Zsa Zsa Gabor, who parlayed beauty, diamond-studded glamour and nine marriages into a long celebrity career, has died. She was 99.
Edward Lozzi, who was a longtime publicist for Gabor, said the Hungarian-born actress passed away at her Los Angeles home after years of decline and illness.
Her husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, said she died of a heart attack.
“Everything was fine, then suddenly her hands went cold,” he said.
“We tried everything, but her heart just stopped and that was it.”
Gabor, by most accounts, had a personality that generally outshone her acting skills. Her bubbly demeanour and looks helped land her a string of wealthy husbands. She had a penchant for calling everyone “dah-ling” in her thick Hungarian accent. Along with her two sisters, Eva and Magda, she became a fixture on Hollywood’s social circuit in her prime.
She was once branded “the most expensive courtesan since Madame de Pompadour,” but Gabor insisted that only her marriage to husband No.2, hotel mogul Conrad Hilton, was financially motivated.
In fact, marriage could have been the Gabor family business and Zsa Zsa, the company’s CEO. Her nine marriages topped the five by Eva, who starred in the 1960s sitcom Green Acres, and the six of Magda, whose Hollywood career was mostly based on being the third Gabor sister.
While her acting skills were rarely lauded, Gabor carved out a career in her early days in Hollywood. Her finest film roles came with Moulin Rouge, where she earned good reviews, in 1952 and Lili in 1953.
She appeared in more than 30 movies and by the 1970s she began to reject smaller roles, saying: “I may be a character but I do not want to be a character actress.”
Gabor eventually ended up in low-budget films with such titles as Queen of Outer Space and Picture Mommy Dead.
Greater success came with TV appearances where she disclosed she called everyone “dah-ling” because she could not remember names well, and she relied on self-parodying jokes based on her marriages, haughty demeanour and taste for opulence.
“I am a marvellous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house,” she was quoted as saying.
In the final episode of the 1960s television series Batman, Gabor played the guest villainess, Minerva, who used hair dryers to steal information from men’s brains.