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I don't know of another actress other than maybe Lana Turner, (speaking of drama queens) who lived her real-life as close to many characters she played on the big screen than Ava Gardner.
Ava was a real-life drama queen and I don't mean that in a negative sense. But nothing was ever boring with her. Starting with her gorgeous, baby-faced looks. Very similar to Elizabeth Taylor and her great voice as well. Also similar to Liz Taylor. Her beautiful black hair, again Liz Taylor. And that she was this incredible real-life character with a great sense of humor and the ability to play almost anyone on the big screen. With the best and most interesting character that she ever played being the one and only Ava Gardner. Perhaps the prettiest and most interesting drama queen of all-time.
You put Ava in soap operas in the 1950s when they came out on TV and she would've been the queen of soap. Susan Luci, would've had nothing on Ava. Because Ava was almost not acting when she was playing very dramatic roles especially women with quick-witted sense of humors. She was just playing herself, this beautiful, adorable, sexy, intelligent brunette, who was also one hell of a great actress.
Ava lived her personal life the way the played many roles in the movies as a woman who always did things her way (to paraphrase Frank Sinatra) who wasn't alive, but always living life and enjoying every moment of it that she possibly could. Perhaps why she and Frank didn't work out, because he might have been too much and too much fun for him.
And the other thing that she had in common with Liz Taylor, is that they both lived life to be alive. Not simply to try to get through it like you're in prison, or serving in combat and simply trying to survive. She was free as a squirrel who lived her whole life the only way she knew how to, which was to have as much fun as she possibly could. And she paid a heavy price for that with the alcoholism and having several different male relationships that never worked out.
Ava's life to live, to enjoy and make mistakes with. Not someone else's to live for her, or for her to live in someone's else's image of what kind of life she should have. Which takes a lot of guts to literally be that free in life and that I have a lot of respect for her.