Monday, January 23, 2012



Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., and Lenny Golino, private investigator and retired NYPD homicide detective, are investigating the claim by a New York State woman that she is the unacknowledged daughter of film star Ava Gardner, who died in England in January of 1990. An initial investigation has revealed some facts supporting the claim, some casting doubt on it. Unsealing birth certificate records and obtaining further DNA testing are among the next steps.

January 23, 2012 (FPRC) -- Walden, NY - Dr. Douglas Winslow Cooper, author and retired scientist, and Lenny Golino, former New York Police Department (NYPD), now head of Gold Shield Elite Investigations, LLC, initiated their collaboration soon after a woman claiming to be film legend Ava Gardner’s unacknowledged daughter first contacted Dr. Cooper. She wanted a book written about her effort to show that she is Gardner’s daughter. Similar cases recently involved Judy Lewis, once-hidden child of Hollywood star Loretta Young, and a previously unacknowledged daughter of Frank Sinatra, who later obtained a payment from his estate.

On Thursday, January 12th, Golino and Cooper interviewed the claimant for an hour, after which Golino concluded, “She believes it, but we need confirmation.” Cooper noted there was some circumstantial evidence in support, including the similarity between the given names of Ava Gardner’s mother, “Mary Elizabeth,” and those of the claimant, “Marie Elizabeth.” Ava Gardner would have had to have been gotten pregnant at age fourteen and given birth unwed at fifteen in New York City, likely reasons for secrecy. Gardner’s biographers have noted her mother’s strict warnings about sex to her already beautiful daughter at this age and that Ava had a much older sister living in New York City, whom she visited several times before becoming an MGM starlet and marrying Mickey Rooney at nineteen in January 1942. Two more marriages, to Artie Shaw and to Frank Sinatra, and many affairs followed the break-up of that first marriage. Gardner died in January 1990, without any acknowledged children.

On Friday, January 20th, Golino and Cooper conferred with legal counsel on how to obtain further DNA testing and how to unseal the records surrounding the “corrected” birth certificate of their client, records sealed when she was 15, an unusual timing for such proceedings.

Individuals with information related to this case are asked to contact Dr. Cooper [] or Mr. Golino [].


Dr. Cooper’s degrees are in physics (A.B., Cornell; M.S., Penn State) and engineering (Ph.D., Harvard). He served on the faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health. Mr. Golino started Gold Shield Elite Investigations in 2009, after twenty-one years with the NYPD, having risen to the position of homicide detective, a bearer of their iconic gold detective shield.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.
264 East Drive
Walden, NY 12586 USA
(845) 778-4204

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