Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco with Ava Gardner.
I remember a Christmastime in East Africa many years ago. We were all getting a bit glum and gloomy at being away from home at this time. Frank decided to take Christmas in hand. He disappeared into Nairobi and returned with just about every Christmas ornament the city contained—and one Santa Claus suit. He came back to the bush where we were all on safari [shooting Mogambo]. At Christmas Eve we gathered in a clearing under a starry African sky. There in the center was a huge mantelpiece with all the ornaments. Frank even talked John Ford into reciting ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to us. And this wonderful evening ended with sixty Congolese Africans, barefooted and with their blankets wrapped around them, singing French Christmas carols to us. It was a wonderful Christmas.
-Grace Kelly on her Christmas in Africa with Ava Gardner, Clark Gable, John Ford, and Frank Sinatra in 1952 during the shooting of Mogambo. Ava is shown decorating a pole inside one of the tents.
Top 20 Classic Hollywood Friendships (no particular order)
→ Ava Gardner & Grace Kelly
Ava and Grace met in 1953 on the set of Mogambo, they were friends for many years (until Grace died), Grace never forgot Ava’s birthday and always sent her a present. Ava visited Grace in Monaco on various occasions including her wedding, they both loved each other and Grace enjoyed and loved Ava’s company and free spirit, Ava once said “Grace is the best drinker I know”.
During the shooting of Mogambo (1953) Ava and Grace were shooting a scene, this scene included tall Watusis, beautiful warriors who had been hired as extras, wearing their breechclouts. Grace and co-star Ava Gardner were walking along, and Ava said to Grace, “I wonder if their cocks are as big as people say? Have you ever seen a black cock?” With that, she reached over and pulled up the breechclout of one of the Watusis, who gave a big grin as this huge cock flopped out. By then Grace had turned absolutely blue. Ava let go of the breechclout, turned to Grace, and said, “Frank’s bigger than that.“
Frank Sinatra & Ava Gardner with Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner, Mogambo
If you haven’t seen this already, do yourself a favor and watch the hell out the end of this Grace Kelly documentary. It’s in French but it’s still awesome even if you don’t speak the language.
The last bit is a party thrown for, it seems like, Princess Caroline’s marriage, and Ava is there, dancing with Gregory Peck
and getting crunk.
Party starts at 2:15.