Posts Tagged ‘frank sinatra’

Ava Gardner’s deathbed confessions reveal stories of booze, sex and stardom

Friday, July 4th, 2014

CELEBRITY STORIES

Ava Gardner’s deathbed confessions reveal stories of booze, sex and stardom

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By Maureen Callahan
New York Post

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She was broke and alone and usually drunk, a one-time Hollywood goddess who had two choices: “I either write the book or sell the jewels,” she said. “And I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.”

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And so, in January 1988, Ava Gardner, ravaged by booze and cigarettes and a recent stroke, called British journalist Peter Evans and asked him to ghostwrite her memoirs. What followed were the extended deathbed confessions of a legend, compiled for the first time in Evans’ last book, “Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations.”

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Among the shocking revelations: first husband Mickey Rooney was such a womanizer that he cheated on Ava, then considered the most beautiful woman in the world, in their marital bed ­while she was in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy.

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“He went through the ladies like a hot knife through fudge,” she said, adding that her best friend Lana Turner ­ who’d slept with Rooney first ­ called him “Andy Hard-On.”

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Gardner went on to marry bandleader Artie Shaw ­ “another kind of bully; he was always putting me down” ­ and then, most famously, Frank Sinatra, who left his wife for her.

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While seeing Sinatra, Gardner also had an affair with the married Robert Mitchum. “I was crazy about him,” she said. When she told Mitchum that she was also seeing Sinatra, he ended things. “He said, ‘Get into a fight with him, and he won’t stop until one of you is dead,’ ” Gardner said. “He didn’t want to risk it being him.”

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Gardner was a teenage virgin from Grabtown, NC, when she was discovered by a talent scout in 1941. She’d grown up poor and uneducated, yet her mother always knew that Ava had what it took to be a movie star. So did she.

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“I wasn’t dumb,” Gardner said. “I knew that my looks might get me through the studio gates.”

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She knew she wasn’t a great actress, and didn’t much care: “A lot of my stuff ended up on the cutting-room floor,” she said. “A lot more should have.”

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After a screen test, she was signed to a seven-picture deal with MGM, and quickly became sought after by nearly every leading man in Hollywood. On her first day on the lot, she met Rooney, the 5-foot-2 star of the wholesome “Andy Hardy” series.

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“I wanted to f–k you the moment I saw you,” he told her. Gardner was 18 and innocent. “I was shocked,” she said. “I still didn’t know he was the biggest wolf on the lot . . . He’d screw anything that moved.”

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After a one-year courtship they wed, and one of Hollywood’s greatest sex symbols was a virgin on her wedding night. “I caught on very quickly,” she said.

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After Rooney came Howard Hughes. “I never loved him,” she said, adding that despite the generosity he showed her, paying for her dying mother’s medical care, he was also a racist. “Howard wouldn’t piss on a black man to put him out if he was on fire,” she said.

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Then, in 1945, she married Shaw ­ who’d also left his wife for her. But now Gardner was smoking three packs of Winstons a day and getting drunk constantly; she felt so intellectually insecure around her new husband that she finally took an IQ test.

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“He had me convinced that I was completely stupid,” Gardner said. “I didn’t have an enormous IQ, but I did have a high one.”

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One week after their first anniversary, Shaw dumped her for another woman.

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“The bastard broke my heart,” she said, and throughout her life she picked the wrong men. ­ including George C. Scott, who Gardner said would often drunkenly “beat the s–t out of me.”

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In 1951 she married Sinatra, who she later called the love of her life. Their relationship was famously tempestuous, and her best friend Turner ­ who’d also had affairs with Shaw and Sinatra ­ begged Gardner not to go through with it: “I’ve been there, honey,’ she told me. ‘Don’t do it!’ I should have listened to her.”

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Gardner had two abortions during her marriage to Sinatra, and a courtship that began with “fighting all the time, boozing and fighting,” ended the same way. They divorced in 1957, but remained close for the rest of their lives, and when Gardner pulled out of completing her memoirs, Evans suspected that Sinatra gave her the money she would have gotten for the book.

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Her decision wasn’t a complete surprise to Evans; she would later say that when she was “pushing clouds around,” he could publish their book.

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She died in 1990, at 67, from pneumonia.

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mcallahan@nypost.com

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Diane Keaton on The Ambassador…

Monday, October 13th, 2008

OPINION

The Ambassador Hotel lesson

 

 

The Ambassador Hotel just before its demolition

 

Demolishing such iconic buildings not only destroys history, it wastes resources.

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By Diane Keaton

From The Los Angeles Times
October 13, 2008

 

Last week, I drove past the 22-acre vacant lot once known as the Ambassador Hotel. As I looked at the rubble of our lost cause, I pulled over, sat back and gave in to a feeling I can only describe as guilt. I thought about my connection to the once-iconic hotel, about why places like it are so difficult to save, and about what it takes to be a better, more effective advocate for historic buildings.

 

I was just a little girl the first time I visited the Ambassador. My father held my hand and led me down a long hallway before we stopped in front of an ornate facade. I remember Dad’s smile as he slowly opened the door to … the fabulous Cocoanut Grove nightclub! In the magic of a perfect moment, I looked up and saw a parade of dreams etched across the face of the man I loved more than anyone in the world. It was at that moment that something clicked inside my little 9-year-old brain, something that helps me, even today, believe in the ability of the built world to change the trajectory of our lives.

 

In our battle against the Los Angeles Unified School District’s decision to tear down the Ambassador and put up a new school, we made many arguments. We focused on “reuse” as an economic incentive. The LAUSD wasn’t buying it. We hired a team of architects to come up with options that would transform Myron Hunt’s 350,000-square-foot building into a series of classrooms, administrative offices and low- and moderate-income housing. That didn’t fly either. Neither did the argument that the Ambassador was a national landmark, or that six Oscar ceremonies had been hosted there, or that Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and even Barbra Streisand broke hearts on the stage of the Cocoanut Grove. It didn’t matter. Nothing stopped the Ambassador from becoming another little death of no consequence.

 

Preservation has always been a hard sell in Los Angeles. But maybe in the years ahead it won’t be as hard as it used to be, considering several new facts. No. 1, as my Dad would have said, a building represents an enormous investment of energy — much bigger than we thought when we were fighting to save the Ambassador. No. 2, we now know that construction of new structures alone consumes 40% of the raw materials that enter our economy every year. No. 3, according to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the resources required to manufacture these materials and transport them to a site and assemble them into a structure is the equivalent of consuming 5 to 15 gallons of oil per square foot. No. 4, a Brookings Institution study indicates that the construction of new buildings alone will destroy one-third of our existing building stock by 2030. And finally, No. 5, the energy used to destroy older buildings in addition to the energy used to build new ones could power the entire state of California for 10 years, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

The Ambassador in its heyday

 

We’ve treated old buildings like we once treated plastic shopping bags — we haven’t reused them, and when we’ve finished with them, we’ve tossed them out. This has to stop. Preservation must stand alongside conservation as an equal force in the sustainability game. More older and historic buildings have to be protected from demolition, not only because it affects our pocketbooks but more important because it threatens our environment. Let’s face it, our free ride at the expense of the planet is over.

 

I’ll never understand why architecture is considered a second cousin to painting and film. We’ve never been married to our romance with architecture. A building, unlike a canvas or a DVD, is a massive work of art with many diverse uses. We watch movies in buildings. We look at paintings on their walls. We pray in cathedrals. We live inside places we call homes. Home gives us faith in the belief of a well-lived life. When we tear down a building, we are wiping out lessons for the future. If we think of it that way, we will begin to understand the emotional impact of wasting the energy and resources used to build it in the first place.

 

As for me, I’m keeping the door to the Cocoanut Grove open. I’m still holding on to my father’s hand and the memory that grew to inspire my dream of a golden — now green — future among structures that stand as invitations to a past we can only imagine by being in their presence.

 

Diane Keaton is an Oscar-winning actress. She is a former board member of the Los Angeles Conservancy and is currently a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Obit…Connie Haines

Friday, September 26th, 2008

OBITUARY

Connie Haines dies at 87; big band singer co-starred with Sinatra

 

 

Connie Haines teamed with Frank Sinatra as lead vocalists for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Many of her hit songs were the product of her warm musical partnership with Sinatra. She sang on his 89th birthday television tribute in 1995.

 

By Don Heckman
Special to The Times
September 26, 2008

 

Connie Haines, a petite and dynamic big band singer who performed alongside Frank Sinatra in the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey orchestras, died Monday in Clearwater, Fla. The cause of death was myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease. She was 87.   (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Robert Wagner’s Secret Affair…

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

CELEBRITY NEWS

Robert Wagner reveals love affair with Stanwyck

 

 

Lionel Stander, Stefanie Powers, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Wagner at the Emmys in 1983

 

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 22, 2008
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NEW YORK (AP) — Robert Wagner’s marriage to Natalie Wood was known to all. His love affair with Barbara Stanwyck was a secret — until now. In his new memoir ”Pieces of My Heart,” Wagner writes of his four-year romance with the star of such classics as Stella Dallas and Double Indemnity.

 

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