Toward the end of Ava Gardner’s life, the power dynamic that once typified her relationship with Frank Sinatra shifted. Sinatra became a huge star and a cultural icon; in the late ’60s, he released “My Way,” and in 1984, he played to a packed audience at Philadelphia’s Spectrum arena. All the while, Gardner’s star faded. By the late ’80s, she was flat broke.

As she approached her 60th birthday, she reflected on her failed marriage to Sinatra with her quintessential wit. “I’ll always love him,” she said, according to UPI. “It was always great in bed. The troubles were all out of bed.” After years of hard drinking, she had a stroke in 1986, leaving half her body paralyzed. According to “Frank & Ava: In Love and War,” Sinatra called his ailing ex-wife when she was in the hospital, telling her, “I love you, baby. It stinks, getting old.” He also sent her $50,000 to pay for medical treatment, which Gardner found insulting.

Four years later, at age 67, she died of pneumonia. Sinatra was devastated. “Ava was a great lady, and her loss is very painful,” he told The Associated Press. He paid for her funeral but did not attend the ceremony out of fear of attracting paparazzi. Instead, he showed his respect by sending her an abundant wreath. “He never got over it,” his daughter, Tina, conceded, as quoted in “Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies.”

Post source: The List

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