February 11, 1919|
|Died||July 4, 1995
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Respiratory failure, pneumonia|
|Other names||Éva Gábor|
|Occupation||Actress, businesswoman, socialite|
|Spouse(s)||Eric Valdemar Drimmer
John Elbert Williams
Frank Gard Jameson, Sr.
|Relatives||Zsa Zsa Gabor (sister)
Magda Gabor (sister)
Eva Gabor (February 11, 1919 – July 4, 1995) was a Hungarian-born American socialite and actress. She was widely known for her role on the 1965 to 1971 television sitcom Green Acres as Lisa Douglas, the wife of Eddie Albert's character, Oliver Wendell Douglas. She voiced "Duchess" in the 1970 Disney film The Aristocats, and Miss Bianca in Disney’s The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. Gabor was successful as an actress in film, on Broadway and on television. She was also a successful businessperson, marketing wigs, clothing, and beauty products. Her elder sisters, Zsa Zsa and Magda Gabor, were also actresses and socialites.
Early life and career
Born in Budapest to a Hungarian Jewish mother and a Hungarian father, Eva Gabor was the youngest of three daughters of Vilmos Gábor (1884–1962), a soldier, and his wife Jolie (1896–1997), a jeweler. She was the first of the sisters to emigrate to the United States, with her first husband, a Swedish osteopath, Dr. Eric V. Drimmer, in 1939, shortly after they married in London. Her first movie role was in the United States in Forced Landing at Paramount Pictures. She acted in movies and onstage throughout the 1950s.
During the 1950s, she appeared in several “A”-movies, including The Last Time I Saw Paris, starring Elizabeth Taylor; and Artists and Models, which featured Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. These roles were again bit parts. In 1953, she was given her own television talk show, The Eva Gabor Show, which ran for one season (1953–54). Through the rest of the 1950s and early 1960s, she appeared on television and in movies. She appeared in one episode of the mystery series Justice, and was on the game show What's My Line? as the "mystery challenger". Her film appearances during this era included a remake of My Man Godfrey, Gigi, and It Started with a Kiss.
In a 2007 article in Vanity Fair, Gabor was called, "A game performer with a wholesome, even cheerful sensuality that can undercut the Continental sophistication that was supposedly her calling card—she can come across like Sally Field doing a party impression of Marlene Dietrich. You can see the effort. She was probably at her best on television in Green Acres, playing a cross between Gracie Allen and herself."
In 1965, Gabor began the role for which she is best-remembered, Lisa Douglas, whose attorney husband (Oliver Wendell Douglas, played by Eddie Albert) decides to leave the city. They buy and run a farm in a rural community, forcing Lisa to leave her beloved New York City, in the Paul Henning sitcom Green Acres, which aired on CBS. Green Acres was set in Hooterville, the same backdrop for Petticoat Junction (1963–1970), and would occasionally cross over with its sister sitcom. Despite proving to be a ratings hit, staying in the top twenty for its first four seasons, Green Acres, along with another sister show, The Beverly Hillbillies, were cancelled in 1971 in the CBS network's infamous "rural purge" — an attempt to attract a younger viewer demographic, as most viewers of the series were at least 40 years old.
Gabor later did voice-over work for Disney movies, providing the European-accented voices of Duchess in The Aristocats, Miss Bianca in The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, and the Queen of Time in the Sanrio film Nutcracker Fantasy. She was a panelist on the Gene Rayburn-hosted Match Game. From 1983–84, she was on Hollywood Squares. She reunited with Albert on Broadway as Olga in You Can't Take It with You. In 1990, Gabor attempted a TV series comeback in the CBS sitcom pilot Close Encounters, in which she played the successful owner of a video dating service; the pilot aired as a special that summer, but it did not make it to series.
Eva Gabor was married five times:
- Eric Valdemar Drimmer, a Swedish-born masseur turned osteopath and psychologist. They wed in London in June 1939, and divorced in Los Angeles, California, on February 25, 1942 (the divorce was finalized on March 6); Gabor claimed cruelty, saying, "I wanted to have babies and lead a simple family life but my husband objected to my having children". The marriage was childless.
- Charles Isaacs, an American investment broker. They married on September 27, 1943, and were divorced on April 2, 1949. The marriage was childless.
- John Elbert Williams, M.D., a plastic surgeon. They married on April 8, 1956 and were divorced on March 20, 1957. The marriage was childless.
- Richard Brown, a textile manufacturer, who later became a writer and director. They married at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 4, 1959, and divorced in Santa Monica, California, in June 1973. The marriage was childless.
- Frank Gard Jameson, Sr., an aerospace executive and former vice president of Rockwell International. They married in the Vivien Webb Chapel of The Webb School, Claremont, California on September 21, 1973. The couple divorced in 1983. The marriage was childless but Gabor became a stepmother to Jameson's four children.
The youngest sister, she predeceased her elder sisters and her mother. Magda and Jolie Gabor both died two years later, in 1997. As of 2014, Zsa Zsa is still alive.
|Opening Date||Closing Date||Title||Role||Theatre|
|January 24, 1950||July 14, 1951||The Happy Time||Mignonette||Plymouth|
|March 26, 1956||March 31, 1956||Little Glass Clock||Gabrielle||John Golden|
|January 31, 1958||February 8, 1958||Present Laughter||Joanna Lyppiatt||Belasco|
|March 18, 1963||November 9, 1963||Tovarich||Tatiana
(succeeded Vivien Leigh October 21)
|April 4, 1983||January 1, 1984||You Can't Take It with You||Olga
(succeeded Colleen Dewhurst)
- Orchids & Salami, by Eva Gabor, Doubleday, 1954
- Gaborabilia, by Anthony Turtu and Donald F. Reuter, Three Rivers Press, 2001; ISBN 0-609-80759-5
- Date of birth was 30 September 1896, although most sources cite 29 September, but the 30 September date and her name at birth as "Janka" not "Jansci" are supported by her birth certificate (see image)
- Jewish descent cited in Vanity Fair
- Online Vanity Fair article about Eva Gabor
- Marian Christy, "Mama Gabor: Ageless Mother of 3", Newport Daily News, February 17, 1975.
- Launch date cited in McDowell's Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion by Colin McDowell (F. Muller, 1984)
- Profile at americanhistory.si.edu
- "Eva Gabor Obtains Divorce", The New York Times, February 25, 1945
- "Eva Gabor in Hospital", The New York Times, December 2, 1946
- Plastic Surgeon memoirs website
- "Eva Gabor Wed to Surgeon", The New York Times, April 9, 1956
- Eva Gabor Wed in Las Vegas", The New York Times, October 5, 1959
- Brown's later career was described in "Notes on People", The New York Times, June 26, 1973
- Eva Gabor Wed in Las Vegas", The New York Times, October 5, 1959
- "Notes on People", The New York Times, June 26, 1973
- Notice of death of Frank Gard Jameson, Sr., May 18, 1993; accessed December 21, 2013.
- "Notes on People", The New York Times, September 22, 1973
- Los Angeles Times website covering Gabor's marriage to Frank Jameson
- New York Times Archives, "Eva Gabor, 74, (sic) the Actress; Youngest of Celebrated Sisters", 5 July 1995
- "What's My Line?: EPISODE #389". TV.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eva Gabor.|
- Eva Gabor at the Internet Movie Database
- Eva Gabor at the Internet Broadway Database
- "Eva Gabor and New York stockbroker, Richard Brown wed", tcm.turner.com