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)

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