Zsa Zsa Gabor Dead at 99
Ailing actress Zsa Zsa Gabor has died at the age of 99.
The Hungarian-born socialite, who had been battling ill health for several years, passed away on Sunday after suffering a heart attack, according to TMZ.
The star, real name Sari Gabor, began her career in the 1930s when she was discovered by tenor Richard Tauber during a trip to Vienna, Austria. The meeting led to her stage debut after Tauber invited her to sing in his operetta, Der Singende Traum (The Singing Dream), but it wasn’t until the 1950s that Gabor found fame as an actress.
She landed her Hollywood debut in 1952 with Lovely To Look At and the comedy We’re Not Married! with Ginger Rogers, before scoring her big break with a starring role opposite Jose Ferrer in director John Huston’s Moulin Rouge.
Gabor went on to star in supporting roles in movies such as Death of a Scoundrel (1956) and The Man Who Wouldn’t Talk (1958), as well as a host of TV shows including The Life of Riley (1957), Gilligan’s Island (1965), and as a cast member on As the World Turns in 1981.
She later became more well known for her quirky off-screen persona and her “dahlink” catchphrase than her acting career. She poked fun at herself in 1991 comedy The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear and The Beverly Hillbillies in 1993, in which she joked about her 1990 conviction for slapping a police officer following a traffic stop. In addition, Gabor laughed off the incident during a guest appearance in Will Smith’s 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Gabor was also famous for her tumultuous love life – she was married nine times, with seven ending in divorce and one union annulled.
One of her more famous spouses was Conrad Hilton – great-grandfather of socialites Paris and Nicky Hilton – who she wed in 1942. Gabor gave birth to her only child, daughter Constance Francesca Hilton, in 1947, but in her 1991 memoir One Lifetime Is Not Enough, the actress claimed the baby had been conceived after she was allegedly raped by the hotel tycoon.
Her other husbands included British actor George Sanders, designer Jack Ryan, the creator of the popular Barbie doll, and her ninth partner, widower Frederic Prinz von Anhalt. Her marriage to German-born von Anhalt was her longest – the pair wed in 1986.
Gabor’s bond with her daughter also hit headlines – she sued Hilton for larceny and fraud in 2005 after accusing her of forging her signature to secure a $2 million loan on her Bel Air, Los Angeles mansion. The case was thrown out after Gabor refused to appear in court and the mother and daughter subsequently patched up their relationship, although Constance fell out with von Anhalt as the star’s health deteriorated in her final years.
The actress was left partially paralyzed after a horrific car accident in 2002. Her physical condition further declined in 2005 when Gabor suffered a massive stroke, and she underwent two operations in 2007 to deal with problems stemming from the brain aneurysm.
Her health issues worsened in July of 2010 when she broke her hip in a fall at her Bel Air home, an accident she never fully recovered from, and she had half of her right leg amputated in January, 2011 after a gangrene infection spread to her bone.
She sought treatment for severe pneumonia-related symptoms in May, 2011, and was later forced to undergo emergency stomach surgery to treat an infection caused by a feeding tube.
However, she continued fighting for years and vowed to bounce back after her last hospitalization in February, when she was treated for breathing difficulties just two days after celebrating her 99th birthday.
Gabor is survived by von Anhalt, her ninth husband.