Ava Gardner


Visit the Ava Gardner Museum

Visitors to Smithfield can celebrate the legacy of Hollywood golden age film star Ava Gardner in the hometown museum dedicated to her life. Part of North Carolina’s rich film legacy, Gardner appeared in more than 50 movies including Night of the Iguana, The Killers and Show Boat, and was married to Frank Sinatra and Mickey Rooney spanning a 50-year career as a leading Hollywood actress. She was born and raised in Johnston County, a rural area of central North Carolina, until New York and Hollywood called her to fame. The museum tells the story of her life with an extensive collection of memorabilia, and each item has a personal connection to Ava or her family. More than 20,000 pieces of memorabilia are in the collection, including costumes like the dress from The Great Sinner (which showcases her 18-inch waist), movie posters and awards. The museum also showcases a mix of personal items, including a gold-plated derringer pistol given to her by John Huston to diffuse tension between Richard Burton and Liz Taylor during the filming of Night of the Iguana, and an engraved watch she gave to Sinatra.

Ava Gardner Museum

Ava Gardner Museum, East Market Street, Smithfield, NC

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