Hungarian actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is the prototypical "professional celebrity": famous merely for being famous. She started her stage career in 1933 and three years later won the title of Miss Hungary. She followed her sister Eva to America in 1941, but unlike Eva, did not devote herself to acting. Rather, she inaugurated her lifelong career of collecting jewelry, husbands, and front-page publicity. Among her many spouses were actor George Sanders (who much later in life would marry her sister Magda) and hotel magnate Conrad Hilton. Gabor also made a few movies. She actually came close to a performance in Moulin Rouge (1952), but the bulk of her cinematic achievements were along the lines of The Girl in the Kremlin (1957) -- in which her head was shaved -- and the imperishable Queen of Outer Space (1958). Operating on the theory that any publicity is good publicity, Gabor mostly kept herself in the public eye through a series of contretemps with the law. She was once arrested and fined for using profanity in public; she was sued by a "fantasy" theme park thanks to her cavalier attitude toward written contracts; and, in 1990, she provided a cornucopia of material for innumerable nightclub comics by slapping a traffic cop who had given her a speeding ticket (an act which she herself capitalized upon with cameo roles in The Naked Gun 2 1/2  and The Beverly Hillbillies ). Gabor also joined the ranks of the politically incorrect for flaunting her many animal-fur coats and for refusing to appear in a nightclub when wheelchair-bound patrons threatened to impede her performance. In 2005, she filed a lawsuit against her daughter Francesca, claiming that she forged her signature to get a loan based on the value of her mother's home, but the case was thrown out of court. In the following years, Gabor experienced health problems, including a stroke, and a number of surgeries related to the incident. Gabor died in 2016, at age 99.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Changed name to Zsa Zsa as a child when she couldn't properly pronounce her given name, Sari. Disqualified after winning the Miss Hungary beauty pageant in 1936 for lying about her age. Marriage at sea to Mexican attorney Felipe de Alba was annulled after one day when the dissolution of prior marriage to Michael O'Hara was not properly finalized. In 1989, slapped a Beverly Hills police officer and accused him of speaking rudely when he stopped her for a traffic violation; she was found guilty and sentenced to three days in jail. In 1993, a jury awarded Elke Sommer $2 million for unfounded slanderous allegations by Gabor and ninth husband Frederic von Anhalt.