Dirk reckons you’d break your ass to get the book right. “Actors get ‘Why don’t we start with my first husband, Mickey Rooney? “I was still practically a child anyway.”“You were 19,” I said.“Only just,” she said defensively. [Rooney, in his 1991 autobiography, gives a much lower figure, saying his contract took him up to

Dirk reckons you’d break your ass to get the book right. “Actors get ‘Why don’t we start with my first husband, Mickey Rooney? “I was still practically a child anyway.”“You were 19,” I said.“Only just,” she said defensively. [Rooney, in his 1991 autobiography, gives a much lower figure, saying his contract took him up to $1,250 a week in 1941.]“I can remember that first meeting with Mick very clearly—probably because he was wearing a bowl of fruit on his head. He was hanging on to his place in Palm Springs by the skin of his teeth. If he’d lost that, it would have been the end of the line for him. But I was the one paying the rent when he couldn’t get arrested. It was After months of collaborating, Gardner learned that Evans and the BBC had been sued by Sinatra in 1972 for mentioning his Mob associations. Dirk said you deal from a clean deck, and you’re not a faggot. I get on fine with fags, I just prefer dealing with guys who aren’t. “As if getting old wasn’t tough enough,” she said, with no sense of self-pity at all. At least, his pictures took more money than Gable’s, although they each earned the same five grand a week when $5,000 was real money. It really ticks me when I read how generous the Mob was when he was on the skids.In those days you stayed in hospital for three weeks after even a minor operation. I wanted her to go to bed.“Avraham Ben-Yitzhak Arshawsky,” she mused. He was deaf in his left ear from when he was bombed at Guadalcanal.

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Dirk reckons you’d break your ass to get the book right. “Actors get ‘Why don’t we start with my first husband, Mickey Rooney? “I was still practically a child anyway.”“You were 19,” I said.“Only just,” she said defensively. [Rooney, in his 1991 autobiography, gives a much lower figure, saying his contract took him up to $1,250 a week in 1941.]“I can remember that first meeting with Mick very clearly—probably because he was wearing a bowl of fruit on his head. He was hanging on to his place in Palm Springs by the skin of his teeth. If he’d lost that, it would have been the end of the line for him. But I was the one paying the rent when he couldn’t get arrested. It was After months of collaborating, Gardner learned that Evans and the BBC had been sued by Sinatra in 1972 for mentioning his Mob associations.

Dirk said you deal from a clean deck, and you’re not a faggot. I get on fine with fags, I just prefer dealing with guys who aren’t. “As if getting old wasn’t tough enough,” she said, with no sense of self-pity at all. At least, his pictures took more money than Gable’s, although they each earned the same five grand a week when $5,000 was real money. It really ticks me when I read how generous the Mob was when he was on the skids.

In those days you stayed in hospital for three weeks after even a minor operation. I wanted her to go to bed.“Avraham Ben-Yitzhak Arshawsky,” she mused. He was deaf in his left ear from when he was bombed at Guadalcanal.

,250 a week in 1941.]“I can remember that first meeting with Mick very clearly—probably because he was wearing a bowl of fruit on his head. He was hanging on to his place in Palm Springs by the skin of his teeth. If he’d lost that, it would have been the end of the line for him. But I was the one paying the rent when he couldn’t get arrested. It was After months of collaborating, Gardner learned that Evans and the BBC had been sued by Sinatra in 1972 for mentioning his Mob associations. Dirk said you deal from a clean deck, and you’re not a faggot. I get on fine with fags, I just prefer dealing with guys who aren’t. “As if getting old wasn’t tough enough,” she said, with no sense of self-pity at all. At least, his pictures took more money than Gable’s, although they each earned the same five grand a week when ,000 was real money. It really ticks me when I read how generous the Mob was when he was on the skids.In those days you stayed in hospital for three weeks after even a minor operation. I wanted her to go to bed.“Avraham Ben-Yitzhak Arshawsky,” she mused. He was deaf in his left ear from when he was bombed at Guadalcanal.

”“Of course,” I said.“I’ll tell you when the meter starts,” she said. I tried not to stare, but she must have guessed my thoughts. You have to remember Mickey was bigger than Gable in those days. ,” I said.“He’s never written memoirs,” she said.“Maybe he’s never had to,” I said, reminding her of her present difficulties.“You’re not listening to me, baby. I don’t know where those stories came from that the Mafia was taking care of him. But the fucking so-called Family was nowhere to be seen when he needed them.

Eleven days after her first phone call, Ava invited me to her apartment, spread across the first floor of two converted mansions in Ennismore Gardens, in the Knightsbridge section of London. It would have been a hard blow to bear for any woman, but for an actress who had once been hailed as “the world’s most beautiful animal,” it was a tragedy. That fact bothered me more than any of the rest of it—the things people would do to please you if you were famous enough, and there was nobody more famous than George Raft, Betty G., and Mickey in those days. Frank’s not going to hold you to it after all this time, is he?

Oh God, Mickey and I were out practically every night of our lives together. But it was his mother who drove Artie into the arms of the shrinks, although Lana [Turner]—a couple of wives before me, she was wifey number three, I was number five.

We danced, he drank a fair amount—I was catching on pretty fast.“A week or so after we got back from our honeymoon, I woke up in the middle of the night with the most god-awful pain in my stomach. Like everybody in my family, I had a misplaced appendix. There have been eight of us altogether, so far.“He’d just come out of the navy when he met Lana.

well, it definitely wasn’t innocent, honey, I can tell you that! I don’t know whether he was married to Jerome Kern’s daughter at the time, or who, because he married everybody, but he was at a posh Hollywood dinner party when they started talking about Jews. He said he sat there in silence for a while—apparently nobody knew he was a Jew—then he joined in with their snide remarks about Jews. I just thought, I’m going back to school, I’m getting an education, I’m being the good wife—to make it perfect I’ll have a child. “What the fuck, a few months later, he ditched me and married Kathleen Winsor, the woman who wrote —a fucking potboiler, he’d called it. “I was happy traveling with the band, hanging out with Artie and his literary pals. Artie said all I had to do was keep my mouth shut, sit at their feet, and absorb their wit and wisdom. I was comfortable with all those guys.“I was unhappy when he broke the band up. We went for a drive in the desert and a little woo-poo. We started shooting up a little town—Indio, I think it was; I don’t know where the hell we were—with a couple of .38s Frank kept in the vanity compartment.

”Under the name of Mickey Mc Guire, the Brooklyn-born son of vaudevillians, comic Joe Yule Sr. I was completely out of my depth.“He always had his nose in a book. He said he’d never forgive himself for his cowardice. He snatched it out of my hands and tore it to shreds when he caught me reading it.“Later I lost respect for him completely. He was called up before the Un-American Activities Committee in Washington and ratted on his friends. There was a writer who was very, very far left, but a wonderful man, Hy Kraft. It didn’t stop Artie giving up Hy’s name to the Un-American Committee. He said he didn’t want his wife on the road with a bunch of musicians. He once told me he couldn’t respect a woman who made a living as a movie star—‘Movie acting has nothing at all to do with talent, it’s all about key lights and cheekbones,’ he said. “I swear to God, I had no idea of the fuss I was creating,” said Ava. B., as Mickey called him—had ordered Mick to stop seeing me. “To tell the truth, I was always a little afraid of him. That shows you the power Mayer wielded in those days. I must have seemed so fucking awkward, so fucking gauche. It had taken about six minutes flat to unpack my only suitcase and brush my teeth. K.—but I have my sister Bappie staying with me, I told him. He usually did.“I took off for Spain to make a movie [ 1951]. Frank said it didn’t matter a damn if I’d slept with Mario or not, it was in the past. He said if I told him the truth, it would all be forgotten. Anyway, I asked him what went through his mind when he saw me on the set that day.“He said, ‘O. I didn’t know a goddamn soul in Hollywood, except my sister. “Every conversation ended up with him asking me to have dinner with him. ‘Fine, bring Sis along, too,’ he said, bang-off.”His chauffeur-driven limo arrived at exactly seven o’clock. I had a fling with the bullfighter [Mario Cabré] who played my lover in the picture. He was always banging on at me about guys he suspected I’d slept with. So I told him the truth, and, of course, it was never forgotten. He never forgave me.”“But he still married you,” I said.“November 7, 1951. Only days after his divorce from Nancy became final. “I know a lot of men fantasize about me; that’s how Hollywood gossip becomes Hollywood history.”“Is that why you want to write a book? The stroke she’d had a year and a half earlier had partially paralyzed her left side and frozen half her face in a rictus of sadness. Those little bantamweights were the worst—they’d nearly kill each other to entertain us. There was a catalogue of disasters: His voice had gone. He had principles, I’ll give him that.”“It’s been 40 years, Ava.