Date
23 August 2017
Zsa Zsa Gabor, by most accounts, had a personality that generally outshone her acting skills. Photo: Internet
Zsa Zsa Gabor, by most accounts, had a personality that generally outshone her acting skills. Photo: Internet

Hollywood legend Zsa Zsa Gabor dies at 99

Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian-born Hollywood legend who married nine times, died after suffering a heart attack on Sunday, according to media reports. She was 99.

Frederic von Anhalt, her husband, said Gabor had passed away at her home in Los Angeles, California, surrounded by friends and family, Agence France-Presse reports.

“Everybody was there. She didn’t die alone,” he told AFP by telephone, choking back sobs.

Gabor, by most accounts, had a personality that generally outshone her acting skills, Reuters reports.

Her bubbly demeanor and looks helped land her a string of wealthy husbands. She had a penchant for calling everyone “dah-ling” in her thick Hungarian accent, the news agency said.

Along with her two sisters, Eva and Magda, she became a fixture on Hollywood’s social circuit in her prime.

She was once branded “the most expensive courtesan since Madame de Pompadour”, but Gabor insisted that only her marriage to husband No. 2, hotel mogul Conrad Hilton, was financially motivated, Reuters said.

While her acting skills were rarely lauded, Zsa Zsa Gabor carved out a career in her early days in Hollywood. Her finest film roles came with Moulin Rouge, where she earned good reviews, in 1952 and Lili in 1953.

She appeared in more than 30 movies and by the 1970s she began to reject smaller roles, saying: “I may be a character but I do not want to be a character actress.”

Gabor, one of the last stars of Hollywood’s golden age, was not seen in public in her final years as she struggled with her health, including broken bones and cuts from a car accident.

She also suffered a stroke and a broken hip, enduring complications from hip replacement surgery. She had much of her right leg amputated in 2011 because of an infection.

Gabor’s most recent stint at the hospital came just days after her 99th birthday in February 2016 for breathing difficulties.

Born Sari Gabor into a wealthy family, she was named Miss Hungary in the 1930s. When World War Two approached, Zsa Zsa and her sisters headed for the United States, leaving behind her first husband, Burhan Belge, a Turkish diplomat.

Soon after arriving in Hollywood, where Eva was working as an actress, Gabor married Hilton, with whom she had a daughter, Francesca, who died in January 2015.

In 1949, after divorcing Hilton, Gabor married British actor George Sanders, whom she later was to call her one true love. Sanders would end up married to Magda.

In addition to Belge, Hilton and Sanders, Gabor was married to New York businessman Herbert Hutner, oilman Joshua Cosden, Barbie doll designer Jack Ryan, her divorce lawyer Michael O’Hara, Count Felipe de Alba of Mexico and Frederic Prinz von Anhalt.

The marriage to de Alba was annulled because her divorce from O’Hara was not final at the time of the wedding. The 1986 marriage to von Anhalt, which lasted until her death, was by far her longest.

Throughout her Hollywood heyday, Gabor listed her birthday only as Feb. 6, steadfastly refusing to reveal the year. A former spokesman, John Blanchette, said she was born in 1917.

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CG

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