Zsa Zsa Gabor Young: A 'Darling' Life In Photos
circa 1953: Hollywood film actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Zsa Zsa is probably most famous for her marriages, her jewellery and her lifestyle and she has always courted publicity of any kind. (Photo by Baron/Getty Images)
Hungarian beauty Zsa Zsa Gabor was an actress -- that's what her resume would say, at least. But Zsa Zsa, sister of Green Acres' Eva Gabor, was most famous for playing herself. Zsa Zsa was outrageous, from her hilarious one-liners to her wardrobe to her constant use of the term "dahling" to her numerous husbands. Though she died in 2016, her larger-than-life presence persists -- break out a good Zsa Zsa impersonation at a party and everyone will get the reference.
Zsa Zsa Gabor was better known for her larger than life personality, her quips, and her signature expression “dah-link” than her acting career, although she did appear in over 60 films and made-for-television fims and did have occasional television appearances, including The Hollywood Squares and Gilligan’s Island. Her biggest role came in 1958’s Queen of Outer Space. She was one of the first to be famous for being famous. Later in her career, she regularly appeared on the late-night talk shows.
Life Before Celebrity
Zsa Zsa Gabor was born Sari Gabor in 1917 in Budapest, Hungary although her age was uncertain. Her parents were Jewish and she left Hungary three years prior to the Nazi occupation of Hungary, following her sister Eva to Hollywood. Before that, she went to a boarding school in Switzerland, where the operatic tenor Richard Tauber discovered her and invited her to sing soubrette in his operetta. She spent three months studying at the Vienna Acting Academy and then made her stage appearance. In 1936, she was crowned Miss Hungary, but lost the crown after lies about her age were discovered. After going to Hollywood, she co-wrote a novel, Every Man For Himself, with Victoria Wolf, partially based on Gabor’s own life.
Her Film Career
Her first film was Lovely to Look At in 1952. This was followed by a supporting role in We’re Not Married (1952). After that she had her first starring role, which was in Moulin Rouge (1952). After that movie, she returned to supporting roles. She excelled in the roles where she played herself, notably in Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991). In this role, she made fun of an incident in 1989. That year, she slapped a police officer and managed to turn the incident into a comeback without any outside help from publicists.
Her Love Life Provided Fodder For The Tabloids
Gabor’s love life was notorious. She said “Of course I love being in love — but it is marriage that really fulfills me. But not in every case." She was married nine times and divorced seven. Her shortest marriage, to Felipe de Alva, from April 13-14, 1983 was annulled. Perhaps her most tumultuous was to Conrad Hilton, the grandfather of Paris Hilton, and the father of her only daughter, Francesca Hilton, who preceeded her in death. Her longest marriage, to Frederic Prinz von Anhalt lasted from 1986 until her death. He was 27 years younger than her. When asked how to keep a man, she once said “shoot him in the legs.” Von Anhalt was a bit deceptive himself and was definitely engaged in some dubious business; they only got engaged after he was accused of seducing and impregnating a teenage Miss Hungary who later committed suicide. Von Arnhalt was born Hans Robert Lichtenberg and became Prince Frédéric von Anhalt, the Duke of Saxony and Westphalia, Count of Ascania when Princess Marie-Auguste von Anhalt, daughter-in-law to the last German kaiser, adopted him for a price of 2,000 marks every month.
Some consider her extremely important because of her dominance during a time when women were supposed to be more demure. Her candor about her personal life and her exploits started to pave the way for the sexual revolution. She may have been able to pull this off because she was charming, one of her strengths
The Image She Created
She was aware of the image that she created, an image that came from being very serious. As she said in a New Yorker profile, "I couldn't have built up this idiotic image of myself all these years if I hadn't been serious." She seemed at times to capitalize on this.
As Gabor aged, she maintained the glamorous image that she had from when she was young. As she wrote, "What is really important for a woman," she wrote, "even more than being beautiful or intelligent, is to be entertaining."
In 2002, after a car accident left her wheelchair bound, she began a steady decline, eventually dying in 2016.
Tags: Ladies | What Did She Do?... | Zsa Zsa Gabor
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