Saturday, November 20, 2010

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor (born February 6, 1917), also known as Sári Prinz von Anhalt since her marriage to Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, is a Hungarian-American actress and socialite and was awarded Miss Hungary in 1936. She emigrated to the United States in 1941. Car designer George Barris describes her as having been a highly sought-after actress with "European flair and style," with a personality that "exuded charm and grace."
Her first movie role was as supporting actress in Lovely to Look At starring Red Skelton. She later acted in We're Not Married with Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe. Her first starring role was in Moulin Rouge (1952), directed by John Huston. Besides her film and numerous television appearances, she was known for having nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders. She stated, "Men have always liked me and I have always liked men. But I like a mannish man, a man who knows how to talk to and treat a woman—not just a man with muscles.


Zsa Zsa Gabor was born as Sári Gábor (Sári is the diminutive for the Hungarian first name Sára/Sarolta) in Budapest (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the middle daughter of Vilmos Gábor (1884–1962), a soldier, and Jolie Gábor (1894–1997). Her sisters, Magda and Eva, also became actresses and socialites. The family was of Jewish descent; their mother, Jolie (Tillemann Jánosné), was a cousin of Annette Tilleman Lantos, the wife of California Congressman and Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos. Gabor's maternal grandparents died in the Holocaust, and "biographers speculate that her paternal family were originally Jewish as well, but converted to Roman Catholicism in order to assimilate, although this has not been confirmed."
Following studies at Madame Subilia's, a Swiss boarding school, Zsa Zsa Gabor was discovered by the famous tenor Richard Tauber on a trip to Vienna in 1936 and was invited to sing the soubrette role in his new operetta Der singende Traum ("The Singing Dream") at the Theater an der Wien, her first stage appearance. Author Gerold Frank, who helped Gabor write her autobiography in 1960, describes his impressions of her while the book was being written:
"Zsa Zsa is unique. She's a woman from the court of Louis XV who has somehow managed to live in the 20th century, undamaged by the PTA. . . . She says she wants to be all the Pompadours and Du Barrys of history rolled into one, but she also says, 'I always goof. I pay all my own bills. . . . I want to choose the man. I do not permit men to choose me.'"
A biopic is to be made on her life by Italian director Gabriela Tagliavini who claimed that Gabor "is a perfect celebrity to be the focus of a movie". According to Insider Gabor is, "an original. Her free spirit, eccentricity and wicked wit made her one of the most memorable celebrities of our time." Gabor's husband will be involved in the film's production.

Personal life

Gabor has been married nine times. She was divorced seven times, and one marriage was annulled. Her husbands, in chronological order, are:

At a social affair circa 1954
  • Burhan Asaf Belge (1937–1941) (divorced)
  • Conrad Hilton (April 10, 1942–1947) (divorced)
  • George Sanders (April 2, 1949 – April 2, 1954) (divorced)
  • Herbert Hutner, chairman of the board of Struthers Wells Corporation (November 5, 1962 – March 3, 1966) (divorced)
  • Joshua S. Cosden, Jr. (March 9, 1966 – October 18, 1967) (divorced)
  • Jack Ryan (January 21, 1975 – August 24, 1976) (divorced)
  • Michael O'Hara (August 27, 1976–1983) (divorced)
  • Felipe de Alba (April 13, 1983 – April 14, 1983) 
  • Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt (August 14, 1986 – present)
Due to her high number of divorces, she once claimed that she was a good housekeeper because every time she divorced, she kept the house.
In 1974, she purchased a two-story Bel Air home from Elvis Presley. It was built by Howard Hughes and featured an eccentric-looking French roof.
Zsa Zsa was the only Gabor sister to bear a child, Constance Francesca Hilton, born March 10, 1947.According to Gabor's 1991 autobiography One Lifetime Is Not Enough, her pregnancy resulted from rape by then-husband Conrad Hilton.
In 2005, Gabor accused her daughter, known as Francesca, of larceny and fraud, alleging that she had forged her signature to get a $2 million loan on her mother's Bel Air house, and filed a lawsuit against Francesca in a California court. However, the Santa Monica Superior Court threw out the case due to Gabor's refusal to appear in court or to sign an affidavit that she indeed was a co-plaintiff on the original law suit filed by Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt.
Gabor said in a November 27, 1991, interview with David Letterman that she is a Democrat.


In 2002, Gabor was a passenger in an automobile crash, and was hospitalized for several weeks. In 2005, she suffered a stroke, underwent surgery to remove an arterial blockage, and returned home a few weeks later. In 2007, she had surgery related to her previous stroke, and then underwent surgery to treat an infection.
In July 2010, Gabor was taken to the hospital after she fell at home, requiring hip replacement. She was discharged from the hospital but soon returned, and was in critical condition after the removal of two blood clots, at which point she requested last rites. On August 16, 2010 she left the hospital, but was in and out of the hospital for several months thereafter.

Legal difficulties

Publicity photo
On June 14, 1989, in Beverly Hills, California Gabor was accused of slapping the face of a police officer named Paul Kramer when he stopped her for a traffic violation.
She poked fun at her role in the incident in various cameo appearances:
  • In the 1991 film The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, Gabor was pulled over by the police car at the end of the opening credits. She then proceeded to step out of the car and slap the red light, then walked away, muttering, "Ach, this happens every fucking time when I go shopping."
  • In the November 18, 1991, season 2, episode 10 of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Gabor showed up as a guest at the Banks' residence, Hilary Banks asked, "There's something that I'm just dying to know." Gabor responded by saying, "Yes, I did it ... and he deserved to be slapped." Subsequently, when Carlton Banks accidentally slapped a cop with a pair of gloves while trying to slap his cousin Will Smith, Gabor replied by saying, "I have witnesses, it wasn't me."
  • She discussed the incident in an appearance on Howard Stern's show, making her the oldest celebrity to appear on Stern's program. She also debunked rumours of George Sanders's sexuality, which Stern called into question.
  • In the 1993 film version of The Beverly Hillbillies, in a line-up the detective described Zsa Zsa's character as a woman who was involved in what was described as a "drive-by slapping."
Gabor also had a long-running feud with Elke Sommer that escalated into a libel suit.

Financial problems (2009)

On January 25, 2009, the Associated Press reported that her attorney stated that forensic accountants determined that Gabor may have lost as much as $10 million invested with swindler Bernard Madoff, possibly through a third-party money manager. Marcus Prinz von Anhalt, a German nightclub owner and adopted son of Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, reportedly provided significant financial assistance to the couple.[38] However, the official New York Bankruptcy Court victims documents do not show Zsa Zsa Gabor as a victim.




Gabor appeared in several plays, most notably Forty Carats, on Broadway, and Blithe Spirit (as Elvira), in the national tour.


  • Zsa Zsa Gabor, My Story By Zsa Zsa Gabor with Gerold Frank, The World Publishing Company, 1960.
  • How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, and How to Get Rid of a Man, by Zsa Zsa Gabor, Doubleday, 1970.
  • One Lifetime Is Not Enough, by Zsa Zsa Gabor, assisted by and edited by Wendy Leigh, Delacorte Press, 1991. ISBN 0-385-29882-X
  • Gaborabilia, by Anthony Turtu and Donald F Reuter, Three Rivers Press, 2001. ISBN 0-609-80759-5

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