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MY STORY   "If I don't tell my side of the story," Ava Gardner said, "it'll too late, and then some self-appointed biographer will step in and add to the inaccuracies, the inventions,and the absymal lies that already exist.

"I want to tell the truth...about the three men I loved and married: Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Francis Sinatra. I want to write about the Hollwood I knew from the early forties when I arrived wide-eyed from the cotton and tobacco fields of North Carolina, about the films I made, many in exotic settings all over the world and the real behind-the-scenes stories, often a damn sight more dramatic than the movies themselves."

"I want to remember it all, the good times and the bad times, the late nights, the boozing, the dancing into dawns, and all the great and not-so-great people I met and loved in those years..."

Ava began working on her autobiography, but unfortunately she died of pneumonia in 1990 before the first printing was released. The book became a success, as Gardner refused to hide any of her faults and foibles. The fun-loving, bawdy attitude of Gardner came through in her book, which quickly became a New York Times Bestseller.


The Most Recent Publication about Ava Gardner, GRABTOWN GIRL

Cover, Grabtown GirlAt age nine, Ava Gardner went to the Howell Theater in Smithfield, North Carolina, with her mother Mollie to see her mother's favorite movie star Clark Gable starring as a safari leader in Africa with Jean Harlow in Red Dust. Twenty years later Ava would find herself in Jean Harlow's role in a remake of that story, Mogambo, with none other than Clark Gable.

That such a thing could happen to a country girl from North Carolina was beyond the imagination not only of Ava but of everybody who knew her. But people learned to expect the unexpected from Ava. By 13, she'd decided she wanted to ba a movie star, and at 18 she joked with friends that she was going to marry the biggest star in Hollywood. She did both, and went on to become one of the most famous women of the 20th century.

How did a shy, tomboyish farm girl do that?

Doris Rollins Cannon spent years interviewing family, friends, teachers and others who knew Ava to determine the forces that drove her, the values that guided her. She found they were firmly grounded in her North Carolina roots.

"She endured in a profession in which only the strong survive," Cannon writes. "And she survived, not because she overcame her rural North Carolina background --- but because she drew her strength from it."

Much has been written about Ava's ledgendary life, but the material in this book, never before told, adds a new and moving dimension to her story. It includes letters and photographs never before published.

Doris Rollins Cannon of Johnston County, a retired newspaper journalist, is chairman emeritus of the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina. She lives in nearby Clayton.

Contact Ava Gardner Museum, 325 E. Market Street, Smithfield, NC 27577, telephone 919.934.5830 or e-mail for more information.