Page semi-protected

Zsa Zsa Gabor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor - 1959.jpg
Gabor in 1959
Born Gábor Sári
(1917-02-06) February 6, 1917 (age 98)
Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Occupation Actress, socialite
Years active 1934–1996
Children Francesca Hilton
Parent(s) Jolie Gábor (mother)
Vilmos Gábor (father)
Relatives Magda Gabor (sister)
Eva Gabor (sister)
The native form of this personal name is Gábor Zsazsa. This article uses the Western name order.

Zsa Zsa Gabor (/ˈʒɑːʒɑː ˈɡɑːbɔr, ɡəˈbɔr/ ZHAH-zhah GAH-bor; born Gábor Sári; February 6, 1917) is a Hungarian-born American actress and socialite.

Gabor began her stage career in Vienna and was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936.[1] She emigrated to the United States in 1941 and became a sought-after actress with "European flair and style", with a personality that "exuded charm and grace".[2] Her first film role was a supporting role in Lovely to Look At. She later acted in We're Not Married! and played one of her few leading roles in Moulin Rouge (1952), directed by John Huston, who described her as a "creditable" actress.[3]

Outside of her acting career, Gabor is best known for having nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders. She once 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."[4]

Early life and career

Gabor was born February 6, 1917[5] in Budapest (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire)[5] as Sári Gábor (Gábor Sári in Hungarian order, pronounced [ˈɡaːbor ˈʃaːri] ), the middle of three daughters born to Vilmos Gábor (circa 1876[6] - 1962), a soldier, and Jolie Gabor (née Tilleman; 1896–1997).[7][8][9] She was reportedly named after Sári Fedák, a popular Hungarian entertainer.[10] Her elder sister Magda was a socialite and her younger sister Eva was an actress and businesswoman.

Gabor's mother, Jolie, was an aunt of Annette Lantos, wife of Hungarian-born U.S. congressman and Holocaust survivor, Tom Lantos.[11][12] Jolie was Jewish, and barely escaped Hungary after the Nazis occupied Budapest in 1944,[12] crediting Magda's influential connections with rescuing her: "For Magda's Portuguese Ambassador [ Garrido ] I thank God. It was this man who saved my life."[13] Gabor's maternal grandmother and uncle Sebastian (Annette Lantos's father) chose to remain in Budapest feeling they "had a good place to hide". However, both died during an Allied bombing raid. The fate of Zsa Zsa's three maternal aunts, Jolie's sisters, remains unclear.[13] Gabor and her sisters nominally practiced Roman Catholicism,[citation needed] despite coming from a Jewish family. Some speculation has been made that the Gabor family may have converted in an attempt to assimilate and escape prejudice.[citation needed]

Dancing with director Nicholas Ray (1953)

Following studies at Madame Subilia's, a Swiss boarding school, Zsa Zsa was discovered by tenor Richard Tauber on a trip to Vienna in 1934 and was invited to sing the soubrette role in his new operetta, Der singende Traum (The Singing Dream), at the Theater an der Wien, making 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."[14]

In his autobiography, television host Merv Griffin, who often squired Zsa Zsa's younger sister Eva socially, described the Gabors in their "heyday" as "glamour personified": "All these years later, it's hard to describe the phenomenon of the three glamorous Gabor girls and their ubiquitous mother. They burst onto the society pages and into the gossip columns so suddenly, and with such force, it was as if they'd been dropped out of the sky."[15]

Personal life

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

Gabor arriving at a movie premiere in 1962

Gabor's divorces inspired her to make numerous quotable puns and innuendos about her marital (and extramarital) history. She commented: "I am a marvelous housekeeper: Every time I leave a man I keep his house."[24][25] When asked, "How many husbands have you had?", she was quoted as responding, "You mean other than my own?"[24] While Gabor was still married to Conrad Hilton, she admitted to having once had sex with her stepson Nicky, who would be Elizabeth Taylor's first husband.[12]

In 1970, Gabor purchased a 8,878-square-foot Hollywood Regency-style home in Bel Air, which once belonged to Elvis Presley. It was originally built by Howard Hughes[26] and featured a unique-looking French style roof. In June 2011, it was announced that Gabor placed the house for sale as it had "gotten too big to manage" for her. Originally put up for sale for $15 million, it was reduced to $12.9 million, and then pulled from the market. In 2012, the house was listed for sale again, at $14.9 million.[27][28][29]

Gabor's only child, a daughter named Constance Francesca Hilton, was born on March 10, 1947.[17] According to Gabor's 1991 autobiography One Lifetime Is Not Enough, her pregnancy resulted from rape by then-husband Conrad Hilton. She was the only Gabor sister to have a child.[12] In 2005, a lawsuit was filed accusing her daughter of larceny and fraud, alleging that she had forged her signature to get a US$2 million loan on her mother's Bel Air house. However, the Santa Monica Superior Court threw out the case due to Gabor's failure to appear in court or to sign an affidavit that she indeed was a co-plaintiff on the original lawsuit filed by her husband, Frédéric von Anhalt. Francesca Hilton died on January 5, 2015, at the age of 67 from a massive stroke.[30][31]

On March 4, 2014, John Blanchette, Gabor's publicist for 30 years, died in Santa Monica.[32]

Zsa Zsa helping out at the Denver Muscular Dystrophy TV Marathon, c. 1955

Legal difficulties

On June 14, 1989, in Beverly Hills, California, Gabor was accused of slapping the face of Beverly Hills police officer Paul Kramer when he stopped her for a traffic violation at 8551 Olympic Boulevard.[33] Gabor also had a long-running feud with German-born actress Elke Sommer that began in 1984 when both appeared on Circus of the Stars and escalated into a multi-million dollar libel suit by 1993.[34]


On November 28, 2002, Gabor was a front seat passenger in an automobile crash in Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, from which she remained partially paralyzed and reliant on a wheelchair for mobility. She survived strokes in 2005 and 2007 and underwent surgeries.[35] In 2010, she fractured her hip and underwent a successful hip replacement.[36][37]

In August of 2010, Gabor was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in serious condition and received last rites from a Catholic priest.[38][39]

In 2011, her right leg was amputated above the knee to save her life from an infection.[40] She was hospitalized again in 2011 for numerous emergencies.[41][42][43]

2009 financial problems

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 in Bernie Madoff's company, possibly through a third-party money manager.[44] Marcus Prinz von Anhalt, a German nightclub owner and adopted son of Gabor's husband, reportedly provided significant financial assistance to the couple.[45]

Official records of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York reportedly do not list Gabor as a victim.[46]




Gabor appeared in Forty Carats on Broadway, as well as in the national tour of Blithe Spirit (as Elvira).


  • Gabor, Zsa Zsa; Frank, Gerold (1960). Zsa Zsa Gábor: My Story. Cleveland, Ohio: World Pub. Co. OCLC 1069078. 
  • —— (1970). How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. OCLC 92114. 
  • ——; Leigh, Wendy (1991). One Lifetime Is Not Enough. New York, NY: Delacorte Press. ISBN 0-385-29882-X. 
  • Turtu, Anthony; Reuter, Donald F. (2001). Gaborabilia: An Illustrated Celebration of the Fabulous, Legendary Gabor Sisters. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80759-5. 

See also


  1. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p.271
  2. ^ Barris, George. Barris Cars of the Stars, MBI Publishing (2008), p. 71
  3. ^ Huston, John. John Huton: Interviews, Univ. Press of Mississippi (2001), pg. 11
  4. ^ "Love Hints from Zsa Zsa", Life Magazine, October 15, 1951 (cover story).
  5. ^ a b "The Secret Is Out: Zsa Zsa is 72". News Archive. 1989-11-03. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  6. ^ A&E's "Biography" - "The Gabors", April 2000, stating Vilmos was "twenty years her senior"
  7. ^ "The Hungarian-Jewish Family Tree of Zsa Zsa Gabor - Nick Gombash's Genealogy Blog". 
  8. ^ "Zsa Zsa Gabor profile at". Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ Jolie Gabor's date of birth was September 30, 1896, although most sources cite September 29, but September 30 date and her name at birth as "Janka" not "Jansci" are supported by her birth certificate.
  10. ^ Gerold Frank, "Zsa Zsa Gabor", Films in Review, January 1961, p. 48
  11. ^ Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau (January 1, 2007). "Tom Lantos: the master storyteller, communicator". Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d Bennetts, Leslie (September 6, 2007). "It's a Mad, Mad, Zsa Zsa World". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Adams, Cindy. Jolie Gabor, Mason/Charter Publ. (1975) pgs. 135-49, 173
  14. ^ "Ghost", Life magazine, 29 June 1959, pgs. 129-39
  15. ^ Griffin, Merv. Merv: Making the Good Life Last, Simon & Schuster (2003), pg. 179, ISBN 0743456963
  16. ^ a b c Gabor, Zsa Zsa; Frank, Gerold. Zsa Zsa Gabor: My Story, The World Publishing Company, 1960.
  17. ^ a b Feinberg, Alexander. "Bandit Gets $600,000 Gems in Raid on Penthouse Home: Mrs. Sari Hilton, Hotel Chain Owner's Wife, Reveals Hiding Place of Jewel Box After Intruder Threatens to Shoot Baby", The New York Times, October 5, 1947.
  18. ^ "Zsa Zsa Gabor Is Married Here to Corporation Head", The New York Times, November 6, 1962.
  19. ^ "Herbert L. Hutner, Arts Adviser, Is Dead at 99", The New York Times, December 19, 2008.
  20. ^ "Zsa Zsa Decides It's Time to Sell Beauty Formulas", The New York Times, January 29, 1969.
  21. ^ "Jack Ryan Dies at 65, Designer (sic) of Barbie Doll", The New York Times, August 21, 1991.
  22. ^ Gabor, Zsa Zsa (and Wendy Leigh). One Life is Not Enough (Delacorte Press, 1991), p. 311.
  23. ^ Current Biography Yearbook (H. W. Wilson Company, 1989), p.177.
  24. ^ a b Zsa Zsa Gabor IMDb biodata
  25. ^ "Xenophobe's guide to the Hungarians". Retrieved August 13, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Gabor dispute heads to courtroom", BBC, June 4, 2005.
  27. ^ "Elvis Presley's old home owned by Zsa Zsa Gabor on market for $28 million",; accessed February 13, 2014.
  28. ^ "The battle over Zsa Zsa Gabor's mansion", June 27, 2011.
  29. ^ Miller, Daniel (May 25, 2012). "Zsa Zsa Gabor Lists Bel-Air Residence for Sale at $14.9 Million (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  30. ^ Duke, Alan (April 19, 2011). "Zsa Zsa Gabor to become new mother at 94, husband says". CNN. 
  31. ^ Oldeburg, Ann (January 6, 2015). "Francesa Hilton, Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter, dies". USA Today. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  32. ^ Barnes, Mike (March 10, 2014). "Hollywood Publicist John Blanchette Dies at 68". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  33. ^ Retrieved on April 18, 2007
  34. ^ Pool, Bob. "$3.3 million libel award in Sommer-Gabor Feud", Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1993; accessed January 15, 2011.
  35. ^ "Report on Zsa Zsa Gabor's health". Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Zsa Zsa Gabor hip surgery successful, her husband says". Los Angeles Times. July 19, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  37. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (July 18, 2010). "Zsa Zsa Gabor hospitalized". USA Today. Retrieved July 18, 2010. 
  38. ^ Catholic Online. "Priest called to administer final rites to Zsa Zsa". 
  39. ^ "Zsa Zsa Gabor asks for 'last rites' from priest". 
  40. ^ "UCLA statement on Zsa Zsa Gabor’s condition following today's surgery". UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  41. ^ "Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor rushed to hospital again". CNN. May 18, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Zsa Zsa Gabor is unresponsive, hospitalized, husband says". CNN. May 19, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  43. ^ Update re Zsa Zsa Gabor's health, October 9, 2010.
  44. ^ "Gabor's Husband Says They Lost $10 Million Due to Madoff", The Times Online, January 26, 2009.
  45. ^ "Sein Adoptivsohn hilft ihm aus der Patsche",, February 18, 2009. (German)
  46. ^ "Madoff Affidavit Exhibits" (PDF). Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 

External links