Ageism in Ava Gardner, by Eulàlia Solé

What would have become of Marilyn Monroe, max sex symbol Hollywood, if he hadn’t ended his life at 36? It was before the wrinkles deepened, before the flesh stopped being plump. The exuberant figure of Marilyn has continued to be exhibited since 1962, and it is hard to imagine a faded Marilyn. However, what is easy to deduce is that the film industry would have taken little time to evict her, like other actresses exalted by their physical attractiveness.

A sample can be found in a 1974 film recently scheduled on television, Earthquake , starring Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner, he is 51 years old, she is 52. Let us remember that the actress was described by Ernest Hemingway as “the most beautiful animal in the world”, however, when the aforementioned film was shot, it was far from it. Nor was Heston the handsome The ten Commandments o de Ben-Hur , but that did not prevent his role from being that of the protagonist in love with a young woman and loved by her.

On the contrary, the role awarded to Ava Gardner shrinks the heart. She is no longer the man-eater, but the scorned wife; It does not deserve a respectable footage, but only a few scenes and, what is more pitiful, not a single close-up in the entire film. Her wrinkles, which not even a thick makeup was able to hide, were considered intolerable.

The ageism practiced by Hollywood during the 20th century is proverbial. The big stars were the most beautiful, but in turn they were the most punished. Age discrimination in actresses has not caused rebellion until recently. Until celebrities like Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren or Judi Dench have kept leading roles over the years. Refusing tons of makeup to pretend a youth that they no longer have and that they do not require to continue working. The same as Harrison Ford shooting natural, at 79 years old, the Indiana Jones number 5. Equality or not is also demonstrated, and a lot, in the cinema.