Ava Gardner’s think on her hometown, childhood birthdays, sharing a birthday through Howard Hughes and also being born a night owl. Quotes from Ava’s autobiography, Ava: mine Story, with historic context provided by Ava Gardner Museum’s arsenal manager, Beth Nevarez.

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Baby Ava, circa 1923.

December 24, 1922 – Ava Gardner is born.

“I to be born Ava Lavinia Gardner ~ above Christmas eve 1922 in Grabtown, north Carolina. Not Brogden, no Smithfield, like so plenty of of the publications say, but bad old Grabtown. God knows why it got that name: there to be no location to grab, and hardly any type of town at all.”

Grabtown is one unincorporated community in Johnston County, north Carolina about 9 miles southeast indigenous the city of Smithfield. Ava Gardner to be born top top a farm yard in this ar to Jonas and also Mary “Mollie” Gardner. Ava’s father to be a sharecropper, who farmed land own by someone else. The landlord listed the seed and the fertilizer if Jonas functioned the land, and they break-up the profits if there to be any. The family members moved come Brogden, NC as soon as Ava was two years old so that her mother might take a job cooking and also cleaning for the teachers that lived in ~ the regional teacherage.


Ava top top the porch that the home she was born in throughout a visit house to phibìc Carolina in 1949.

Christmastime Birthday

“As a child, what i loved about my birthday was the Christmas tree through lighted candle on it and the reality that all the relatives pertained to my party…And even when we were too negative to have actually two presents, Mama constantly made certain to bake 2 special cakes just for me. One was chocolate, the various other white coconut. Mama construed how lonely simply one current for Christmas and your birthday could be.”

Christmas trees with lighted candle were popular in the United states from the mid-1800s v the beforehand 1900s. Due to the fact that they were a fire hazard, many people only lit lock for quick periods that time (maybe 30 minutes), watched castle closely, and also had water or sand ~ above standby simply in case. Electric lights because that trees were an initial used in 1882, yet they had to be hand-wired and also powered by electricity, which was no yet accessible in most places. In 1903, pre-wired strings started to be offered by GE, but they to be still fairly expensive. As an ext companies began to develop string lights, they came to be cheaper. Electricity took longer to with rural areas though and even as soon as it did, Ava’s family members likely used lighted candle to conserve money.


Ava and her mom Mollie.

Sharing a Birthday through Howard Hughes

“What can I say around Howard Hughes? A world-famous aviator, a multi-multi-millionaire, a very complicated man, courageous, bold, and inventive? girlfriend bet. But also painfully shy, totally enigmatic and an ext eccentric, honey, than anyone I ever met. For God’s sake, he and also I to be born top top the exact same day, and also if you think that Capricorns autumn into the same category, you understand what that means. Ns was never ever in love with him, yet he was in and out of my life for something favor twenty very remarkable years.”

Howard Hughes to be born on Christmas eve in 1905, making that 17 year to the job older 보다 Ava. Howard sought Ava because that years, on and also off, and also her friendship v Howard to be a resource of contention in between her and also husband open minded Sinatra. Ava is depicted by Kate Beckinsale in the biopic movie The Aviator, certification Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.


One that the just photos of Ava and Howard Hughes together he hated publicity and also avoided photographs.

Born a Night Owl

“I came into this people at ten o’clock in ~ night, and I’ve frequently thought the was the factor I turned into such a nocturnal creature. As soon as the sun sets, honey, ns feel more, oh, alert. More alive. Through midnight, i feel fantastic. Also when i was a tiny girl, mine father would shake his head and say, ‘Let’s simply hope you get a project where you work-related nights.’ little did he know what to be in save for me. It takes talent come live in ~ night, and that to be the one ability I never doubted i had.”

Ava was renowned in she time for enjoying nightlife. She consistently attended parties, concerts, events, and nightclubs, few of it supposed for she Hollywood roles, yet much because that her personal enjoyment. She to be a consistent at the legendary Hollywood nightclub, Mocambo. Numerous of the most interesting adventures and also stories she explained in Ava: my Story took place in the early on hours that the morning. Ava balanced her love of the night v early speak to times though, going to bed early on when necessary.

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Ava enjoy it a night out through Frank Sinatra.

On she Life & Legacy

“And, friend know, if I had my life to live over again, I’d live it specifically the same way. Probably a few changes here and there, yet nothing special. Due to the fact that the truth is, honey, I’ve appreciated my life. I’ve had a hell that a good time.”

Today we celebrate this free spirit, a tobacco farmer’s daughter-turned Hollywood legend, and we proudly share she life and legacy in ~ the Ava Gardner Museum. Happy Birthday, Ava!