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Eva Gabor

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Eva Gabor
Gabor on the set of Green Acres in 1969
Éva Gábor

(1919-02-11)February 11, 1919
Budapest, Hungarian Republic
DiedJuly 4, 1995(1995-07-04) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Burial placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Other namesGábor Éva
  • Actress
  • singer
  • socialite
Years active1941–1994
Known forGreen Acres
Eric Valdemar Drimmer
(m. 1937; div. 1942)
Charles Isaacs
(m. 1943; div. 1949)
John Elbert Williams
(m. 1956; div. 1957)
Richard Brown
(m. 1959; div. 1973)
Frank Gard Jameson Sr.
(m. 1973; div. 1983)
RelativesMagda Gabor (sister)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (sister)
Francesca Hilton (niece)
Tom Lantos (cousin)

Eva Gabor (/ˌvə ɡəˈbɔːr, - ˈɡɑːbɔːr/ AY-və gə-BOR, -⁠ GAH-bor; February 11, 1919 – July 4, 1995) was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Gabor voiced Duchess and Miss Bianca in the Disney animations The Aristocats (1970), The Rescuers (1977), and The Rescuers Down Under (1990). She was popular in her role on the 1965–1971 television sitcom Green Acres as Lisa Douglas, the wife of Eddie Albert's character Oliver Wendell Douglas. Gabor was an actress in film, on Broadway, and on television. She was also a businesswoman, marketing wigs, clothing, and beauty products. Her elder sisters, Zsa Zsa and Magda Gabor, were also actresses and socialites.

Early life[edit]

Gabor was born in Budapest, Hungary, the youngest of three daughters of Vilmos Gábor, a soldier, and his wife, trained jeweler Jolie (born Janka Tilleman). Her parents were both from Hungarian Jewish families.[1][2][3] She was the first of the sisters to immigrate to the U.S., shortly after her first marriage to a Swedish osteopath, Dr. Eric Drimmer, whom she married in 1937 when she was 18 years old.[4]

Early career[edit]

Her first movie role was in the U.S. in 1941's Forced Landing at Paramount Pictures. During the 1950s, she appeared in several feature films, including The Last Time I Saw Paris, starring Elizabeth Taylor; and Artists and Models, which featured Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. These roles were 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.

Green Acres[edit]

Gabor (right) on the set of Green Acres with Eddie Albert (left), August 1965

In 1965, Gabor got the role of Lisa Douglas, whose attorney husband Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert) decides to leave the "rat race" of city life. He buys a farm in a rural community, forcing Lisa to leave her beloved big-city urban life. The Paul Henning sitcom Green Acres aired on CBS. Green Acres was set in Hooterville, the same backdrop for Petticoat Junction (1963–70), and would occasionally cross over with its sister sitcom. Despite proving to be a ratings hit, staying in the top 20 for its first four seasons, Green Acres, along with another sister show, The Beverly Hillbillies, was cancelled in 1971 in the CBS network's "rural purge" — a policy to get rid of the network's rural-based television shows.

In 1966, Eva Gabor and Johnny Carson played Twister on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[5][6][7]

Later career[edit]

In 1972, Gabor launched her eponymous fashion collection with Luis Estévez, a Cuban-born American fashion designer.[8][9][10]

Gabor later did voice-over work for Disney movies, providing the European-accented voices of Duchess in The Aristocats, and Miss Bianca in The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, as well as the Queen of Time in the Sanrio film Nutcracker Fantasy. She was a panelist on the Gene Rayburn-hosted Match Game. From 1983 to 1984, she was on the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour starring Gene Rayburn and Jon Bauman.[11]

Eva appeared as Aunt Renee in the fourth season of “Hart to Hart”, and in 1983, she reunited with Eddie Albert on Broadway as the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina in You Can't Take It with You. In 1990, she attempted a TV series comeback in the CBS sitcom pilot Close Encounters; the pilot aired as a special that summer, but did not make it to series status. She toured post-communist Hungary after a 40-year absence on an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Personal life[edit]

Eva Gabor was married five times. She had no children:

  • Eric Valdemar Drimmer, a Swedish-born masseur turned osteopath and psychologist. They wed in London on June 3, 1937, 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".[12]
  • Charles Isaacs, an American investment broker.[13] They married on September 27, 1943, and were divorced on April 2, 1949.
  • John Elbert Williams, MD, a plastic surgeon. They married on April 8, 1956, and were divorced on March 20, 1957.[14]
  • Richard Brown, a textile manufacturer, who later became a writer and director.[15][16] They married at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 4, 1959, and divorced in Santa Monica, California, in June 1973.[15][17][18]
  • Frank Gard Jameson Sr., an aerospace executive and former vice president of Rockwell International.[19] They married in the Vivian Webb Chapel of The Webb Schools, Claremont, California on September 21, 1973. The couple divorced in 1983.[20] Gabor became a stepmother to Jameson's four children.[19]

Gabor also had a long term on-and off affair with actor Glenn Ford which began during the filming of Don't Go Near the Water in 1957. They dated between their marriages and almost married in the early 1970s.[21]

After her final marriage, Gabor was involved in a relationship with TV producer Merv Griffin until her death.[22][23][24] Reuters reported that this was a platonic relationship to hide Griffin's suspected homosexuality.[25]


Gabor died in Los Angeles on Independence Day 1995, from respiratory failure and pneumonia, following a fall in a bathtub in Mexico,[26] where she had been on vacation.[27] Her funeral was held on July 11, 1995, at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills.[28]

The youngest sister, Eva predeceased her elder sisters and her mother. Eldest sister Magda and mother Jolie Gabor both died two years later, in 1997. Elder sister Zsa Zsa died from cardiac arrest on December 18, 2016.[29][30]

Gabor's grave

Theatre roles[edit]

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)
Winter Garden
April 4, 1983 January 1, 1984 You Can't Take It with You The Grand Duchess Olga Katrina
(succeeded Colleen Dewhurst)

Film roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1941 Forced Landing Johanna Van Deuren
New York Town Minor Role Uncredited
Pacific Blackout Marie Duval
1942 Star Spangled Rhythm Eva Gabor Uncredited
1945 A Royal Scandal Countess Demidow
1946 The Wife of Monte Cristo Mme. Lucille Maillard
1949 Song of Surrender Countess Marina
1952 Love Island Sarna
1953 Paris Model Gogo Montaine
1954 The Mad Magician Claire Ormond
Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl Judith Duvall
The Last Time I Saw Paris Lorraine Quarl
1955 Artists and Models Sonia / Mrs. Curtis
1957 The Truth About Women Louise Tiere
My Man Godfrey Francesca Gray
Don't Go Near the Water Deborah Aldrich
1958 Gigi Liane d'Exelmans
1959 It Started with a Kiss Marquesa Marion de la Rey
1963 A New Kind of Love Felicienne Courbeau
1964 Youngblood Hawke Fannie Prince
1970 The Aristocats Duchess Voice
1977 The Rescuers Miss Bianca
1979 Nutcracker Fantasy Queen of Time
1987 The Princess Academy Countess Von Pupsin
1990 The Rescuers Down Under Miss Bianca

Television roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1951 Tales of Tomorrow Laura Episode: "The Invader", an American anthology SciFi series performed and broadcast live
1953 The Eva Gabor Show Herself Host
1954–1955 Justice 2 episodes: "The Blackmailer", and "The Intruder"
1957 What's My Line? Mystery Guest Season No. 9, episode No. 12, overall episode No. 389
1959 Five Fingers Maria Vodnay Episode: "Station Break"
1960–1961 Harrigan and Son Lillian Lovely Two appearances
1965–1971 Green Acres Lisa Douglas Lead role
1968 Here's Lucy Eva Von Gronyitz Episode: "Lucy and Eva Gabor"
1969 Wake Me When the War Is Over Baroness Marlene
1973–1982 Match Game Recurring panelist
1975 Tattletales With husband Frank Jameson
Ellery Queen Magda Szomony Episode: "The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument"
1977 The Love Boat Beverly Blanchard Episode No. 10: "Dear Beverly/The Strike/Special Delivery"
1981 Fantasy Island Anastasia Dexter Episode: "My Late Lover/Sanctuary"
1982 Hart to Hart Renee Episode: "With This Hart I Thee Wed"
Madame's Place Herself Episode: "Everyone Has Their Dream Role"
1983 The Edge of Night Cast member
1990 Return to Green Acres Lisa Douglas
Close Encounters Eva Hill
1993 The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies Herself
1995 This Is Your Life Herself

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Orchids & Salami: A Gay and Impudent Memoir'', by Eva Gabor, Doubleday, 1954 (Foreword by Lawrence Langner)[31][32][33][34][35]
  • Gaborabilia, by Anthony Turtu and Donald F. Reuter, Three Rivers Press, 2001; ISBN 0-609-80759-5


  1. ^ "Reflecting on the life of Zsa Zsa Gabor". New York Social Diary. Archived from the original on December 22, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  2. ^ "Jews in the News: Bonni Tischler, Steven Spielberg and Vilmos Gabor | Tampa Jewish Federation". Jewishtampa.com. July 11, 2016. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  3. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (September 6, 2007). "It's a Mad, Mad, Zsa Zsa World". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  4. ^ Johnson, Irving (February 29, 1948). "Those Gabor Girls". San Antonio Light. p. 62. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  5. ^ Belvedere, Matthew J. (May 4, 2016). "The surprising story of how Johnny Carson saved Twister". CNBC. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  6. ^ "How Johnny Carson Saved Twister". HISTORY. June 1, 2023. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  7. ^ "Twister". The Strong National Museum of Play. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  8. ^ Marian Christy, "Mama Gabor: Ageless Mother of 3", Newport Daily News, February 17, 1975.
  9. ^ Launch date cited in McDowell's Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion by Colin McDowell (F. Muller, 1984)
  10. ^ "NMAH | Hispanic Designers". Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  11. ^ Pixie, Pranking (July 4, 2012). "Pixie Pranks and Disney Fun: Every Disney Hero Has a Voice ~ Eva Gabor Duchess & Bianca". Pixie Pranks and Disney Fun. Archived from the original on February 10, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  12. ^ "Eva Gabor Obtains Divorce", The New York Times, February 25, 1945
  13. ^ "Eva Gabor in Hospital", The New York Times, December 2, 1946
  14. ^ "Eva Gabor Wed to Surgeon", The New York Times, April 9, 1956
  15. ^ a b Eva Gabor Wed in Las Vegas", The New York Times, October 5, 1959
  16. ^ Brown's later career was described in "Notes on People", The New York Times, June 26, 1973
  17. ^ "Notes on People", The New York Times, June 26, 1973
  18. ^ "Palm Springs History - Gabor Family Zsa Zsa Magda Jolie Eva". Palm Springs Life. August 21, 2015. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  19. ^ a b "Aeronautics Executive Jameson Dies". Articles.latimes.com. May 18, 1993. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  20. ^ "Notes on People", The New York Times, September 22, 1973
  21. ^ Ford, Peter. Glenn Ford: A Life (Wisconsin Film Studies). Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011. p.177, p.189 and p.256 ISBN 978-0-29928-154-0
  22. ^ Jacobs, Jody (July 12, 1985). "Merv Griffin's Birthday Party, Anyone?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  23. ^ "GRIFFIN, EVA GABOR MAY MARRY SOON, ZSA ZSA SAYS". Deseret News. June 6, 1988. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  24. ^ "Eva Gabor Merv Griffin Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images". www.gettyimages.com. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  25. ^ Richmond, Ray. "Merv Griffin died a closeted homosexual". ReutersU.K. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  26. ^ "Eva Gabor dies at 74 - UPI Archives". UPI. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  27. ^ "Eva Gabor, 74, the Actress; Youngest of Celebrated Sisters". The New York Times. Associated Press. July 5, 1995. Archived from the original on November 25, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  28. ^ Gary Wayne (May 20, 1998). "Church of the Good Shepherd". Seeing-stars.com. Archived from the original on May 18, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  29. ^ "Zsa Zsa Gabor Death Certificate" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2023. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  30. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (December 18, 2016). "Zsa Zsa Gabor, Actress Famous for Her Glamour (and Her Marriages), Dies at 99". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 16, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ Gabor, Eva (1954). Orchids and Salami. W.H. Allen. Archived from the original on February 12, 2024. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  33. ^ "Orchids & Salami – Eva Gabor's Autobiography". The Gaboratory. January 15, 2018. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  34. ^ "Book Reviews, Sites, Romance, Fantasy, Fiction". Kirkus Reviews. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  35. ^ Millstein, Gilbert (January 24, 1954). "The Clan Gabor; ORCHIDS AND SALAMI. By Eva Gabor. Foreword by Lawrence Langner. 219 pp. New York: Doubleday & Co. $2.75". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 16, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.

External links[edit]