Ava Gardner, Unapologetic Sexpot, Still Bewitches

Ava Gardner in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, 1951. (Photo courtesy Ava Gardner Museum)
A museum in her hometown pays homage to the star in all her complexity — larger than life, lusty, and lonely in the end.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE H aving written about the witches in Salem earlier this week, I’ll turn to a woman who was simply, stunningly bewitching. Ava Gardner (1922–1990) was one of the biggest stars in movies. The Barefoot Contessa, Show Boat, Mogambo, The Sun Also Rises, and Night of the Iguana are some of her biggest hits, but her life offscreen was as cinematic, with an X rating. She’s also, as far as I can tell, the only big Hollywood star with a museum dedicated to her life. Fresh from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, where I wrote about tight, fanatical Puritans, I went

(Photo courtesy Ava Gardner Museum)

Most Popular

History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
U.S.

Gratitude: What We Owe to Our Country

Editor’s Note: The following essay by National Review founder William F. Buckley comes from the first chapter of his 1990 book, Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country. I have always thought Anatole France’s story of the juggler to be one of enduring moral resonance. This is the arresting and ... Read More
U.S.

Gratitude: What We Owe to Our Country

Editor’s Note: The following essay by National Review founder William F. Buckley comes from the first chapter of his 1990 book, Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country. I have always thought Anatole France’s story of the juggler to be one of enduring moral resonance. This is the arresting and ... Read More