The Jerusalem Post
14. Glamour galore
Born Sari Gabor in Budapest on February 6, 1917, to parents of Jewish ancestry, Zsa Zsa Gabor was an actress and socialite. She began her stage career in Vienna, and in 1936 she was crowned Miss Hungary. In 1941 she immigrated to the United States. Becoming a sought-after actress with “European flair and style,” Gabor was considered to have a personality that exuded charm and grace.
On the silver screen, Gabor appeared in some two dozen films, ranging from the musical Lovely to Look At (1952); John Huston’s Moulin Rouge (1952); Vincent Minnelli’s The
Story of Three Loves (1952); Lili (1953); Death of a Scoundrel (1956) and Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (1958) to Queen of Outer Space (1958); Drop Dead Darling (1966); Every Girl Should Have One (1978) and The Naked Truth (1992). The actress also worked on the stage, performing in such plays as Blithe Spirit; Forty Carats; Bell, Book and Candle; Arsenic and Old Lace; and Ninotchka.
As a socialite and embodiment of consummate glamour, Gabor was a frequent guest on TV talk shows and entertainment specials. The hosts included Milton Berle; Bob Hope; Jack Paar; Red Skelton; Dinah Shore; Pat Boone; Johnny Carson; David Frost; Phil Donahue; Joan Rivers and David Letterman. She also appeared on the Dean Martin Roasts; Hollywood Squares; Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and It’s Gary Shandling’s Show.
In 1968 she played malevolent spa owner Minerva on the last episode of Batman, becoming the show’s final “special guest villain.” Other TV series on which Gabor played a role
included Climax; December Bride; General Electric Theater; The Life of Riley; Playhouse 90; Make Room for Daddy; Burke’s Law; Gilligan’s Island; F Troop; Bonanza; Night Gallery; The Love Boat; The Facts of Life; As the World Turns and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In 1994, Gabor was the celebrated guest on the tribute show This Is Your Life.
And what a life she had. The Hollywood icon was married nine times. She was divorced seven times and one marriage was annulled. She had one child, daughter Francesca Hilton. Gabor’s first husband was Turkish politician Burhan Asaf Belge. The second was hotel mogul Conrad Hilton. The third was actor George Sanders. The fourth was investment banker Herbert Hunter. The fifth was oil heir Joshua S. Cosden, Jr. Her sixth husband was toy designer Jack Ryan, noted for creating the Barbie doll, Hot Wheels and Chatty Cathy. Her seventh husband was divorce attorney Michael O’Hara. The eighth (the annulment) was Mexican attorney and character actor Felipe de Alba. Gabor’s last and most lasting marriage was to German-American entrepreneur Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt in 1986.
Gabor died in Los Angeles on December 18, 2016, at the age of 99, less than two months before she would have become a centenarian. Her autobiography, published in 1991, is titled One Lifetime Is Not Enough.