Zsa Zsa Gabor—the actress and socialite known for her nine trips down the aisle—has died at 99.
According to TMZ, Gabor died from a heart attack on Saturday after five years on life support. She was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1917, Gabor became a household name thanks to her distinctive manner (“dah-link”), on-point one-liners and numerous TV and film appearances, including Moulin Rouge, Lili, Touch of Evil and Queen of Outer Space. She was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936, and from there headed to Hollywood with her sister, Eva. From Variety:
Her rise to fame coincided with the spurt of talk shows that filled the airwaves during the early days of TV. The early ’50s created other talkshow and gameshow celebrities, but few parlayed that fame much beyond the 1950s. Gabor’s attitude —” I deserve attention not because of any talent, but just because of who I am” — was an early example of a phenomenon that has ballooned in the past decade, as tabloids put reality-TV figures on their covers and blogs cover them incessantly.
Gabor’s pithy remarks about herself were among her most beloved trademarks: “I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?” she once said. And: “How may husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?” And: “The women’s movement hasn’t changed my sex life. It wouldn’t dare.” And: “A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.” She was the Yogi Berra of man-related aphorisms.
Gabor is often thought of as a proto-Paris Hilton, a fitting assessment considering the second of her string of husbands was the hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, making her the socialite’s great-great aunt.
Her marriage to Hilton resulted in her only child, Constance “Francesca” Hilton. According to the New York Daily News, her relationship with her daughter was rocky, and in 2005 Gabor sued Francesca for forging her signature to get a $2 million loan.
Aside from Hilton, Gabor’s other husbands included a Turkish diplomat, the actor George Sanders, an industrialist, an oil magnate, a toy designer, a divorce lawyer and a man referred to as the “Duke of Saxony” in the press. Her shortest marriage was annulled after just one day.
Then there’s this juicy vignette, from the New York Times:
In 1989 she was arrested for slapping a police officer who had pulled her over for a traffic violation and found that her license had expired and that she had an open vodka bottle in her car, a Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible. Breezing into court, she took the stand and, by turns haughty, coquettish, weepy and coarse, spoke of Gestapo tactics in Beverly Hills. The judge gave her 72 hours in jail.
“You just cannot drive a Rolls-Royce in Beverly Hills anymore, because they have it in for you,” she said after things had blown over.
Gabor would have turned 100 in February, though she was always cagey about the actual year of her birth, which may have been anywhere from 1917 to 1919. (Most sources suggest it was 1917.)
She is survived by her ninth and final husband, Frederic Prinz Von Anhalt, who she married in 1986.