Ava Gardner was born in Smithfield, North Carolina, which is pretty amazing because Smithfield is the middle of nowhere now, and it had to really be the middle of nowhere back in 1922. She grew up to be an insanely glamorous movie star. She was not a girl-next-door movie star. She was an exotic, sultry, larger-than-life movie star. And she was born in Smithfield! A small-town, southern girl who becomes a cinematic legend? That's the stuff of Hollywood dreams.