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Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations [Paperback]

Ava Gardner , Peter Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 July 2014
Ava Gardner was one of the most glamorous and famous stars in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Her list of films includes The Killers, Showboat and Mogambo, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress, and her co-stars included Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Humphrey Bogart, Charlton Heston, and Richard Burton - the A-list of male Hollywood stars. Married three times - to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra - the first two lasted only about a year each whilst her marriage to Sinatra lasted several. She had a long-running affair with Howard Hughes, and a briefer one with George C. Scott, among others. Ava Gardner is irresistibly candid and surprising. She began the book because, as she told Evans, 'it's either write the book or sell the jewels and I'm kinda fond of the jewels.' At the time of their collaboration Gardner was living in London, where she had lived for decades, smoking and drinking heavily. Having suffered a stroke that damaged the left side of her face and her left arm she had trouble sleeping and was often depressed - the glamorous wardrobes replaced by grey. Her story could itself have been depressing except for her wit and wickedness, which are on full display in this book. This book tells the story of her life as she wanted to tell it. Ava Gardner is the autobiography that Ava Gardner began with writer Peter Evans in 1988. She never finished it and decided against publishing it because of its frankness. She later collaborated on a tamer autobiography, which was published at her death in 1990. After Gardner's death, her estate authorised the book to be published much as she and Evans had originally conceived it.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (31 July 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1471101150
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471101151
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'An extraordinary read' The Lady

'Evans was trying to do a brisk competent professional job and then go back to his novel; Ava was a lonely old woman who needed someone to talk to in the middle of the night. Their agendas were bound to clash but it is precisely this clash that gives The Secret Conversations its vitality' Sunday Times

'Glamorous and captivating... here it is at last, full of wit and gossip' Woman's Weekly

'This new biography reveals the extraordinary life of one of Hollywood s greatest leading ladies' Woman & Home

'The anecdotes are ghoulishly compelling...Gardner irresistibly evokes a roughhouse version of Sunset Boulevard's Norman Desmond' Metro

'Evans's book preserves all the wicked wit and withering judgements of Gardner at her most unguarded' --Herald --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Peter Evans was a former columnist and foreign correspondent with the Daily Express, and had written for the Los Angeles Times and Vogue, as well as every major newspaper in Britain. He was the author of several previous books, including Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys and Peter Sellers: The Mask Behind the Mask.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ava Rides Again! 8 July 2013
By Belfast Dave VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A movie star who, by her own admission hated making movies, Ava Gardner was a unique and original screen beauty who's fondness for booze, men and good times are legendary. This book is her story as told by her to Peter Evans, who she asked to ghost write her autobiography in the late 1980's.
Her volatile temper, extreme language and life long affair with alcohol and tobacco are well documented, as is her generosity, quick wit, deep unhappiness and short fuse when it came to getting her own way.
This book is a gem among other Ava biographies, in that on every page you get to 'hear' the star's own voice. Peter Evans has captured what he spent so long trying to attain, Ava's independent and complex personality.
I laughed out loud several times while reading this book, and by the end felt a profound sadness for a lady who's life (by the end of it) had taken her on a journey from the pinnacles of stardom, to a sad and somewhat lonely end.
A truly fantastic and fascinating book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 1 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This superbly written account of the life of one of Hollywood's most glamorous, complex and misunderstood stars is a must read for anyone interested in Ava Gardner, or indeed in the movie culture of the 50s to 70s. Evans brings Ava Gardner's obstinacy and awkwardness in her last years to life effortlessly. Read this and you're guaranteed to be highly entertained, totally engrossed, and learn something.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 6 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is very well written and you feel as if you are in the room with Peter Evans and Ava Gardner when they are talking. It is an insight to the life of one of the world's most beautiful women and the events that shaped her life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading 14 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Such a wonderful actress and a great lady. What an interesting life and a side of her life we had not seen or heard.so many memories of a very beautiful person we have forever on the screen.Most enjoyable read
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read 23 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those who love Hollywood Stars from this era, this book is a must, Ava Gardner is one of the most beautiful icons from this time and this book is a 'have to read' I couldn't put it down from the first page and just know I will read it again and again, a wonderful insight of her life from a bygone era
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A different approach to a Biography 22 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You get a real insight into what Ava Gardner was like in her latter years and I am not sure that, for me, she came across as a very likeable person. I found the end of the book left disappointing as it left the reader up in the air. Overall worth a read but not as informative as I thought it would be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ava Gardner: The secret conversations 9 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
If your looking for a 'complete' Bio do not buy this book! It hardly covers anything in detail and so many questions left un answered. That said the author seemed to really capture the 'voice' and personality of Ava Gardner. Its a quick read and not really worth the price, I was left feeling slightly cheated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed 30 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From reviews I had read, I had expected more from this book. The basic problem is that Ava Gardner doesn't seem to have been a very interesting character though she was obviously a 'tough cookie'. OK she married some famous people including Frank Sinatra (hardly covered in the book) but reading about heavy drinking, smoking and wild parties doesn't do it for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
There was a lot of repetition in this book. On the whole I found
it disappointing.
Published 1 day ago by arbuthnot
5.0 out of 5 stars review of AVA GARDNER. THE PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS by Ava Gardner and...
This biography of Ava Gardner is a unique, witty and sometimes poignant insight into the life of this extraordinary woman. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Caramella
5.0 out of 5 stars Either the
I do not think this book is a five start rating. I will give three, and will not recommend it. thanks
Published 1 month ago by martha gibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating
Like to think these rich characters are 'pushing the clouds around' - definitely an interesting read. Love clouds now xxx
Published 2 months ago by Dr. M. M. Callanan
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!
Although I have always been a movie fan, I have never had time for the personal lives and nonsense spouted by "Stars 'n Celebrities (Whatever they are?). Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marisa Taylor
1.0 out of 5 stars repeating what others have said
tells you nothing new i was disappointed with this book ,if you have read about her before you will not learn anything new
Published 3 months ago by margaret fenton
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor value at full retail price of 20 - the book lacks scent
Ava Gardner – The secret conversations
Peter Evans & Ava Gardner ISBN 978 -1 -47110 -113 –7 hardback

An incomplete project cancelled by the actress. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JPSreviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good.
I enjoyed this, she swore even more than I do ! Evans was quite right leaving the naughty words in as it really does make you 'hear'
her speak.
Published 5 months ago by Plushrose
5.0 out of 5 stars Ava a book worthy of a goddess
Just put Ava down and had to write a review. It's so honest, pulls no punches in its portrayal of one of the all time greats.
This would make one hell of a great film. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lola/franks
1.0 out of 5 stars Schlock and swill.
This book offers us a patch up of junky, barely connected jabber from a shoebox of cassette tapes put together (with plenty of padding! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ronald Haak
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