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Press Release - March 27, 2007

Ava Gardner Estate Items to be Auctioned by Heritage!

Dallas, TX: Named one of the American Film Institute's Greatest Star's of All Time, Ava Gardner is best known for her leading roles in such classic films as Night of the Iguana (1964), On The Beach (1959) and Mogambo (1953). She left an indelible impression on moviegoers worldwide with her stunning good looks, her smoldering sexuality, both on-screen and off, and her exotic, and often unpredictable, personality.

Born on December 24, 1922 in Brogden, North Carolina, she first came to the attention of Hollywood when her photo was submitted to MGM by her brother-in-law, the owner of a New York photography studio. After an interview at MGM's New York office, Gardner relocated to Hollywood, where her first order of business was to hire a vocal coach, in order to rid herself of her thick, North Carolina accent.

Gardner's Hollywood career was a tabloid writer's dream. Soon after arriving in California, Gardner married Mickey Rooney, although the latter's dedication to Hollywood parties doomed the marriage after little more than a year. Gardner then moved on to a fling with eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes and later an affair with actor Howard Duff before marrying bandleader Artie Shaw in 1945. Even less successful than her first marriage, her relationship with Shaw also saw the beginning of a drinking problem that would last for years. Gardner and Shaw divorced in 1946.

Her third, and longest lasting marriage, was to Frank Sinatra in 1951. Sinatra left his wife, Nancy, in favor of Gardner, and was lambasted in the press for doing so. The spate of bad press damaged Sinatra's career, but actually boosted Gardner's, as her image as a sexy femme fatale was now secured. Although their relationship was, at best, rocky, marked by numerous fights, both public and private, and frequent separations, Gardner now used her impressive studio clout to secure Sinatra a role in From Here to Eternity (1953), a part that revitalized his career and won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. It was also during this time that she made Mogambo (1953), for which she would earn her first Oscar nomination (she lost to Audrey Hepburn for Roman Holiday). Although Gardner and Sinatra divorced in 1957, they remained friends for the rest of their lives, and Sinatra actually paid her medical expenses in 1989 after the actress suffered a debilitating stroke.

After divorcing Sinatra, Gardner traveled to Spain, where she established a strong friendship with author Ernest Hemingway. She moved to London in 1968, and only sporadically appeared in film and TV roles until 1986, when she retired altogether. Ava Gardner passed away on January 25, 1990, a victim of pneumonia.

"Ava Gardner was one of the most luminous stars ever to light up a movie screen," said Doug Norwine, Director of Music and Entertainment Auctions for Heritage, "and we're extremely proud to present items from her estate to the collecting public. In our upcoming auction, fans of Ms. Gardner's will find such intriguing items as original acetates of Frank Sinatra albums, handwritten letters, the first painting ever created by Sinatra - Frank was a dedicated, yet very private artist throughout most of his life - personal photos and belongings and much more. For any fan of this legendary actress, this is an opportunity not to be missed."

"Scores of additional vintage treasures await at our website,," Norwine said, "where interested collectors can view full-color, enlargeable images of each and every auction lot, read our complete and informative catalog descriptions, and even place their bids from the comfort and convenience of their home or office. Remember, the next best thing to being a star is having their stuff, so bid early and often at!"

Heritage Auction Galleries will hold their upcoming Music and Entertainment Signature auction on April 14 & 15, 2007, at their headquarters in Dallas, TX.

Ava Gardner Teenage Photos:
ESTIMATE: $500 & up

Painting by Frank Sinatra, Owned by Ava Gardner:
ESTIMATE: $10,000 & up

Frank Sinatra Signed Photo to Ava Gardner:
ESTIMATE: $1,000 & up

Ava Gardner Hand-Tinted Glamour Shot:
ESTIMATE: $600 & up

Ava Gardner Portrait by Paul Lewis Clemens:
ESTIMATE: $6,000 & up

Ava Gardner Owned Minton China, Green Cockatrice Pattern:
ESTIMATE: $2,000 & up

Ava Gardner Owned Nettie Rosenstein Evening Bag:
ESTIMATE: $350 & up

Frank Sinatra "Young At Heart"/ "Why Should I Cry Over You" Acetate (Western Recorders):
ESTIMATE: $500 & up

For more information about Heritage's auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

Prospective consignors and sellers of Entertainment, Celebrity or Hollywood memorabilia are invited to Or simply email Doug Norwine at

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Customer Service at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 150, or visit to order by email.

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