Zsa Zsa Gabor pioneered the concept of celebrity as a career. Her beauty, business savvy and hunger for life and love gave her a beautiful life.
Zsa Zsa Gabor was born in Budapest (Hungary) and arrived in Hollywood in her twenties following her actress sister Eva Gabor.
Zsa Zsa was a Miss Hungary in 1936. Her beauty immediately attracted Hollywood’s attention and she was cast in several supporting roles in major movie studios’ productions. She’s had very few starring or even noteworthy roles. The first of them was in Moulin Rouge (1952) opposite Jose Ferrer. Right after, she returned to playing supporting roles.
By 1960s Zsa Zsa transformed herself into what we’d call today a celebrity and made a career out of being herself; it’s only fair to say that she’s done it very well. She’s made many cameo appearances and had a number of bigger roles (“The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear” in 1991 and “The Ruby Wax Show” in 1997) and smaller ones as herself or making fun of herself.
One of the biggest scandals of her life ensued when upon being stopped for driving a car with an expired tag in 1989, she was pulled over by a Beverly Hills police officer. With a typical Zsa Zsa temperament she slapped him! The incident was followed by a brief trial during which she was found guilty. Zsa Zsa had to pay just over $25,000 in costs and fines; she was also sentenced to jail (she served three days) and 120 hours of community service.
Throughout her career she’s managed to captivate the media, play a significant role on the Hollywood scene, develop herself into a “brand”, and amass a fortune. Along the way, the fierce Hungarian has had a rich personal life; suffice to say she’s been married NINE times……….
She’s best known for her charming foreign accent; the infamous incident during which she’s slapped a Beverly Hills cop; her nine husbands (one of whom was Conrad Hilton with whom she’s had her only child), and – of course! – her insights on men. These are some of her thoughts:
“A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.”
“I believe in large families: every woman should have at least three husbands.”
“I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.”
“To a smart girl men are no problem – they’re the answer.”
“I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.”
“You never really know a man until you have divorced him.”
When a curious interviewer asked how many husbands she’s had, Zsa Zsa replied: “You mean other than my own?”
Gabor’s good life took a dive after she’s been injured in a car accident in 2002. The accident left her partially paralyzed. Further health problems soon followed. She suffered a stroke in 2005. In 2012 her leg had to be amputated due to infection. Zsa Zsa – the life of the party for so many years! – spent the last years of her life bedridden. Gabor died of a heart attack at 99. The last years of her life not withstanding, she’s had a long and beautiful life.
Zsa Zsa Gabor may not have been the most beautiful actress in Hollywood, the most accomplished one, or even the most popular one. But she’s certainly done incredibly well; she reached for the stars and became a star in her own right: famous for being famous. Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian West and a bevy of other beauties whose only claim to fame is “celebrity” follow the trail blazed by Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Anything L.A. Magazine’s Entertainment Editor, I. Sturm