Ava Gardner Festival gets under way in Smithfield

SMITHFIELD - (AP)--The eighth annual Ava Gardner Festival is commemorating the North Carolina-born actress's friendship with Gregory Peck, who starred with her in three movies.

The Smithfield festival is scheduled to begin Friday and last through the weekend.

The opening "Great Sinner" gala will include casino games to mirror the theme of the movie, which was based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's short novel "The Gambler."

Gardner and Peck also starred in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "On the Beach." The movies will be shown Saturday at the Ava Gardner Museum.

The museum marks the 50th anniversary of Peck's film "To Kill a Mockingbird" with a screening Sunday afternoon.

Heritage tours will be held throughout the day Saturday. The guided tour goes to Gardner's birthplace and ends at her gravesite at Sunset Memorial Park.

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