in the years just after the death of Jesus Christ. In 1985, Gardner also stared in the TV remake of the 1958 movie hit, "The Long, Hot Summer," playing Minnie Littlejohn.

She went on to make two more TV movies in 1986. In "Harem," she played Kadin, the first wife to a Turkish sultan who abducts an American woman to join his harem much to Gardner's disgust. She also played the role of Diane Webb in "Maggie,” which was filmed in London, where she was living at the time, and described by The New York Times as "a lightweight and intermittently amusing mystery comedy."

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Ava Gardner was a legend of the silver screen during her lifetime, appearing in more than 50 movies, but the sultry actress best known for her femme fatale roles and striking green eyes, plus being the love of Frank Sinatra's life, also left her mark on the small screen.
hollywood, ava gardner
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2015-02-15
Friday, 15 May 2015 02:02 PM
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