A Few of Her Favorite Things: Ava Gardner

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Rita Hayworth. Elizabeth Taylor. Marilyn Monroe. And up there with the rest of the screen siren greats, stood that pillar of a woman. In a stroke of marketing genius, her image graced entire sides of buildings to promote the film noir classic The Killers. Ava became a star, and fans came in droves.

But perhaps my favorite Ava Gardner anecdoe comes from the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy, Fred, and Ethel visit The Brown Derby restaurant, that classic restaurant that no longer exists but was, at the time (as Lucy called it) "the watering hole" for the rich and famous.

Ethel: (sees waiter walk by with dessert) Oh, boy! I'm gonna have a piece of that!

Announcer: Telephone for Ava Gardner.

Fred: Where?! Where's Ava?!

Ethel: Fred! Fred, sit down! Remember? She's "just people, like you and me."

Fred: Yeah, she might be people, but she's not like you and me!

So, with that, presenting a few favorite things of the original "Bareoot Contessa" herself -- they might slay you. ;) 

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Fontana Sisters

The Fontana Sisters designed her iconic wardrobe for The Barefoot Contessa, and she remained an avid fan afterward. In fact, she campaigned for them to be her personal costume designer as part of her contract negotiations on future films. 


Yellow Roses

Mysterious roses showed up at her apartment from handsome men, and when she bought her first home, yellow roses were one of the first things she cultivated. 

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The bergamot, mandarin and lilac-infused Fracas was one of her favorite fragrances. 

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Ava and Frank shared a tumultuous lifetime of lover's ups and downs. But even at their worst, she was passionate about his music, and never got bored of hearing him sing (who can blame her). He frequently sang to her over the phone even after they divorced. 

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Coconut Cake

Reportedly she ate this every year on her birthday. 

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Ernest Hemingway

She starred in two films of Ernest's writing, and Artie Shaw encouraged her to read him. When she met Ernest, she said this was likely her favorite book. And when he later died, she was devastated. 

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Florida Water

Ava Gardner loved Erno Laszlo’s skin products, particularly the Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar


Clark Gable

Her co-star in Mogambo was also one of her favorite actors. 

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Flamenco became one of Ava's favorite pastimes after she learned it for The Barefoot Contessa; increasingly proficient and needing little sleep, she often danced all night -- her late night escapades becoming famous, or infamous, depending on who you ask. 


need more inspiration from the golden era of hollywood? 

Several notes in the spirit of doing the right thing... Ava Gardner didn't necessarily endorse any of the products listed here, but based upon my research I do believe she really loved these things. That said, if you buy from any of the links included above rather than going straight to the vendor site from Google or another search engine, I may get a portion of your purchase at no cost to you.