Zsa Zsa Gabor: Hungarian-American socialite and actress (born: 1917 - died: 2016) | Biography, Filmography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Zsa Zsa Gabor
Hungarian-American socialite and actress

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor
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Gabor in 1936

Zsa Zsa Gabor (/ˌʒɑːʒɑː ˈɡɑːbɔːr/, [ˈʒɒʒɒ ˈɡaːbor]; born Sári Gábor [ˈʃaːri ˈɡaːbor]; February 6, 1917 – December 18, 2016) was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Her sisters were actresses Eva and Magda Gabor.

Gabor began her stage career in Vienna and was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936. She emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1941. Becoming a sought-after actress with "European flair and style", she was considered to have a personality that "exuded charm and grace". 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 the John Huston-directed film, Moulin Rouge (1952). Huston would later describe her as a "creditable" actress.

Outside her acting career, Gabor was known for her extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, her glamorous personality, and her many marriages. In total, Gabor had 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."

Early life and ancestry

Zsa Zsa Gabor was born Sári Gábor on February 6, 1917, in Budapest, Hungary, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The middle of three daughters, her parents were Vilmos, a soldier, and Jolie Gabor (née Janka Tilleman). Her parents were both of Jewish ancestry. While her mother escaped Hungary during the same period of the Nazi occupation of Budapest, Gabor left the country in 1941, three years prior to the takeover.

Gabor's elder sister, Magda, eventually became an American socialite and her younger sister, Eva, became an American actress and businesswoman. The Gabor sisters were first cousins of Annette Lantos, wife of California Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA).


According to Gabor, she was discovered by operatic tenor Richard Tauber on a trip to Vienna in 1934, following her time as a student at a Swiss boarding school. Tauber invited Gabor to sing the soubrette role in his new operetta, Der singende Traum (The Singing Dream), at the Theater an der Wien. This would mark her first stage appearance. In 1936, she was crowned Miss Hungary.

Dancing with director Nicholas Ray (1953)

In 1944, she co-wrote a novel with writer Victoria Wolf entitled Every Man For Himself. According to Gabor, the fictional story was derived, in small part, from Gabor's life experiences. The book was subsequently bought by an American magazine. In 1949, Gabor declined an offer to play the leading role in a film version of the classic book Lady Chatterley's Lover. According to an article written for the Cedar Rapids Gazette in 1949, she turned down the role of Lady Chatterley due to the story's controversial theme.

Her more serious film acting credits include Moulin Rouge, Lovely to Look At, and We're Not Married!, all from 1952, and 1953's Lili. In 1958, she ran the gamut of moviemaking, from Touch of Evil to the camp oddity Queen of Outer Space. Later, she appeared in such films as Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) and Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie (1984). She did cameos for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), and A Very Brady Sequel (1996), as well as voicing a character in the animated Happily Ever After (1990).

She was also a regular guest on television shows, appearing with Milton Berle, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Howard Stern, David Frost, Arsenio Hall, Phil Donahue, and Joan Rivers. She was a guest on the Bob Hope specials, the Dean Martin Roasts, Hollywood Squares, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and It's Garry Shandling's Show. In 1968, she appeared in the role of Minerva on an episode of Batman, becoming the show's final "special guest villain" when it was cancelled soon after. She appeared on the Late Night show where she told host David Letterman about her blind date with Henry Kissinger, which was arranged by Richard Nixon.

Author Gerold Frank, who helped Gabor write her autobiography in 1960, described his impressions of her:

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."

In his autobiography, television host Merv Griffin, who was known to spend time with Gabor's younger sister Eva socially, wrote of the Gabor sisters' initial presence in New York and Hollywood:

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.

In 1973, she was the guest roastee on the Dean Martin Roast show,; and, in 1998, film historian Neal Gabler called her kind of celebrity "The Zsa Zsa Factor".

Personal life

Gabor at the Denver Muscular Dystrophy TV Marathon, c. 1955

Gabor was married nine times. She was divorced seven times, and one marriage was annulled. She wrote in her autobiography,

All in all — I love being married … I love the companionship, I love cooking for a man (simple things like chicken soup and my special Dracula's goulash from Hungary), and spending all my time with a man. Of course I love being in love — but it is marriage that really fulfills me. But not in every case.

Her husbands, in chronological order, were:

Conrad's decision to change my name from Zsa Zsa to Georgia symbolized everything my marriage to him would eventually become. My Hungarian roots were to be ripped out and my background ignored. ... I soon discovered that my marriage to Conrad meant the end of my freedom. My own needs were completely ignored: I belonged to Conrad.

Herbert took away my will to work. With his kindness and generosity, he almost annihilated my drive. I have always been the kind of woman who could never be satisfied by money — only excitement and achievement.

  • 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 13–14, 1983; annulled)
  • Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt (August 14, 1986 – December 18, 2016; her death)
Gabor arriving at a film 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." Gabor later claimed to have had a sexual encounter with her stepson, Nicky.

In 1970, Gabor purchased a nearly 9,000-square-foot Hollywood Regency-style home in Bel Air, which once belonged to Elvis Presley. It was built by Howard Hughes and featured a copper French style roof.

Gabor's only child, daughter Constance Francesca Hilton, was born on March 10, 1947. 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 who had a child. 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 Los Angeles County Superior Court, Santa Monica, 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 in 2015 at the age of 67 from a stroke. Gabor's husband never told her about her daughter's death, out of concern for her physical and emotional state.

Gabor and her last husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, adopted at least ten adult males who paid them a fee of up to $2,000,000 to become descendants by adoption of Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt. Prinz von Anhalt had himself paid Marie-Auguste to adopt him when he was 36 years old.

While Gabor's parents were Jewish, she was a practicing Catholic.

Legal and financial 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. At trial three months later, a jury convicted her of slapping Kramer. They also found her guilty of driving without a license and possessing an open container of alcohol—a flask of Jack Daniel's—in her $215,000 Rolls-Royce, but acquitted her of the charge of disobeying Kramer when she drove away from the traffic stop. On October 25, 1989, Beverly Hills Municipal Judge Charles G. Rubin sentenced Gabor to serve three days in jail, to pay fines and restitution totaling $12,937, to perform 120 hours of community service, and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. On June 14, 1990, Gabor dropped her conviction appeal and agreed to serve her sentence. However, she refused to take part in community service and served three days in jail from July 27 to July 30, 1990.

Gabor 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 multimillion-dollar libel suit by 1993. The suit resulted in an order for Gabor and her husband to pay Sommer $3.3 million in general and punitive damages.

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.

Later life and health

On November 27, 2002, Gabor was a front seat passenger in an automobile crash on 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. In 2010, she fractured her hip and underwent a successful hip replacement.

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

In 2011, her right leg was amputated above the knee to save her life from an infection. She was hospitalized again in 2011 for a number of emergencies.

On February 8, 2016, two days after her 99th birthday, Gabor was rushed to hospital after suffering from breathing difficulties. She was diagnosed with a feeding tube-related lung infection and was scheduled to undergo surgery to have her feeding tube removed.

In April 2016, Gabor expressed her wish to move back to Hungary in 2017 and live out the rest of her life there. Her husband stated that he was determined to make her wish come true and he intended to arrange for "a big party in the summer" to celebrate the actress' 100th birthday, after which she would return to Budapest.


Gabor died at the age of 99 of cardiac arrest while in a coma at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on December 18, 2016, fifty days shy of becoming a centenarian. The causes of death were given as "Cardiopulmonary arrest, Coronary Artery Disease, and Cerebral Vascular Disease". She had been on life support for the previous five years.

Her funeral was held on December 30 in a Catholic ceremony at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, where around 100 mourners attended. Her ashes, placed in a gold rectangular box, were interred at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery; in July 2021 Prinz von Anhalt had them reinterred in the artists' section of Kerepesi Cemetery in Budapest in order to fulfil her wish to return to Hungary. He said that the remains were transported in their own first-class airline seat.



Year Film Director Role Note Ref.
1952 Lovely to Look At Mervyn LeRoy Zsa Zsa
We're Not Married! Edmund Goulding Eve Melrose
Moulin Rouge John Huston Jane Avril
The Million Dollar Nickel Peter Ballbusch
1953 The Story of Three Loves Vincente Minnelli and Gottfried Reinhardt Flirt at bar
Lili Charles Walters Rosalie
L'ennemi public no. 1 (The Most Wanted Man) Henri Verneuil Lola la Blonde
1954 Sangre y luces (Love in a Hot Climate) Georges Rouquier and Ricardo Muñoz Suay Marilena
Ball der Nationen Karl Ritter Vera van Loon
3 Ring Circus Joseph Pevney Saadia
1956 Death of a Scoundrel Charles Martin Mrs. Ryan
1957 The Girl in the Kremlin Russell Birdwell
1958 The Man Who Wouldn't Talk Herbert Wilcox Eve Trent
Country Music Holiday Alvin Ganzer herself
Touch of Evil Orson Welles Strip-club owner
Queen of Outer Space Edward Bernds Talleah
1959 For the First Time Rudolph Maté Gloria de Vadnuz
1960 La Contessa azzurra (The Blue Countess) Claudio Gora
Pepe George Sidney herself
1962 Lykke og krone Colbjørn Helander and Stein Sælen
The Road to Hong Kong Norman Panama Cameo appearance
Boys' Night Out Michael Gordon boss's girl friend
1966 Picture Mommy Dead Bert I. Gordon Jessica Flagmore Shelley
Drop Dead Darling Ken Hughes Gigi
1967 Jack of Diamonds Don Taylor herself
1972 Up the Front Bob Kellett Mata Hari
1976 Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood Michael Winner Premiere Female Star Cameo appearance
1978 Every Girl Should Have One Robert Hyatt Olivia Wayne
1984 Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie Myron J. Gold Clara
1987 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Chuck Russell Herself Cameo appearance
Johann Strauß: Der König ohne Krone (Johann Strauss: The King Without a Crown) Franz Antel Aunt Amalie
1991 The People vs Zsa Zsa Gabor Herself Documentary
The Naked Gun 2 ⁄2: The Smell of Fear David Zucker Cameo appearance
1992 The Naked Truth Nico Mastorakis
1993 Est & Quest: Les Paradis Perdus (East & West: Paradises Lost) Rival
Happily Ever After John Howley Blossom (voice)
The Beverly Hillbillies Penelope Spheeris Herself Cameo appearance
1996 A Very Brady Sequel Arlene Sanford Cameo appearance


Year Series Role Notes Ref.
1953–1960 What's My Line? Mystery guest Recurring role (4 episodes)
1953–1964 Jukebox Jury Musical Judge Recurring role (3 episodes)
1955 The Red Skelton Show Movie Star Episode: "Cookie and Zsa Zsa Gabor"
Climax! Mme Florizel,
Princess Stephanie
Episodes: "A Man of Taste", "The Great Impersonation"
December Bride Herself Episode: "The Zsa Zsa Gabor Show"
1950–1956 The Milton Berle Show Herself Recurring role (3 episodes)
1956 The Ford Television Theatre Dara Szabo Episode: "Autumn Fever"
1956–1961 General Electric Theater Various Recurring role (5 episodes)
1956–1958 Matinee Theatre Various Recurring role (3 episodes)
1957–1960 The Arthur Murray Party Herself Recurring role (4 episodes)
1957 The Life of Riley Gigi Episode: "Foreign Intrigue"
1957 Playhouse 90 Erika Segnitz, Marita Lorenz Recurring role (2 episodes)
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom Herself
1958 Shower of Stars Herself March 20, 1958
1959 Lux Video Theatre Helen
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show Herself Recurring guest (2 episodes)
1960 Ninotchka Herself Television film
Make Room for Daddy Lisa Laslow Episode: "Kathy and the Glamour Girl"
1962 Mister Ed Herself Episode: "Zsa Zsa"
1962–1977 The Merv Griffin Show Herself Recurring guest (42 episodes)
1963–1980 The Mike Douglas Show Herself Recurring guest (31 episodes)
1963 The Dick Powell Show Girl
1963–1964 Burke's Law Anna, the Maid Recurring role (2 episodes)
1964 The Joey Bishop Show Herself Episode: "Zsa Zsa Redecorates the Nursery"
1965 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Pilot Episode: "Double Jeopardy"
Gilligan's Island Erika Tiffany Smith Episode: "Erika Tiffany-Smith to the Rescue"
1966 Alice in Wonderland... The Queen of Hearts Television special
The Rounders Ilona Hobson Episode: "The Scavenger Hunt"
F Troop Marika Episode: "Play, Gypsy, Play"
1966–1975 Hollywood Squares Herself Recurring guest (64 episodes)
1967 Bonanza Madame Marova Episode: "Maestro Hoss"
1968 My Three Sons Herself Episode: "Ernie and Zsa Zsa"
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Herself Recurring role (8 episodes)
The Name of the Game Mira Retzyk Episode: "Fear of High Places"
Batman Minerva Recurring role (2 episodes)
1969 Bracken's World Herself Episode: "King David"
1971 Mooch Goes to Hollywood Narrator Television film
Night Gallery Mrs. Moore Episode: "The Messiah on Mott Street/The Painted Mirror"
1974–1976 Dinah! Self Recurring role (10 episodes)
1976 Let's Make a Deal Home Viewer
1977 Hollywood Connection Self Recurring role (8 episodes)
3 Girls 3 Self Episode: "Pilot"
1979 Supertrain Audrey Episode: "A Very Formal Heist"
1980 The Love Boat Annette Episode: "She Stole His Heart/Return of the Captain's Brother/Swag and Mag"
Hollywood, ich komme Stargast Television film
1981 The Facts of Life Countess Calvet Episode: "Bought and Sold"
As the World Turns Lydia Marlowe Series regular
1982 Hart to Hart Aunt Renee
1983 Matt Houston Zizi Episode: "The Purrfect Crime"
California Girls Herself Television film
1986 Charlie Barnett's Terms of Enrollment "Star Hungry" Celebrity Television special
1986–1989 The New Hollywood Squares Panelist Recurring role (12 episodes)
1988 Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special Princess Zsa Zsa Television film
1989 It's Garry Shandling's Show Goddess of Commitment Episode: "It's Garry and Angelica's Show: Part 1"
1989 The Munsters Today Herself Episode: "Threehundredsomething"
1990 City Babette Croquette Episode: "Oil and Water"
1991 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Sonya Lamor Episode: "Hi-Ho Silver"
1994 Late Show with David Letterman Herself Sketch
1994 Ricki Lake Herself Expert
1994 This Is Your Life Herself Tribute
1995 Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills Herself Episode "The Glitch"


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1935 Der singende Traum Theater an der Wien
1961–1970 Blithe Spirit Elvira
1968–1970 Forty Carats Ann Stanley Broadway; 780 performances
1975 Arsenic and Old Lace Aunt Abby Brewster Arlington Heights, Illinois
1993 Cinderella Fairy Godmother UCLA
Bell, Book and Candle
Finders Will Return
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 25 Nov 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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