“Dahling, just be yourself!” –Zsa Zsa Gabor
The glamorous Hungarian-born actress Zsa Zsa Gabor died today at the age of 99 from heart failure. She was surrounded by family and friends.
In her youth Zsa Zsa attended private schools, and was ushered into stardom taking classes in acting, dancing, and music. She was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936, and then moved to America just before the start of World War II with her sisters Eva and Magda in pursuit of careers in acting. The three of them became famous for their film careers and garnered public intrigue with their love lives. Indeed, they were often hot topics in society magazines. Merv Griffin once described their charm and popularity by saying, “All these years later, it’s hard to describe the phenomenon of the three glamorous Gabor girls….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.” Zsa Zsa lived the Hollywood lifestyle, and flaunted her diamonds and fur coats. Because she was famous for being famous, she has been described as the original Kim Kardashian. Watch this Hollywood Backstage clip, and you might see why.
Gabor’s film career peaked during the 1950s with memorable roles in films like Moulin Rouge, Lovely to Look At, Lili, Orson Welles’s classic Touch of Evil, and the camp-favorite Queen of Outer Space. She also appeared in over 60 TV movies. Most of her roles were in American productions, but she also appeared in French, Italian, and German films. Zsa Zsa’s career extended into the 1990s as she appeared on talk shows, game shows, comedy specials, and more.
But it’s hard to talk about Zsa Zsa without mentioning the fact that she had nine husbands including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, actor George Sanders, and the toy designer who helped create Barbie, Jack Ryan.
Her famous divorces inspired her to make many quotable one-liners. Here are a few examples:
“A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he’s finished.”
“Getting divorced just because you don’t love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.”
“Husbands are like fires–they go out when unattended.”
“You never really know a man until you have divorced him.”
“We were both in love with him. I fell out of love with him, but he didn’t.”
“A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.”
“I don’t take gifts from perfect strangers–but then, nobody is perfect.”
“I’m a great housekeeper. I get divorced. I keep the house.”
“A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never her age.”
With her thick Hungarian accent, Zsa Zsa frequently and famously referred to people as “dahling” (darling)–she once said because she can’t remember their names.
In response to the news of her passing, Piers Morgan tweeted, “RIP Zsa Zsa Gabor. 99 years old, 9 husbands, Miss Hungary & Hollywood star. What a life!” Larry King tweeted. “There will only be one Zsa Zsa Gabor. And, I liked her a lot. Rest in Peace, my dear.”
Gabor is survived by her last husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt.