Zsa Zsa Gabor, dead at age 99
December 18, 2016 4:42 PM   Subscribe

The epitome of old Hollywood glamour While Gabor had multiple acting credits, her greatest performance was playing herself: She was famous for her accented English (calling everyone “darling,” which came out “dah-link”), eccentric name, offscreen antics (including a 1989 incident in which she slapped a Beverly Hills cop) and one-liners about her jewels, nine marriages and ex-husbands. Despite her glamorous image, her life, especially in later years, was marred by battles between her much-younger husband Frederic Prinz von Anhalt and her daughter.
posted by I_Love_Bananas (83 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:43 PM on December 18, 2016


:(
posted by benadryl at 4:44 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by parki at 4:44 PM on December 18, 2016


Oh, gawddammit 2016, just stop. Here's hoping that zsa zsa has the afterlife of her dreams.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:46 PM on December 18, 2016 [12 favorites]


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posted by XtinaS at 4:46 PM on December 18, 2016


99! That's a good run.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:47 PM on December 18, 2016 [26 favorites]


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posted by drezdn at 4:50 PM on December 18, 2016


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posted by Annabelle74 at 4:54 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's hard to imagine the world without her. She'd basically always been here.

I'm reminded of a TV Land promo for Green Acres: "Remember, this is Eva, not Zsa Zsa. Eva cannot harm you."

RIP beautiful, colorful woman.

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posted by hippybear at 4:59 PM on December 18, 2016 [16 favorites]


I firmly believe being a spitfire prolongs life.
posted by Grandysaur at 5:06 PM on December 18, 2016 [11 favorites]


I only new her as a Hollywood Squares fixture and her Naked Gun cameo.

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posted by furtive at 5:08 PM on December 18, 2016


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The article says she was on life support for "five years". Her daughter died in 2015, and "it's unlikely she knew of her daughter's death." What is meant be "life support" in that context? I thought that what we call life support typically means a person is not conscious. I realize that there are conscious people with machines necessary for keeping them alive (e.g. Stephen Hawking, and until he died Christopher Reeve), but we don't usually call that life support, do we?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:17 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.
I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house.
A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he's finished.
Getting divorced just because you don't love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.
I want a man who's kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?
Macho does not prove mucho.
How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?
One of my theories is that men love with their eyes; women love with their ears.
I know nothing about sex, because I was always married.
I don't remember anybody's name. How do you think the "dahling'' thing got started?


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posted by jim in austin at 5:24 PM on December 18, 2016 [48 favorites]


Oh, gawddammit 2016, just stop.

Well, we're into the Z's now so we're almost there.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:24 PM on December 18, 2016 [53 favorites]


Zsa Zsa's daughter Francesca Hilton's story.

I'd have loved to see her stand-up act.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:25 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, gawddammit 2016, just stop.
She was 99 years old! I think 2016 if off the hook for this one.
but we don't usually call that life support, do we?
They're citing TMZ, who I wouldn't exactly trust for precise medical analysis.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:25 PM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


I've always kind of loved Zsa Zsa Gabor, and frankly, I'm relieved for her.

My understanding has been that a) she's been suffering some type of dementia, and b) her husband has been making extraordinary efforts to keep her alive for as long as possible, as she lost her home some time ago, but the current owner agreed that she could stay as long as she was alive. She's had several very close calls over the years, so I don't know exactly what 'life support' would consist of in her case except that the strong impression was that it went well beyond the palliative measures that would be normal for someone in her condition.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:26 PM on December 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


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posted by Faint of Butt at 5:28 PM on December 18, 2016


She lived a long and eventful life, and I can't blame this on 2016, but still, the seemingly endless deathknells this year have so worn this world out :(

I hope her next chapter is everything she wanted and may she rest in peace.

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posted by Silverstone at 5:32 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Melismata at 5:34 PM on December 18, 2016


Aw, man. She was like...part of the landscape.

RIP, Zsa Zsa.
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on December 18, 2016


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posted by Puddle Jumper at 5:37 PM on December 18, 2016


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posted by Joey Michaels at 5:43 PM on December 18, 2016


Oh dahling, I haaf to leaf u a dot: .
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:46 PM on December 18, 2016 [15 favorites]


She's been so ill for so long. I remember her coming out of that one coma 5 years ago and being so cheerful for the press, and I'm thinking, damn, how many times is she going to be able to pull that off? All I can really feel is relief that she's not sick or suffering anymore.

Love and respect for all three sisters. (I think Eva was the only one who never married George Sanders.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:55 PM on December 18, 2016 [8 favorites]


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posted by Faintdreams at 6:00 PM on December 18, 2016


I'll just leave this here

I can't remember the publication (Spy?), but I still remember someone had subheaded the story about Rodney King / LA police brutality with "Zsa Zsa was right."
posted by Mchelly at 6:14 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


. for my eponym
posted by zsazsa at 6:22 PM on December 18, 2016 [17 favorites]


From "Zsa Zsa's daughter Francesca Hilton's story" linked above:
"Born Hans Robert Lichtenberg, a policeman’s son from Germany, her new spouse — who purported to be 27 years her junior — had been adopted as an adult by the elderly German princess Marie Auguste Von Anhalt. Now going by the title of Frederic Prinz Von Anhalt, which is his legal right ..."
That is an ultra-British burn.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:24 PM on December 18, 2016 [30 favorites]


I had a good laugh at Green Acres recently. The old guy met a man with long hair! He couldn't tell if they were a man or a woman. He was totally scandalised by this blatant flaunting of societal norms and everything American. The thing is, he didn't have long hair. He had like, A Hard Day's Night era Beatles hair. Then you remember people thought those scruffy mop tops should get a haircut.

Zsa Zsa's character was totally charmed by this wild man with the not-long hair and made him quite welcome at Green Acres despite her husbands protests.
posted by adept256 at 6:25 PM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


(adept256, that was Eva, not Zsa Zsa.)
posted by ardgedee at 6:32 PM on December 18, 2016 [8 favorites]


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Now going by the title of Frederic Prinz Von Anhalt, which is his legal right ...

Oh, he was great in Chico und der Mann.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:36 PM on December 18, 2016 [24 favorites]


Bruce Wayne: Minerva, after every visit to your spa, I always feel like a new man.
Minerva: Hm. I feel like a new man too, Bruce.


Godspeed, Zsa Zsa.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:36 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


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Yeah, you can't blame 2016 for this one. I had remembered vaguely that Zsa Zsa was in a financially motivated life-support limbo, and felt terrible for her, because she was gone. I am glad at least now that she is comfortable.

People like to trash the Kardashians as if they're some new plague, but the Gabors were in the same line of work, and they entertained, after all. Zsa Zsa put out a workout tape in her 80s. The amount of actual working out was very low, but she was a trouper.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:38 PM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


We watched a couple episodes of Mr. Ed recently, including one where Zsa Zsa moves in next door. I wikied her afterwards, such an interesting life. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it. I hope she did.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 6:38 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Thorzdad at 6:40 PM on December 18, 2016


I still marvel at the things modern day centenarians have lived through. Zsa Zsa was born in obscurity in Hungary in 1917. She very likely had no indoor plumbing or electricity and motor vehicles would certainly have been a novelty. She was kept alive by machines for the last five years of her life in an Bel Air mansion. She witnessed the start of commercial air travel, lived during 2 world wars, countless redrawing of political maps, the rise and fall of communism, the rise and fall of the USA, the moon landing, the discovery of planets, the discovery of exoplanets, the atomic bomb, the space shuttle, the discovery of DNA, the structure of the atom, the development of radio, then TV, then the Internet, then satellite communications, Benny Goodman, Chuck Berry, Elvis, the Beatles, the Velvet Underground, the Sex Pistols, Bowie, Prince, Daft Punk and Lady Gaga, Martin Luther King, the end of Apartheid, the discovery of Australopithecus afarensis, the invention of antibiotics, widespread vaccination, heart transplants, statins, and last but not least, the Cubs winning the World Series.

I am not qualified to say whether there has been a more eventful century of human history, but this is the first human century where most people, in most corners of the globe, had knowledge of all of the above things happening. I'm amazed all of these people's heads didn't explode.

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posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:54 PM on December 18, 2016 [42 favorites]


Oh, gawddammit 2016, just stop.

She was 99 years old! I think 2016 if off the hook for this one.


I like to think she could have made 100 without the curse year.
posted by Artw at 7:00 PM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


. dahlink
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 7:03 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by ZeusHumms at 7:10 PM on December 18, 2016


💎
posted by radwolf76 at 7:20 PM on December 18, 2016 [8 favorites]


I mean, she was born Jewish in Hungary in 1917. She defied some pretty long odds just by making it to 30, let alone 99.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:23 PM on December 18, 2016 [29 favorites]


(adept256, that was Eva, not Zsa Zsa.)

Eva cannot harm you.
posted by hippybear at 7:27 PM on December 18, 2016 [7 favorites]


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Zsa Zsa was born in Hungary in 1917.

Which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time - to put things in perspective a bit. To me that's just amazing.
posted by bigendian at 7:33 PM on December 18, 2016 [15 favorites]


Zsa Zsa was born in obscurity in Hungary in 1917.

No, not just Hungary—the Austro-Hungarian Empire! Admittedly, it wouldn't remain so for much longer after her birth, but still! What a crazy run of history to have lived through.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 7:34 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Haha, bigendian beat me to it
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 7:35 PM on December 18, 2016


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This makes me sad, as "Zsa Zsa" is/was my nephew's name for my mother. (Still with us, but for how long, you know?) He arrived at it independently as a piece of babyhood gibberish, and she always got a kick out of its other association.
posted by Captain l'escalier at 7:41 PM on December 18, 2016


💍💍💍💍💍💍💍💍💍
posted by mynameisluka at 7:48 PM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


Shortly after she slapped the policeman, the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade included a batallion of synchronized Zsa Zsas and cops pantomining the incident and subsequent arrest. It was hilarious.

Around the same time, a friend of mine was working as a gopher on the set of a talk show. Due to some sort of transportation snafu, he wound up having to give Zsa Zsa a ride somewhere in his personal vehicle: a VW Rabbit. My friend was worried about it and rushed to get the car washed and clean it out. But all was well; Zsa Zsa took it in stride and asked a lot of questions about the car ("What kind of vehicle is this, darling?") and pronounced it "cute." Her last words to him were "Rabbit. I must remember that. Rabbit."

Rest in Peace.
posted by carmicha at 7:52 PM on December 18, 2016 [17 favorites]


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posted by get off of my cloud at 7:55 PM on December 18, 2016


Has no else said, "Free Zsa Zsa, or at least make her less expensive"? I'll admit that I have no idea where that comes from. But it made the rounds in the early 1990s.
posted by mollweide at 7:56 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


The great cull of 2016 continues.

. Dahling
posted by Sphinx at 8:03 PM on December 18, 2016


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posted by oneironaut at 8:05 PM on December 18, 2016


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posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:06 PM on December 18, 2016


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I wondered if any of her films were online and found Queen of Outer Space (1958; 80mins.), in which she has a great deal of screen time. It currently has a 4.5/10 rating at IMDb, and to put it into context (because it has so many issues it's hard to see this now), it was apparently intended as a sort of satire or spoof. Its production involved both a Three Stooges director and a Three Stooges writer, plus some costumes borrowed from Forbidden Planet and some other costumes that may have been inspirational for Star Trek. But in all her scenes, Gabor aims at glamour--or better yet, grandeur. So if you're looking for something essentially about her being a star, that's one sense in which it works.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:23 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am not qualified to say whether there has been a more eventful century of human history, but this is the first human century where most people, in most corners of the globe, had knowledge of all of the above things happening. I'm amazed all of these people's heads didn't explode.

I know, right? Not to sound all Alvin Toffler-y, but I would think that the shock of modernity was just overwhelming to people. The 20th century was an awful lot of shit to process.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:26 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


She witnessed... the end of Apartheid

Just for the record, both the beginning and end, as the policy of Apartheid was proclaimed in 1948 after a sudden political reconfiguration.

. for Zsa Zsa
posted by XMLicious at 8:45 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by evilDoug at 8:50 PM on December 18, 2016


She witnessed

The birth and death of Abe Vigoda.

(well, I guess she didn't witness them)
posted by dirigibleman at 9:28 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by Ber at 9:32 PM on December 18, 2016


That would be creepy if she had, really.
posted by hippybear at 9:33 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jeezus, 5 years on life support, so floridly demented that her husband wouldn't let people see her on her birthday, feeding tube in.... dying old and rich sucks.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 10:29 PM on December 18, 2016


Famous for being famous and dying somewhat infamously, yes, dahlink? Well it's too bad you had to go out that way but you sure were a lot of fun to side-eye over the years. RIP.
posted by Lynsey at 10:34 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Slapping the cop has to have been one of the last great expressions of old Hollywood.

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posted by rhizome at 10:49 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hate to be a downer here, but I have it on good authority that Zsa Zsa engaged in criminal activity back in the fifties. For the sake of balancing the record, here's the story. (In song from former Minneapolis singer Lori Wray)

Zsa Zsa Stole the Apple
posted by gusottertrout at 1:26 AM on December 19, 2016


hippybear: "That would be creepy if she had, really."

The Rule #34 is strong with this one.
posted by chavenet at 2:03 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


A favorite Green Acres moment: Oliver is once again frustrated by his wife's inability to cook and asks, "what are you good for?"

Without missing a beat Eva smiled brightly. "I can do a very good Zsa Zsa Gabor imitation!"

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posted by kinnakeet at 3:07 AM on December 19, 2016 [16 favorites]


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posted by Ms. Moonlight at 3:14 AM on December 19, 2016


Sad. Sorry to see her go. I did not know that Eva had passed a good while ago.

I was told a story, decades ago, about the Gabors. I was told that they left Europe with their family fortune converted to strings of pearls. The pearls were ladden about the necks of their then-young daughters. No one imagined the girls were wearing real pearls. I can't find any account of that story in a couple minutes of googling.

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posted by Goofyy at 4:20 AM on December 19, 2016


I think they left separately and through different routes: first Eva, then Zsa Zsa, then Magda and their mother. They were all adults, and Magda secured visas to Portugal for her and her mother because she was having an affair with a Portuguese diplomat. I'm sure they had lots of jewelry: their mother came from a family of jewelers and was a fairly successful jeweler herself. But I suspect that story is exaggerated and/or not true in the specifics.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:51 AM on December 19, 2016


O.G. Kardashian. If Kanye doesn't pour a 40 on her grave, there is no poetic justice in this world.
posted by briank at 5:35 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought the pearls/jewels were sewn into the hems of the girls' clothing.
posted by carmicha at 6:13 AM on December 19, 2016


💎
posted by jet_pack_in_a_can at 6:22 AM on December 19, 2016


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And one for my childhood which also, verily, died long ago.

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posted by allthinky at 6:56 AM on December 19, 2016


nyugodjék békében, Zsa Zsa.
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posted by Sophie1 at 7:10 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Forbes, of all places, has a very nice appreciation of Zsa Zsa here, by someone who's mother remembers skating with her when they were girls.
posted by carmicha at 7:14 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bruce Wayne: Minerva, after every visit to your spa, I always feel like a new man.
Minerva: Hm. I feel like a new man too, Bruce
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Heh. My late aunt and I always used to do a variation on that gag.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:22 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by blurker at 7:23 AM on December 19, 2016


I'm young enough that I remember her mostly as a punchline, an old woman with an accent who slapped a cop once.

In a weird sort of way that's a measure of success. Certainly no one will remember me, whether seriously or as a punchline, when I'm 99.
posted by sotonohito at 7:49 AM on December 19, 2016


"Man can resist anything but temptation"
💍
posted by sexyrobot at 9:52 AM on December 19, 2016


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Dahlink, fuck 2016.
posted by ocschwar at 11:55 AM on December 19, 2016


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posted by luckynerd at 7:12 PM on December 19, 2016


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posted by bjgeiger at 8:14 PM on December 20, 2016


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