Zsa Zsa Gabor lived a lavish lifestyle, coming from a wealthy family and becoming a famous Hollywood star. However, her life was plagued with drama until her last few years locked up in her mansion.
Born in February 1917, Zsa Zsa Gabor was born into a wealthy Hungarian family headed by her father, Vilmos Gabor, and mother, Jolie Gabor. But with the rise of World War II, she and her sisters, Eva and Magda, sought refuge in the US.
She also left behind her first husband, a Turkish diplomat, whom she tied the knot with at 15 years old. Her move to the USmade Gabor a Hollywood icon, living lavishly until she was laid to rest.
Zsa Zsa Gabor in her Bel-Air mansion in 1992 | Photo: Getty Images
GABOR'S NINE MARRIAGES
Following her first marriage, Gabor walked down the aisle eight more times with several high-profile men, including Barbie inventor Jack Ryan, actor George Sanders, oil heir Joshua Cosden, and hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, with whom she shares one daughter, Francesca Hilton.
Famous for his flamboyant lifestyle, von Anhalt, 27 years Gabor's junior, made headlines several times. He was famously known for clashing with the actress' daughter and being with Gabor throughout her last years, plagued with drama and a series of unfortunate events.
After years as a Hollywood it-girl, Gabor's health began to decline. In 2002, at 85, the "Moulin Rouge" star was involved in a severe vehicular accident that left her partially paralyzed. She was left handicapped and unable to walk, needing the help of a wheelchair to get by.
Three years later, Gabor suffered a stroke, and in 2010, she broke her right hip from a tragic fall in her Bel-Air home. She was diagnosed with gangrene on her right leg to make matters worse. As a result, it had to be amputated not to spread.
In 2011, Gabor lived through life support while battling chronic dementia. Still, she fought to live another five years while locked away in her mansion. On December 18, 2016, the beloved actress died of a heart attack. Her husband performed CPR in hopes of reviving her to no avail. Their last words to each other were, "I love you."
Promotional photo of Zsa Zsa Gabor circa 1950 | Photo: Getty Images
FEUD WITH FRANCESCA
Aside from her health issues, Gabor experienced a feud within her family before passing. Her daughter and husband did not see eye to eye and fought over finances and Gabor's conservatorship. In 2005, von Anhalt sued Francesca on behalf of Gabor and himself for forging the actress' signature for a $2 million loan.
Francesca also used her mother's $14 million mansion as collateral. In her defense, Gabor gave her permission with the understanding that the funds would be used to refinance the mansion and avoid foreclosure. Eventually, the lawsuit was dismissed due to Gabor's failure to show up in court.
In 2012, Francesca made her way back to court to file a petition, requesting an independent conservatorship to be granted so she could monitor her mother's finances and health. She claimed that von Anhalt kept Gabor heavily sedated and isolated in their home.
She also believed that he used their finances to throw lavish parties. Although the judge agreed to a conservatorship, they granted von Anhalt as the conservator.
Five years after her death, von Anhalt brought his wife's ashes to its final resting place – a Hungarian burial site in Budapest where her father was buried.
At the very least, he had to show monthly medical records and financial reports. Francesca was also granted weekly visits to her mom without von Anhalt. Francesca and von Anhalt's feud finally ended in January 2015, when she passed away.
Francesca died at 67 in her Los Angeles apartment from a heart attack or stroke. Gabor did not know of her passing as von Anhalt concealed it from her. He said:
"Zsa Zsa is not aware of the news, and I will not let anybody get close to my wife and tell her. She will not know about it. She is a target for strokes. She'll be 98 in a couple weeks with blood pressure on the rise."
With no other immediate family other than Gabor, given that Francesca's father had already died, she was kept in the morgue for days. Von Anhalt eventually stepped in and asked for the investigation of her death, claiming that she took her own life.
An autopsy was then taken while authorities restricted von Anhalt from claiming her body. He said, "I didn't get along with her, but my wife loved her."
Von Anhalt and Gabor did not have children of their own, making Francesca the actress' only heir. In 2011, von Anhalt wanted to have offspring and was willing to use an egg donor, artificial insemination, and surrogacy to have a child with then 94-year-old Gabor. He said:
"In life, you need something to live for. If my wife passes away before me, I have nothing to live for […] I'm a retired guy. I can take care of it."
Zsa Zsa Gabor and Frederic Von Anhalt in Los Angeles, California, circa February 1988 | Photo: Getty Images
HER FINAL RESTING PLACE
In July 2021, five years after her death, von Anhalt brought his wife's ashes to its final resting place – a Hungarian burial site in Budapest where her father was buried. It was also where she asked to be interred. However, von Anhalt made sure to fulfill his wife's last wish by making her burial a lavish event.
He took a luxury flight to celebrate her life with his wife's remains. "She was first class. She had her own seat, and she had her passport, everything there. It was her last trip," he said. "She always used to go first class. She had her Champagne, caviar."
Gabor certainly lived a long, fruitful life. Despite her passing, the actress left a legacy in Hollywood through her films and television appearances.
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