Famously famous star Zsa Zsa dies at 99
Long before Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian there was Zsa Zsa. No last name needed.
Zsa Zsa Gabor pioneered the art of being famous simply for being famous, which generations of starlets have emulated ever since.
She was an open book, having crafted a career from multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and lavish wisdom about the opposite sex and the good life.
And yet there remained an air of exotic mystery, borne perhaps by the accent, the glamour, her coyness about her real age and her insistence on always appearing perfectly coifed.
If there was a real Zsa Zsa, the world never knew her. She was more of a sparkling, blonde idea.
The jet-setting Hungarian actress and tabloid queen died on Sunday at her Los Angeles home after a heart attack, her husband, Fredric von Anhalt, said. She was 99.
“We tried everything, but her heart just stopped and that was it,” von Anhalt said. “Even the ambulance tried very hard to get her back, but there was no way.”
Gabor broke her right hip in July 2010 after falling out of bed while trying to get into a wheelchair at her home. She was hospitalized repeatedly after the fall, and most of her right leg was amputated in January because of gangrene.
The sexpot of the 1950s and 1960s had to use a wheelchair after being partially paralyzed in a 2002 car accident and suffering a stroke in 2005.
Afterward, she retreated from public view. She detested having her picture taken by the paparazzi while she was in her wheelchair.
“She wants people to remember her as she was years ago,” von Anhalt said.
For more than a half-century, Gabor captivated the public. Never far from controversy, she went to jail for three days for hitting a police officer on a Beverly Hills street after he pulled over her Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible for a traffic violation.
When she was freed, she said the jailers were kind, but “at first I was petrified. They even took my makeup away.”
Gabor kept up the act in the advice book How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man, and in the exercise video, It’s Simple Darling, in which she banters and stretches with a pair of muscular young trainers (”Massage me a little more, boy”).
She married eight times — nine if you include a 1982 shipboard ceremony that was quickly annulled.
Zsa Zsa Gabor captivated the public for more than 50 years.