Ava Gardner poses as Kitty Collins with co-star Burt Lancaster as The Swede in a publicity shoot for "The Killers."
Kick off the spring season with a trip to North Carolina and visit the
museum that honors the life and career of local Hollywood legend Ava
Gardner. The Ava Gardner Museum is home to an incredible collection
including original scripts, photos, costumes, and personal effects of
screen legend Ava Gardner—a true Hollywood “Cinderella” story.
Experience her rise to fame from a local country girl to one of Hollywood’s
film goddesses. Born near Smithfield, Ava’s husbands included Mickey
Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra. She starred in movies with several
film icons, such as Clark Gable, Grace Kelly and Gregory Peck. The museum
features her relationships with other stars with artifacts from Sinatra,
Kelly, Peck, John Huston and others. Her grave site is located in nearby
Sunset Memorial Gardens, approximately two miles from the museum.
Mark your calendar for a brand-new exhibit on Ava’s break-out role in the
1946 classic The Killers, coming May 2018! Ava starred opposite
Burt Lancaster as lounge singer Kitty Collins; her sultry look in the film
launched her career and led some to exclaim she was the most beautiful
woman to ever work in Hollywood. The Killers also marked the start
of Ava’s ties to Ernest Hemingway - whose short story the film was based
The exhibit will expand upon the evolution of that Hemingway connection,
which lead to two more film roles in Hemingway adaptations – The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Sun Also Rises. By the
time Ava starred in The Sun Also Rises, she had met Hemingway in
person and they became fast friends. The exhibit will encompass all of this
Hollywood history using artifacts from the extensive collection of the Ava
The Ava Gardner Museum is located in Downtown Smithfield, NC in Johnston
County. Johnston County, North Carolina, located on I-95 just 30 minutes
east of Raleigh, is far enough away from urban areas to offer visitors the
charm of farm life and small-town living! The county seat, Smithfield, is
located at Exit 95 off I-95… easy to remember! Smithfield has a thriving
downtown with new retail, restaurants, events, historic attractions, outlet
shopping, and recreational activities.