Blue plaque honour for Ava Gardner's 'cosy' London home

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Hollywood siren Ava Gardner is being honoured by English Heritage with a blue plaque on what was her "cosy" London home.

The star of the silver screen moved to London permanently in 1968, buying the first floor flat at 34 Ennismore Gardens, in upper-crust Knightsbridge, in 1972.

During the last 18 years of her life the femme fatale spent most evenings in the spacious, luxury apartment - by the fire eating dinner on a tray, served to her by her long-time housekeeper.

Ava Gardner with her corgi (English Heritage/Press Association Images)
Ava Gardner with her corgi (English Heritage/Press Association Images)

She would sit next to the portable TV in the company of her beloved Pembroke Welsh corgis.

Gardner, often described as the most beautiful woman in the world, enjoyed the anonymity of life in London and when she did go out, she would make an occasional visit to the ballet, theatre or the Ennismore Arms pub.

The US actress's friend and personal assistant Mearene Jordan scoured London, Paris, Madrid and Lisbon with Gardner to furnish the "cosy" apartment.

The inside of Ava Gardner's home (English Heritage/Press Association)
The inside of Ava Gardner's home (English Heritage/Press Association)

"The decor owed a great deal to the Orient, and we were not worried at all by which part of the Orient the ornamentation came from," she had said.

"There were screens and vases and big chests. There was a fireplace and a comfortable chair on either side. It was very cosy.

"In fact, I had a hard job tearing Miss G away to go off and be a film star again, but she went."

Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner (AP/Press Association Images)
Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner (AP/Press Association Images)

As well as appearing in more than 60 films, Gardner was also known for her tempestuous affairs and three high-profile marriages - to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra.

The star of films such as The Killers, The Night of the Iguana, Show Boat, Mogambo, The Barefoot Contessa and One Touch of Venus died in her London home, aged 67, of bronchial pneumonia, on January 25, 1990.

The London-wide blue plaques scheme has been running for 150 years, after the idea of erecting "memorial tablets" was first proposed by the MP William Ewart in the House of Commons in 1863.

Professor Ronald Hutton, chairman of the Blue Plaques panel, said: "Ava Gardner was one of the greatest stars of Hollywood's golden age of cinema and the quintessential femme fatale of the film noir era. We are delighted to commemorate her at her former home today."