Fa­mously fa­mous star Zsa Zsa dies at 99

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Los Angeles

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.

JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Zsa Zsa Ga­bor cap­ti­vated the pub­lic for more than 50 years.

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