Portrait of Ava Gardner
Movies - TV
Why It Was Tough For Ava Gardner To Find Roles That Fit Her
Ava Gardner is considered one of the greatest screen legends from the golden age of Hollywood. For the bulk of her iconic career working under Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, her roles specifically focused on her legendary beauty, with the camera emphasizing her striking features to perfection.
When it came to the quality of her roles, however, she seemed destined to be the seductive siren type, landing back-to-back femme fatale roles in film noirs like "Whistle Stop." With her thick North Carolinian drawl and general lack of refinement, MGM put her through the wringer to sculpt an actress worthy of the big screen.
In the process, MGM trained out the natural feistiness from her personality and neglected to develop her acting abilities. This set the stage for Gardner's consistent struggle to find her acting niche in Hollywood, and it was only after she was loaned out to Universal Pictures for "The Killers" that she finally felt the acting spark.
Gardner still couldn't actively seek out roles in other productions due to her contract, though. Every decision had to be approved by MGM, and when it came to outside productions, MGM only wanted her in big roles — even when Gregory Peck asked her if she was interested in a theatrical production, MGM said no because it wasn’t a big part.