Sunday's Monkey Won't Play Piano Song
Ava Gardner; pictured with Lana TurnerTue, December 26, 2006 - 10:37 AM
A biography has previously alleged that Sinatra found Gardner and Turner in bed together and Gardner admitted an affair with Turner and a number of other high-profile female stars to the journalist Michael Thornton. When asked why she denied it at the time she replied that the morals clause in their contracts meant they would have been terminated had such information been made public. Ava's new biography Love is Nothing... discusses this issue in that Turner reportedly later on told people that what really happened was she, Ava and a male friend were sitting down to eat dinner when Frank happened upon them.
Gardner is reported as saying that it was a visit to New York to see Cole Porter's musical Du Barry Was a Lady starring Ethel Merman, Bert Lahr and 23-year old Betty Grable that made her realise she could have feelings for another woman.
'From the moment Betty walked onto that stage, she just blew me away. I couldn't take my eyes off this gorgeous creature and I began to realise, with some embarrassment, that I found her physically attractive. She had a very sexual way of delivering her lines, with that pouting little mouth that made every word look like a kiss to the audience.'
Years later Gardner met Grable in Hollywood and tried to tell her about the effect she had had on her. According to Gardner, Grable just rolled her eyes and fell about laughing before saying 'Well honey, I can think of one big thing we've both had in common' (she was referring to Artie Shaw).
After leaving Shaw, Gardner went to stay with the self-confessed lesbian agent Minna Wallis, sister of the Hollywood producer Hal B. Wallis. Minna made no secret of her admiration for Gardner who said 'she was just crazy about me, but at least she wasn't trying to get me pregnant. I had a deep-down fear of child-bearing.'
After the marriage to Sinatra ended, Gardner fled to London where she began an affair with Britain's reigning sex symbol Christine Norden, the openly bisexual mistress of movie mogul Alexander Korda. One of the reasons for the volatility of her marriage to Sinatra was her dalliances with, among others, Lana Turner and Barbara Payton. One day Sinatra arrived home to find all three women 'lying around with not many clothes on', to quote Payton.
In London her friends were almost exclusively homosexual.
Her principal friend was Charles Gray.
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