The life story Zsa Zsa Gabor

The American actress of Hungarian origin, who passed away on December 18, 2016, at the age of 99, was better known for her nine marriages and countless lovers than for her film career …

This is the life story of Zsa Zsa Gabor!

Earlier years

No man I was in a relationship with resented me so much that I would return the diamonds he gave me – she stated many times, and she followed that principle all her life.

Although she has acted in about fifty films and performed countless times on various television shows, Zsa Gabor will be remembered by the world for her turbulent life, nine marriages and hundreds of spicy relationships that she never hid.

– Marriage should be based on the principle of fifty-fifty. A man must be at least fifty years old and at least fifty million dollars – she said.

Although the data about her birth differ, it seems that the most reliable is the one according to whom she was born on February 6, 1917, in Budapest, as Sara Gabor. She was the second of three daughters of military officer Vilmos Gabor and housewife Joli Gabor.

Her sisters, older Magda and younger Eva, were extremely attached to Zsa from an early age, and all of them were kept under watchful eye by their mother, who, not realizing her dreams of becoming an actress, decided to realize her ambitions through her daughters.

The Gabor family was very wealthy: they lived in a luxurious villa in Budapest, which was taken care of by seventeen members of the service. All the daughters attended expensive private schools, first in Hungary, then in Switzerland, and Zsa also studied at the Vienna Conservatory for a year. Joli Gabor, who, when her daughter became famous in Hollywood, wrote her autobiography, did not hide how she set high goals for her children.

– They had to learn that it is not enough to be just beautiful. They had to be the most beautiful and behave like ladies – she revealed.

Beauty is the key to success

While they were still girls, their mother instilled in them the belief that appearance and beauty are the greatest trump cards for a woman, so at the age of thirteen, Zsa decided to “cash in” on her appearance. She applied for the Miss Hungary pageant and won. In her biography “One life is not enough”, which she published in the 1960s, she admitted:

– I wore the crown for only five minutes, and then the jury found out how old I was, so they drove me home.

But winning that competition only strengthened her belief that her mother was right: beauty is the key to success. A combination of bizarre circumstances pushed her into her first real adventure only six years later: on her way back from school, she found an abandoned Scottish Terrier puppy and brought it home. The father, a great lover of horses, did not allow his daughter to keep the newest dog (they already had thirteen), so Zsa came up with a saving idea: she will get married, and so no one will be able to forbid her to keep the dog. She invited a friend of her father, Turkish cultural attaché, Burhan Belge, and proposed to him.

Namely, a Turkish diplomat told her during a dinner at their house that one day he would certainly propose to her. Burhan agreed to her proposal.

The father was shocked, but the mother managed to soften him, claiming that the political situation in Europe was tense and that it would not be bad to have good diplomatic relations. They were married in early 1937, just before Zsa celebrated her twentieth birthday.

– I didn’t think at all that Burhan was twenty-eight years older than me, the only thing that mattered to me was that I could keep the dog. But my husband didn’t like the dog, and he especially didn’t like sleeping with me in bed. Turks prefer cats. That’s why we never even consummated marriage. Honestly, my husband treated me like an uncle: he made sure I went to class, I went to the dentist, I behaved politely. He was a smart man and I learned a lot from him – she once admitted.

After arriving in Ankara, Zsa fell in love with Turkey and learned her husband’s language well. But, as she herself discovered, it was much more important to her that she met many interesting men. One of them was Kemal Ataturk, the father of the modern Turkish state. And the striking mustachioed Turk was known for his passion for beautiful and very young girls.

– I don’t even know how it happened, but Kemal very quickly started to attract me irresistibly. Honestly, he impressed me with his sexual skills and seduced me with perversions – she wrote in her book.

Hike to America

World War II was at the door, times were hard, the uncertainty due to the threatening conflicts became more and more difficult to bear, so Zsa followed in the footsteps of her younger sister Eva, who moved to California in 1939 with her husband, a Swedish doctor. Eva, like her sisters, dreamed of one day becoming an actress. However, although she tried, she never managed to go beyond a few modest B-productions in which she uttered only a few words.

Zsa, however, she had a stronger will and greater perseverance. In early 1941, she arrived in the United States, using the benefits of a diplomatic passport. The wife, without hesitation, left in Ankara and immediately initiated a divorce lawsuit.

The Hollywood social scene was a paradise for her: everything was full of millionaires who besieged a beautiful young Hungarian woman. She, of course, did not resist, and she mastered the operations of addition and multiplication to perfection in a record short time.

“I adore men, but only those with fifty cards,” she said.

And there were plenty of them, and she didn’t waste time on them. In mid-1941, she became the mistress of Conrad Hilton, a Texas multimillionaire and owner of the Hilton hotel chain.

– I proposed to him in early 1942 and he immediately agreed. It is not good to allow men to make their own decisions, because then it takes too long – she admitted in her book.

In a marriage that lasted less than six years, Zsa gave birth to her only child, daughter Francesca, on March 10, 1947, although she did not fail to write in her book that her daughter was “the result of rape in a dying marriage.”

Realizing that she had received as much from Hilton as she had planned, she filed for divorce and at the end of 1947, became a free woman again.

“Divorcing someone just because you don’t love them anymore is just as stupid as marrying someone just because you love them,” she said after the lawsuit ended.

With the impressive millions of dollars she deftly secured by divorce, she withdrew her parents and sister, believing that, after the end of World War II, they would be better off in America than in communist Hungary.

Although her parents divorced in 1939, they reluctantly accepted their daughter’s invitation and, after spending the most turbulent period of the war in Portugal, moved to California. Zsa Zse Gabor’s mother flourished: she was finally given the opportunity to become an actress – or so it seemed to her.

However, in the competition of beautiful young girls from all over the world, her wish did not come true. That is why, over time, she proved to be a very successful entrepreneur, opening two exclusive jewelry stores – one in the fashionable Madison Avenue in New York, and the other in Palm Beach.

She also managed to get married and divorced twice, but she was not evened up to her daughters.

An army of lovers

Older sister Magda, the only one without acting ambitions, wasted no time, which in the case of the Gabor sisters primarily means finding a sufficiently “quality” husband. Zsa helped her wholeheartedly! In addition to introducing her to the circle of film directors and producers, she introduced her to many other important people of the film capital, so Magda soon married screenwriter William Rankin. Their marriage, admittedly, did not last longer than a few months, but Magda, of course, profited financially from that marriage. The other, the one with actor George Sanders, was even shorter, but also more shocking. Namely, when Magda divorced Sanders after only six weeks of marriage, she began a relationship with him – Zsa.

The famous Hungarian woman also proposed to him, although at the time when their relationship began, she had other men, which was not unknown to anyone, not even Sanders.

Zsa Gabor and George Sanders were married in 1949, at a time when she was still waiting for her first real opportunity in the film. Although many still believe that the mischievous Hungarian did not leave behind any significant acting trace, her charm, beauty and, above all, with, for which she became famous in Hollywood, enabled her acting career. She was first noticed in 1951, when she appeared on the TV show “Bachelor’s Heaven”, appearing in the studio in a beautiful “Balenciaga” black dress, with an expensive diamond necklace and a ring.

With this performance, she fascinated the audience, but also all those behind the cameras: in just a few days she received an offer for a permanent engagement of five years, and immediately afterwards her first film role – in the musical “Lovely To Look At” (1952).

There was so much interest in her and her younger sister that both beautiful Hungarian women, in a period of only a few months, appeared on the covers of the then influential and high-circulation magazine “Life”.

– They were beautiful as a sin – admitted the popular American TV presenter Marv Griffin, who often hosted both sisters in his shows. After several of her performances, he even started a relationship with Eva that lasted for a full twelve years, and Zsa, although already in her third marriage, used her growing popularity to reach more and more influential men who, which she never tried to disguise, irresistibly attracted.

She did not care about some basic civil norms then, and never after, so she was in a short-term relationship with the son of her second husband, Nikki Hilton, who was suffering severely at the time due to the divorce from Elizabeth Taylor. “Short, but sweet,” she spent some time with John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the future US president, who was a senator at the time and known to everyone as a person who is unable to resist a beautiful woman.

Apart from a few meetings with Charlie Chaplin, (See, also: Motivational speech by Charlie Chaplin) which he seems to remember much better than she did, Zsa was also in a short-term relationship with Porphyry Rubiros from the Dominican Republic, probably the most famous playboy of all time. As her marriage to George Sanders was dying out in early 1954, Rubirosa wanted to marry her at all costs, but she refused. Rubirosa was attractive, he broke women’s hearts with ease, but he also had a big flaw – his bank account was not fascinating. True, that was only one, but crucial, reason. The other, a film career, was becoming increasingly important. In John Houston’s film, “Moulin Rouge”, which was shot by Zsa in 1952, the famous director struggled as he explained to his actress how to play a scene. And when he failed to do so even after several dozen attempts, he lost his patience and said:

– Zsa, forget acting! Just go to the camera, swing your Hungarian ass and look like you want to make love.

Zsa Gabor she immediately understood and Houston had no more problems with her until the end of filming. She did not suppress her unrestrained sexuality, passion for seduction and undeniable attraction even when the cameras went off, but she was realistic enough to understand that acting is not a calling in which all the splendor of her talent for enjoying life will come to the fore.

Although she made 44 more films until her complete withdrawal from the big screen, she knew that this world was just an environment in which she could perfectly realize her hedonistic instincts, and she never made a mystery out of it. The roles, among which all critics point out the one in the film “Queen Of Outer Space” (1958), otherwise mentioned as the worst film of all time, still brought her enough of her own money that allowed her to live as she was accustomed to a child.

– All I expect from a man is to be careful and full of understanding. Is it too much to ask from a millionaire?

After the breakup of her marriage with Sanders, she continued her turbulent relationship at a speed that even the tabloids could hardly follow. But there were also somewhat longer-lasting – counting in weeks, of course – idylls with singer Frank Sinatra and actors Tyrone Power and Glenn Ford, followed by a fourth marriage.

It was Herbert Hatner, a financial adviser and, of course, a multimillionaire, when she married in 1964 and divorced in 1966. Not even a month after the divorce, she met a new millionaire – oil magnate Joshua Kosden, when she immediately proposed. The wedding was glamorous, like everything before, but the marriage was short-lived, like all the previous ones. They divorced in 1967, and Zsa did not use the opportunity that the American legal system provides for women, even when there are no children in the marriage: the right to alimony.

– I do not charge for my services, I have enough – she told reporters.

A woman must continue to marry until she finds true love!

Nevertheless, she came out of all marriages much richer than she entered them: she quenched her thirst for expensive jewelry, luxurious houses and valuable land by receiving gifts from her husbands and lovers. Especially gallant was Herbert Hatner, who, just for her birthday, gave her a ring worth three million dollars, and a little later, the latest model of Rolls-Royce, the only car she recognized.

Although she has made at least one film a year, there are few who have remembered any of her roles. But, that is why her appearances in various television shows are remembered. Her with often left the hosts surprised, which the audience adored. Jack Parr and Johnny Carson, the most popular TV presenters of the 1960s and 1970s, invited her to their shows many times, sure that the ratings on those occasions would be significantly higher than the average. When, for example, Carson once asked her why she was so quick in her wedding decisions, she calmly replied:

– A woman must marry for love and continue to marry until he finds her.

Thus, in search of love, she married for the sixth time in 1975. Her chosen one was Jack Ryan, one of the creators of the Barbie doll and, of course, reasonably rich. Although she tried to make her latest marriage last, it didn’t happen.

“Men are like fire, if you don’t maintain it, it goes out immediately,” she said only a year later, when Jack filed for divorce due to his wife’s new extramarital affairs.

But Zsa Gabor did not lose heart. Only a few months later, she met one of the richest American lawyers of that time, Michael O’Hara, whom she married in 1977.

– He is unique in that he tried to resist, and that was especially sexy for me, but in the end we parted with bitterness. With all my ex-husbands, I stayed on good terms except with Michael. I’m not angry with him, but after the divorce we didn’t say a word – she admitted later.

After the seventh divorce (1982), Zsa found herself in the role of a young woman again, only a month later, at the age of sixty-five. Her chosen one was the Mexican actor Felipe de Alba, and the ceremony was held on the ship, where they were married by the captain.

But, as the divorce from O’Hare was not yet final at that time, and the ceremony was not held in international waters – which, according to American regulations, is a condition for the validity of a marriage concluded at sea – that wedding was annulled.

In June 1989, Zsa Gabor also spent three days in prison. Namely, when a traffic policeman stopped her and reprimanded her for speeding, the actress’s temperamental Hungarian blood boiled in her and she slapped him.

As the physical attack on an official in the USA is severely sanctioned, not all the connections she used helped her. The tabloids appeared the next day with photos of her, in which, like the most vicious criminals, she holds in front of her a plaque with the number under which her offense was entered in the annals of the American judiciary.

Last marriage

It seems that Zsa Gabor, in a tireless search for a worthy husband, in 1986, just entering her seventh decade, found the right one. That is when she married Prince Frederick von Anhalt, with whom she remained married for the rest of her life.

This striking German, born in 1933 as Hans Robert Lichtenberg, was the child of a modest Munich policeman, until he was adopted in 1980 by Princess Marie Augusta von Anhalt (1898-1983). An article published on a German website, immediately after its adoption, showed that the whole story was conceived by the former honorary consul of Bolivia in Germany, Hans Hermann Weyer, who specialized in the trade of noble titles, honorary doctorates and various decorations. Descendants of former aristocratic German families thus obtained significant tax relief, and in return, ceded their noble titles to the adopters.

The fact that Zsa stayed the longest in her ninth (legally eighth) marriage – having in mind her standards – only seemingly gave the impression that the famous Hungarian finally found the love of her life. Insiders claim that “indestructible Zsa” completely lost the ground under her feet, since her sister Eva died in 1995, and in 1997, only two months apart, her mother and another sister. Their connection, obsessive fear of age and loss of beauty, and then the stroke she suffered in 2007, left a mark that no marriage, not even countless millions of dollars, could erase.

And after the stroke, everything went even worse, and it can be freely said that Zsa spent the last decade of her life tied to the bed.

Her only child, Francesca (who passed away in 2015), even fought a court battle with her stepfather over custody of her mother, believing that Frederick did not provide her with adequate care. She lost the lawsuit, although under Von Anhalt’s supervision, Zsa broke her hip, suffered from numerous infections, had her leg amputated, had breathing problems and, finally, on December 18, 2016, died of heart failure.




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