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All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » July 29th, 2017, 2:57 pm

Yes, Anthony! It's wonderful to have so many first-person recollections of Ava. I loved how Lumley and the cast called her "Big A."

Also, I'd never seen the photo of Ava walking down the red carpet with Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston for the AFI tribute to John Huston, and it's nice to know Ava was seated next to Huston.

As I reviewed the acknowledgements section, it's amazing how much cooperation you had from so many libraries, agencies, and previous biogaphers of Ava.

If you feel you can share with us here, do you mind revealing what interviews that you conducted revealed information that you'd not encountered before?
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 29th, 2017, 3:46 pm

Different directors such as Robert Siodmak, George Cukor, John Ford, and John Huston brought out something special in the actress. Was there a particular director whose help was significant for Ava Gardner?
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 4:05 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:

As I reviewed the acknowledgements section, it's amazing how much cooperation you had from so many libraries, agencies, and previous biogaphers of Ava.

If you feel you can share with us here, do you mind revealing what interviews that you conducted revealed information that you'd not encountered before?


I think it's safe to say that all of those we had the privilege of interviewing brought new and fascinating information. Some of it was purely anecdotal and not necessarily revolutionary, but it was exactly finding out those little things that was so exciting. Constance McCashin from the cast of Knots Landing for instance shared a very personal story, as did William Graves and Tina Sinatra. I think it was one of the best aspects of this whole journey, just having the chance to talk to the people who knew Ava first hand and who experienced what she was really like behind that glamorous movie star facade. We're really pleased that all of these stories are in the book for fans to discover!

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 4:13 pm

moira finnie wrote:Different directors such as Robert Siodmak, George Cukor, John Ford, and John Huston brought out something special in the actress. Was there a particular director whose help was significant for Ava Gardner?


In later years Ava maintained that John Huston was her favourite director, and indeed they did create magic in The Night of the Iguana, but I think all of the ones you mentioned Moira had a tremendous effect on her. She worked with them at different stages of her development as an actress, and I think each had a profound influence on her. Siodmak really brought out that natural, sultry quality that made her a star, John Ford helped to showcase her warmth and humor. Cukor and Stanley Kramer really made her tap into her deeper reserves in order to show the multidimensional talent she possessed- she was quite brilliant at playing tender, vulnerable scenes with great spontaneity, which was actually quite rare in her day.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 29th, 2017, 4:23 pm

Thank you, Anthony. Even though her second film with John Huston, The Bible, was not very well received, her role as Sarah was poignant and had considerable dignity (despite the furor off-screen with George C. Scott). Prior to his death, I read that Huston had hoped to cast her again in a proposed adaptation of Hemingway's Islands in the Stream, which was eventually made by Franklin Schaffner in 1977 with Scott in the lead. Perhaps it's just as well that "dream casting" never occurred?

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 29th, 2017, 4:31 pm

moira finnie wrote: Prior to his death, I read that Huston had hoped to cast her again in a proposed adaptation of Hemingway's Islands in the Stream, which was eventually made by Franklin Schaffner in 1977 with Scott in the lead. Perhaps it's just as well that "dream casting" never occurred?


Oh gosh, I agree! I think that Ava certainly had more than enough Scott for one lifetime. And the eventual adaption with the beautiful Claire Bloom as the female lead actually worked well, and she was spared the horror Ava went through, so I think it was all for the best!
But Ava and Huston remained good friends till the end (he died a couple of years before Ava), and the speech she made for him at the AFI event really is moving (I was able to see the rare footage courtesy of a fan from NYC who had it recorded on an old VHS tape- another example of how this book, as indeed any book, was truly a team effort!)

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » July 29th, 2017, 5:35 pm

Oh, that is a rare find from the BFI, Anthony! That was a lucky treasure. I remember watching part of it at the time, but have little memory of Ava's speech. Can you sharer any of it with us?

Also, I loved the photo of Ava with a cute baby promoting On The Beach on the cover of a Swedish magazine included in your wonderful book.
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby Vienna » July 30th, 2017, 2:03 am

Hi, Kendra and Anthony. Many thanks for talking to us on the Oasis. Can you tell us something about Ava's experience on Show Boat. Her own singing voice wasn't heard , but her recordings survived.
I love her in MOGAMBO . Did she enjoy working with Clark Gable?
P.S. I'm from Scotland. We sometimes have speakers at the Glasgow Film Theatre. Perhaps they could schedule some of Ava's films!

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby kendrajbean » July 30th, 2017, 5:15 am

AnthonyUzarowski wrote:
Sue Sue Applegate wrote:

As I reviewed the acknowledgements section, it's amazing how much cooperation you had from so many libraries, agencies, and previous biogaphers of Ava.

If you feel you can share with us here, do you mind revealing what interviews that you conducted revealed information that you'd not encountered before?


I think it's safe to say that all of those we had the privilege of interviewing brought new and fascinating information. Some of it was purely anecdotal and not necessarily revolutionary, but it was exactly finding out those little things that was so exciting. Constance McCashin from the cast of Knots Landing for instance shared a very personal story, as did William Graves and Tina Sinatra. I think it was one of the best aspects of this whole journey, just having the chance to talk to the people who knew Ava first hand and who experienced what she was really like behind that glamorous movie star facade. We're really pleased that all of these stories are in the book for fans to discover!


Just want to say I fully agree with this! It was a treat to be able to speak with people who knew her and had fond memories.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby kendrajbean » July 30th, 2017, 5:28 am

Vienna wrote:Hi, Kendra and Anthony. Many thanks for talking to us on the Oasis. Can you tell us something about Ava's experience on Show Boat. Her own singing voice wasn't heard , but her recordings survived.
I love her in MOGAMBO . Did she enjoy working with Clark Gable?
P.S. I'm from Scotland. We sometimes have speakers at the Glasgow Film Theatre. Perhaps they could schedule some of Ava's films!


Hi Vienna,

We'd love to come up to Glasgow for some Ava events! Thanks for the tip.

Ava was, understandably, very disappointed with Arthur Freed and MGM for not using her own signing voice, as originally agreed. She was actually a pretty good singer, as is evidenced on the recordings that went into the soundtrack LP released to the public. Her voice is earthy and sensual and better fits the character of Julie LaVerne than does that of Anne Warren, who dubbed her songs on screen. In terms of working on the film, however, she seems to have had a good time. She became good friends with her cast mates Kathryn Grayson and especially Howard Keel who was an enthusiastic drinking buddy and jokester.

Yes, Ava loved Clark Gable. Mogambo was the third film they made together. She's had a schoolgirl crush on him since she saw him in Red Dust in 1932 back in Smithfield, North Carolina. She was also a big fan of Gone With the Wind while growing up and used to fantasize about Clark as Rhett Butler (she wasn't alone in that!). She found Clark kind, good natured, and he gave helpful advice before they started working on The Hucksters in the late 1940s.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 30th, 2017, 10:45 am

kendrajbean wrote:Ava was, understandably, very disappointed with Arthur Freed and MGM for not using her own signing voice, as originally agreed. She was actually a pretty good singer, as is evidenced on the recordings that went into the soundtrack LP released to the public. Her voice is earthy and sensual and better fits the character of Julie LaVerne than does that of Anne Warren, who dubbed her songs on screen.


Below are examples of Ava's own voice in, first, The Killers (I guess Siodmak & Hellinger understood that Gardner's understated singing had an authenticity that only enhanced her character's power). I was very interested in the parts of your book that described your subject's discovery of jazz and the hard work she put into preparing for the singular role of Julie, a character she probably knew in her bones was one she was born to play. The second & third clips are her haunting singing of the Hammerstein-Kern classics from Show Boat prior to the dubbing. Darn that studio!

The Killers (1946)
phpBB [video]


Show Boat (1951)
phpBB [video]


phpBB [video]
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 30th, 2017, 11:02 am

Could we talk a bit about the people who were important to Ava Gardner?

First, her parents and sister, Beatrice “Bappie” Gardner:

Given the poverty of her youth, how did the actress regard her mother and father? Were her memories of them bittersweet?
Image
Ava Gardner with her mother.

How did Ava Gardner regard her sister, who accompanied her to Hollywood?
Image
Ava & her sister Bappie at the Del Mar racetrack (I love the glasses! This photo courtesy of Mongo Joe!)

Mearene (Rene) Jordan, Ava's maid, friend, & confidante, starting in 1946. What did her lifelong friendship with Ms. Jordan mean to Gardner?:
Image
The actress with Rene Jordan.

Thanks in advance for your insights.
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby AnthonyUzarowski » July 30th, 2017, 1:07 pm

moira finnie wrote:Could we talk a bit about the people who were important to Ava Gardner?

First, her parents and sister, Beatrice “Bappie” Gardner:

Given the poverty of her youth, how did the actress regard her mother and father? Were her memories of them bittersweet?


By all accounts Ava had nothing but fond memories of her parents. Her mother was a very warm and selfless woman, who put her children's happiness before her own. She gave Ava her blessing before the eighteen year old left for Hollywood. At the time she was hiding the fact that she had terminal cancer; she didn't want her health preventing Ava from seeking a better future.
Ava did feel some degree of guilt over the fact that she left, and that she wasn't there when her mother eventually passed away two years later.
Ava always said, I knew we were poor but we didn't feel it because we were loved. I think her parents' marriage was always the ideal in her mind, she would seek that kind of a stable and loving relationship throughout her life,but would sadly never find it.


moira finnie wrote:How did Ava Gardner regard her sister, who accompanied her to Hollywood?


Bappie was always a reminder of the happier time, a link to Ava's childhood. Being quite a bit older than Ava, she certainly became something of a mother figure, especially after their mother died. They remained close throughout Ava's life, with Bappie faithfully following her famous sister around the world. Eventually Bappie remarried (her first marriage to the photographer Larry Tarr who took the famous portrait of Ava, which kick-started her career, fell apart after Bappie moved to LA), and after Ava moved to London they saw each other less frequently, although they continued to speak on the phone and they saw each other every few months.

moira finnie wrote:Mearene (Rene) Jordan, Ava's maid, friend, & confidante, starting in 1946. What did her lifelong friendship with Ms. Jordan mean to Gardner?:


Rene brought stability and friendship into Ava's life when she really needed it, after the disastrous marriages to Rooney and Artie Shaw. They were of a similar age, and they became friends very quickly. Rene was Ava's faithful companion for many years, and a friend till the end. Despite coming from the South, where at the time racial segregation was the order of the day, since early childhood Ava had displayed a complete lack of prejudice, which later transformed into an active anger at the injustice faced by the black people in Hollywood and around the country. Rene was much more than a maid, as she herself noted in her book, the bond between them was as strong as if they were sisters.

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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby moira finnie » July 30th, 2017, 3:33 pm

Thanks for your reply.

Did Gardner's marriages help her or hurt?

Reading about the way that things unfolded during her marital adventures, she seems to have had no idea how to build a relationship. Was that Hollywood's doing or did she simply feel too restless? Rooney and she don't appear to have been a good bet from the beginning, given their youth and the many distractions of career and studio life.

Was Shaw, described as intellectually condescending to Ava, a boon to her intellectual life thanks to the impetus he gave her to study and read widely?

BTW, I once read a memoir by Dirk Bogarde, who, while filming The Angel Wore Red (1960) with her, found her quite vulnerable, longing for the kind of stable relationship her parents had and still wondering if she should have had children. Did friendships with men such as Bogarde as well as her liaisons help her to cope as she grew older?

Was Sinatra ultimately a supportive person for her? How did you approach the Sinatra family while writing this book? Was their reaction to your questions surprising to you?

Image
Ava Gardner with Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra.

Also, your book revealed a few of Ava's suitors who were unexpected. Fred MacMurray--the rascal--and Howard Duff, who seems to have dated every beauty in his day. Was there any name among her fellas that came up that surprised you?
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Re: All About Ava Gardner with Kendra Bean & Anthony Uzarowski on 7/29 & 7/30

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » July 30th, 2017, 4:23 pm

Wonderful questions, Moira!

I've been enjoying your earlier responses, Kendra and Anthony.

After looking at all of the lovely photos in your new book, I was wondering if you had a special fondness for any of the images you encountered, both included in your latest release, or those that were ultimately unattainable for whatever reason.

I especially enjoyed the color photo where Ava is dressed in a black and white period costume for 55 Days at Peking where her expression might reveal her disdain for the entire production. (She's also wearing a straw hat with a large, black hatband tied in a standard bow.) I had never seen this image.
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