Zsa Zsa Gabor Was Bedridden When Her Spouse Threw Her 95th Birthday Party & Planned to Benefit from Her 100th
Hungarian-American actress Zsa Zsa Gabor's last years were plagued with serious health issues and family dramas stemming from her marriage to Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, who allegedly wanted to reap from her 100th birthday.
Hungarian-American actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor was known for her movie roles, extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, and multiple marriages.
She lived a long life and died about two months to her 100th birthday. During Gabor's last days on earth, she struggled with health issues, which were not surprising because of her age.
Besides these health battles, she also dealt with several family dramas. Her last husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, did not get along with her only daughter Francesca Hilton and this indifference caused multiple public scandals.
Francesca and von Anhalt's frequent battles were over Gabor's finances and care. They had several court cases and continued feuding until Francesca died in 2015.
Gabor shared with her ex-husband and hotel magnate Conrad Hilton Francesca died suddenly of an apparent stroke or heart attack.
Francesca's death happened so suddenly, so no plans were made for her final resting place. Her body remained in the morgue for days until von Anhalt took charge. Von Anhalt said that although he did not get along with Francesca, Gabor loved her.
He called for an investigation into her passing but hid it from Gabor. He said Gabor did not know of Francesca's death, and he would not allow anyone to tell her. He said to People:
"She will not know about it. She'll be 98 in a couple weeks with blood pressure on the rise. I don't want her to have bad news."
WHO IS VON ANHALT?
Von Anhalt was Gabor's 9th and final husband. He has a dubious backstory and hustler side, which he disclosed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Von Anhalt was born Hans Robert Lichtenberg but became Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the Duke of Saxony and Westphalia, Count of Ascania, in 1979.
Von Anhalt bought the title from the impoverished 81-year-old Princess Marie-Auguste von Anhalt, who adopted him in exchange for a 2,000-mark monthly pension.
There was a motive behind von Anhalt buying the title. He revealed, "I needed a door-opener. It was a tool. This was a business decision — show business."
Von Anhalt brokered the deal for the title through Han Hermann Weyer, a German broker of nobility titles. However, Weyer was not so pleased with the adoption and called it the most appalling he had executed.
Weyer revealed that von Anhalt claimed he owned a gay sauna with connections to the red-light district. However, Weyer's grouse with von Anhalt could be because he is yet to receive most of his 200,000-mark fee for brokering the title purchase deal, though von Anhalt dismissed him as a crooked guy.
Von Anhalt was born in 1943 in the provincial western German village of Wallhausen. He claimed to have been a serial entrepreneur in Germany, owning multiple saunas, a disco, and a steakhouse.
Von Anhalt also claimed that he lived in a tony embassy neighborhood in the 1970s and engaged in loan-sharking. However, German newspapers from that decade chronicle a series of court proceedings against him.
There were also reported convictions for assault, burglary, fraud, and theft. Despite the evidence, von Anhalt waved his criminal records away, claiming they were long-ago misunderstandings.
Von Anhalt was cut off by his parents and had little affection for them. He revealed that he returned to Wallhausen on Christmas Eve after leaving for some years, but his mom turned him away at the door. He explained:
"She said she didn't want a fight with my father. I didn't have enough money to go to a hotel. I slept on the street for a week. It was very cold."
STAYING IN GABOR'S FAVOR
Judging by von Anhalt's accounts, Gabor seemed happy with their marriage. They went on outings and vacationed together. The couple had a tradition of traveling to Europe every year.
However, in 1995, they could not go. Von Anhalt surprised his wife with 30 tons of snow on their property. She was moved by the gesture and cried.
Von Anhalt disclosed that he understood how to stay in Gabor's favor. He revealed that her eight divorced husbands always left whenever there was a fight and then apologized with a gift. However, he acted differently. He said:
"We always talked it out on the spot. She loved to fight. She wanted to show she's the boss. I always knew to give in."
Although Gabor and von Anhalt seemed determined to be together, her mom, Jolie, did not support their marriage and did her best to stop it.
On the morning of their wedding day, Jolie's housekeeper called from Palm Springs and disclosed that she had suffered a heart attack. Thus, they needed Gabor's attention at the hospital.
However, Gabor shrugged it off and went on with the wedding. In the afternoon, another call came in saying everything was fine.
HEALTH ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES
Gabor and von Anhalt's power dynamic took a downturn following the decline in her health after she was severely injured in a 2002 car accident. She had a stroke soon after the crash.
Gabor's declining health led to issues between von Anhalt and her only daughter Francesca, who persistently criticized him and engaged in legal battles with him over her mom's care and finances.
In July 2012, von Anhalt was appointed as Gabor's conservator for six months by a Los Angeles judge, who determined that the conservatorship was necessary for Gabor's wellbeing.
Sam Staggs wrote about Francesca and von Anhalt's constant feuds in his book "Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend." He claimed that von Anhalt alienated Gabor from her family and took control of her estate when she fell ill.
However, von Anhalt challenged those claims, saying Gabor married him for protection and arguing that he was the one who looked out for her health and best interests till she died.
Von Anhalt further claimed that Francesca never got along with her mom and once forged her signature to obtain a $2 million loan. However, Francesca said she took the loan with her mom's permission.
In 2016, a former houseboy for Gabor laid more death on von Anhalt by claiming the couple lived separate lives and that Gabor was very mean. The houseboy, Aaron Tonken, said:
"They had separate lives. He drove a beat-up Buick station wagon and she drove a Bentley. They slept in separate beds. It was not a normal relationship."
A LAVISH BIRTHDAY AND REACTIONS
When Gabor turned 95, von Anhalt hosted a lavish birthday for her. He said she had a wonderful time at the party and that everything went well.
A total of 130 guests turned up for the party, held at Gabor's Beverly Hills home. Some of the guests were her celebrity friends, Lou Diamond Phillips, Connie Stevens, Larry King, and Angie Dickinson.
Von Anhalt claimed Larry spoke to Gabor and touched her hand while smiling at him. He also said Larry sang happy birthday to her.
However, despite von Anhalt's claims, Larry's wife, Shawn King, remembered things differently. According to reports, Shawn told Gabor's former P.R. Pro Edward Lozz about her experience at the birthday bash.
Shawn said Gabor was alone in her room, and the house was filled with many strangers of questionable character who danced the night away. She revealed they were brought back to see Gabor, who was in a hospital bed and unable to communicate. Shawn said to Page Six:
"That 'husband' of hers had her on display for us [and] only wanted a photo op for himself. We left quickly, feeling sad, shocked, sickened and angry. Somehow the photo showed up in the tabloids. I was mortified."
Shawn also revealed that Gabor squeezed their hands and sang "Happy Birthday." She felt incredibly sad for the iconic actress and added that Gabor's friends stopped coming around because of the parties, which Anhalt put up billboards for.
VON ANHALT'S PLANS FOR GABOR'S CENTENARY BIRTHDAY
In December 2016, a source told Page Six that von Anhalt wanted to keep Gabor alive until she turned 100 so he could throw her a massive birthday bash and make it a big story on tabloids. The source said:
"He wanted to throw a big 100th birthday. He'd throw these birthdays [every year] to get money from the rags. They don't pay as much as they used to, but he was anticipating the 100th birthday."
As Gabor's health worsened, von Anhalt shared updates about how she was doing. In February 2016, he told E.T. that she was battling recovery and still had the will to live. However, Gabor died on December 18, 2016, despite her husband's efforts to keep her alive. She would have turned 100 on February 6, 2017.
After Gabor's death, von Anhalt opened up the room where he cared for her. He took Inside Edition on an exclusive tour of their Bel-Air estate to show he did not avoid communicating with the tabloids. He recalled how he tried to save her life after she suffered a heart attack during the tour. He said:
"I lifted her out, I put her [on the floor]. The guy was on the phone and told me what to do. I had to press on her chest by her breast because she was still breathing."
However, Gabor ultimately passed away but not before uttering her final words to von Anhalt, who said she told him, "I love you." He described her passing as very sad and a bad feeling.
THE AFTERMATH OF GABOR'S DEATH
After Gabor's death, von Anhalt inherited all of her properties. People obtained court documents detailing the late actress's will, and they showed all of her assets were consolidated into a trust von Anhalt was the sole trustee of.
The documents also revealed the couple signed a prenuptial agreement in 1986. It also showed that Francesca was a co-executor of the will alongside von Anhalt.
Two years after Gabor's death, von Anhalt sold off her estate. He told The Hollywood Reporter that he had spent many years in the Bel-Air property and looked forward to the slick new Century City condo tower he expected to downsize into.
For that reason, he put hundreds of Gabor's belongings up for auction. The items were put up for display in the home, waiting for bidders' arrivals. Von Anhalt confessed:
"I still see [her possessions] each day when I go about the house. They taunt me."
Von Anhalt's relationship with Gabor was questioned until her passing and even afterward. Yet, he does not care about what people say because they loved each other, which mattered most.