I think what I love and respect most about Ava Gardner is not her beauty, (not many prettier) not her adorableness, (not many women cuter) not her sex appeal even though she was this gorgeous baby-faced brunette with a sweet body and great personality and sense of humor. What I love about her the most was her realness. The women you saw on stage and in her movies is the women you saw off camera. The people who worked for her and gave her roles knew her so well and set her up so beautifully.
It was like she was never acting in her movies, because she was so natural in the roles that she played. She always said that the only thing that she wanted was to be happy. Those are the characters that she played. She had the reputation of a somewhat immature wild child who went too far and had too much fun and then would pout when she wasn't happy. You see her first seen in the movie Earthquake that she did with Charlton Heston and they have an argument and she's in early fifties at this point and still very beautiful and adorable and she runs to the bathroom almost like a little girl and takes a lot of pills. Heston, her husband in the movie finds her and saves her.
She was always playing a bit of a wild child who loved to have a great time and took it too far. Because as she would tell you life to her was about being alive and living and not just being around. And enjoying life and being happy as much as you can. She died at 68, but she lived her life her way (to paraphrase Frank Sinatra) and was Ava Gardner her entire life. This gorgeous baby-faced adorable brunette with the personality and sense of humor to match. And I believe this is all part of why she's so likable then and still so popular now. Because she was this goddess who was so sweet, charming and funny, but so real and you always knew who she was and what she wanted. Not a lot of mystery with Ava Gardner.