- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2016

Actress and social-icon Zsa Zsa Gabor died Sunday of an apparent heart attack. She was 99.

Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, the Hungarian beauty queen’s ninth husband, told Agence France-Presse while holding back sobs that Miss Gabor, who had been bedridden in recent years, died surrounded by family.

“Everybody was there. She didn’t die alone,” he told AFP by telephone.

According to celebrity-news site TMZ, which first reported the death, Miss Gabor was rushed to a hospital after the cardiac arrest, but doctors couldn’t save her.

Born Sari Gabor, she was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936 and was a stage actress in Vienna before arriving in the U.S. with her sisters Eva and Magda just as Europe was being engulfed by the war.

Her best-known film roles in the 1950s included supporting roles in “We’re Not Married” and Orson Welles’ “Touch of Evil” and as the female lead opposite Oscar-nominee Jose Ferrer in “Moulin Rouge.”

But Miss Gabor was probably best known as one of the first tabloid stars — someone “famous for being famous,” with her every personal move and romantic fling making news. She even had a signature phrase — “dahling,” in her florid Hungarian accent.

“Zsa Zsa is unique. She’s a woman from the court of Louis XV who has somehow managed to live in the 20th century, undamaged by the PTA,” wrote author Gerald Frank, who helped Miss Gabor with her 1960 autobiography.

She had nine husbands, but was still with Mr. von Anhalt more than 30 years after they were married.

Ever the saucy personality, when Miss Gabor was asked “How many husbands have you had?” she replied, “You mean other than my own?”

As for the impact of the 1960s and feminism on much-married socialites, she replied: “The women’s movement hasn’t changed my sex life. It wouldn’t dare.”

In her second autobiography, 1993’s “One Lifetime is Not Enough,” she claimed that her first sexual encounter was in 1932 with Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, when she was 15.

“For the rest of my life, I would search for another god to eclipse him,” Miss Gabor wrote.

She had one daughter, Constance Francesca Hilton, born 1947 when she was married to hotelier Conrad Hilton, making Miss Gabor technically a distant relative to Paris Hilton.

One of her splashiest tabloid appearance grew out of a 1989 traffic stop in which she slapped the face of a Beverly Hills policeman who stopped her Rolls-Royce on a traffic violation. Miss Gabor gleefully attacked the policeman’s character on TV afterward. Besides the assault on a lawman, she was convicted of driving without a license and an open-container violation.

She was sentenced to three days in jail and community service, but refused to perform the latter and so served three more days in jail.

And in a gesture that typified her insouciance, Miss Gabor made a joke of the whole thing for the opening credits of the 1991 cop-show-parody movie “The Naked Gun 2½.”

After the siren that had been making its way through a whole series of impossibly surreal events pulls over a Rolls-Royce, Miss Gabor gets out of the car and slaps the siren, saying “this happens every f–ing time when I go shopping.”

After a 2002 auto accident in which Miss Gabor (a passenger) suffered partial paralysis, Miss Gabor basically retired from the public eye. Since then, she suffered multiple strokes, had part of her leg amputated, required a feeding tube, had a hip replacement and couldn’t even attend her birthday parties.

Her husband reportedly even kept from her the news of daughter’s Francesca’s 2015 death from her, from fear she couldn’t handle it. Her last wish reportedly was to return to Hungary in time for her 100th birthday on Feb. 6 and live out her years there.


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