Zsa Zsa Gabor, Last of The Gabor Sisters, Is Dead at 99

Obituaries   Zsa Zsa Gabor, Last of The Gabor Sisters, Is Dead at 99 The Hungarian actor was known for her film and TV work as well as her numerous marriages.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor, who emigrated to the United States on the eve of World War II with her mother and two sisters—Magda, who acted on radio, and Eva, who became known for her work on TV's Green Acres—died December 18 of heart failure at the age of 99, according to the New York Times.

Married a minimum of eight times (some publications list the total at nine), Ms. Gabor became known as much for her glamour and her marriages as she was for her acting career, which began in Vienna after she was named Miss Hungary in 1936.

Her first work in the States came in 1951 in the TV series This Is Show Business followed by the 1952 film Lovely to Look At. Among her more notable film credits were Moulin Rouge (1952), Lili (1953), Touch of Evil (1958), and Queen of Outer Space (1958). Ms. Gabor, who was well known for her pronunciation of the word darling (“dah-link”), also appeared on a slew of game shows, comedy specials, talk shows, and episodic dramas. Her lengthy list of credits include such TV favorites as Cybill, Empty Nest, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Knots Landing, The Facts of Life, The Love Boat, Batman, Bonanza, F Troop, Gilligan's Island, Mr. Ed, Make Room for Daddy, The Life of Riley, As the World Turns, and her last screen credit, the 1996 film A Very Brady Sequel.

In 1958 the Golden Globes recognized Ms. Gabor as “the most glamorous actress.” Her other honors included a Lifetime Achievement Diamond Award (CineRockom International Film Festival, 2015), an Emmy nomination (Most Outstanding Female Personality, 1952), and a Star on the Walk of Fame in 1960.

Ms. Gabor had one Broadway credit, replacing multiple Tony winner Julie Harris in the role of Ann Stanley in the original comedy Forty Carats, which was directed by Abe Burrows and played the Morosco Theatre December 1968-November 1970.

She is mentioned in a Yip Harburg lyric in the musical Finian’s Rainbow, currently being revived Off-Broadway. In the song “If This Isn’t Love,” Sharon sings, ”If this isn't love there's no Glocca Morra/ If this isn't love I'm Zsa Zsa Gabor-a....”

Her name pops up as a punchline in several other musicals of the 1940s-1960s, including this lyric by Carolyn Leigh in Little Me: “Stack me up with all three Gabors. I'll reduce them to cut-rate stores.” And this one, by Oscar Hammerstein II in the song “Chop Suey” from Flower Drum Song: “Hula hoops and nuclear war/ Dr. Salk and Zsa Zsa Gabor....”

Born Sari Gabor in February 1917 in Budapest, she was first married to Turkish diplomat Burhan Belge in 1937. Her next marriage, in 1942 to Conrad Hilton, produced her only child, Francesca Hilton, also an actor, who predeceased Ms. Gabor in 2015. Her final marriage, in 1986, was to Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, the Duke of Saxony.

In addition to running a mail-order cosmetics firm, Ms. Gabor penned four books, including How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man in 1970.

In her later years Ms. Gabor was among those swindled by Bernard L. Madoff, losing a minimum of $7 million in his Ponzi scheme; was sentenced to 72 hours in jail for slapping a police man; and suffered many health problems, including head and other injuries following a 2002 car accident, a stroke in 2005, and hip-replacement surgery in 2010. The New York Post reports that Ms. Gabor had been on life support for the past five years.

She is survived by her last husband, Mr. Prinz von Anhalt.