Undoubtedly the woman who had come to epitomize what we recognize today as “celebrity”, Zsa Zsa Gabor, is better known for her many marriages, personal appearances, her “dahlink” catchphrase, her actions, life gossip, and quotations on men, rather than her film career.
Zsa Zsa Gabor was born Sári Gabor in Budapest, Hungary, to Jolie Gabor (née Janka Tilleman) and Vilmos Gabor (born Farkas Miklós Grün), a soldier. She was named after Hungarian actress Sári Fedák. Her siblings were Eva Gabor, an actress, and Magda Gabor, a socialite. Her parents were both from Jewish families. Zsa Zsa studied at a Swiss boarding school in the 1930s, and eventually followed her sister Eva to Hollywood, California. Her mother escaped from Nazi-occupied Budapest in the 1940s, also settling in the U.S.
A radiant, beautiful blonde, Zsa Zsa began appearing on television series and doing odd movies. Her first film was at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Lovely to Look At (1952), co-starring Kathryn Grayson and Red Skelton. She next made a comedy called We’re Not Married! (1952) at 20th Century Fox, with Ginger Rogers. It was far from a star billing for Zsa Zsa, appearing several names down the cast list as a supporting actress. However, it was in 1952 that saw her break into movies big time occurred, with her starring role opposite José Ferrer in Moulin Rouge (1952), although it has been said that she was given a very hard time throughout the filming by director John Huston.
In the following years, Zsa Zsa slipped back into supporting roles in films such as Lili (1953) and 3 Ring Circus (1954). Her main period of film work was in the 1950s, with other roles in Death of a Scoundrel (1956), with Yvonne De Carlo, and The Man Who Wouldn’t Talk (1958) with Anna Neagle. Again, these were supporting roles. By the 1960s, Zsa Zsa was appearing more as herself in the movies. She now appeared to follow her own persona around, and cameo appearances were the order of the day in films such as Pepe (1960) and Jack of Diamonds (1967). This has continued throughout the 1970s decade.
She was memorable as herself in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991), in which she humorously poked fun at an incident. Wednesday, June 14th, 1989, her fame immediately increased, as a criminal, when she was convicted of slapping a police officer (Paul Kramer) during a traffic dispute, when she did not know her license tag was expired & spent three days in jail and had to do 120 hours of community services after her three days in jail expired. Such infamous incidents contributed to her becoming one of the most all-time recognizable of Hollywood celebrities, and sometimes ridiculed as a result. She was also memorable to British television viewers on The Ruby Wax Show (1997).
In 2002, Gabor was reported to be in a coma in a Los Angeles hospital after a horrifying car accident. The 85-year-old star was injured when the car she was traveling in hit a utility pole in West Hollywood, California. The reports about her coma, eventually proved to be inaccurate.
Zsa Zsa’s life, spanning two continents, nine husbands, and eleven decades, came to an end on December 18, 2016, when she died of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, California. She was 99.