How Zsa Zsa Gabor paved the way for millennial glamour

How Zsa Zsa Gabor paved the way for millennial glamour
Zsa Zsa Gabor

Kim K, Paris Hilton, Gigi Hadid - none of them would exist as we know them if it weren't for this diamond loving celebrity trailblazer

By Maan Jalal

Published: Mon 19 Dec 2016, 4:27 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Dec 2016, 5:26 PM

Let's not insult the iconic Zsa Zsa Gabor by calling her glam. No, Zsa Zsa was glamorous. There is a distinct difference. Maybe it was her accent. Zsa Zsa, who passed away on Sunday from a heart attack at 99, was the first woman to be famous for being famous. Yes, she was beautiful, yes, she was stylish, yes, she was a talented actress but all of it played as a soft focused background to her razor sharp wit, intelligence, opinions and love life with both men and diamonds.

Imagine, three beautiful, talented, ambitious sisters making every opportunity that comes their way count. No, we aren't talking about the Kardashians (we thought using the word talented would have given that away). We are talking about Zsa Zsa and her sisters Eva and Magda Gabour who epitomised what it meant to really have a girl squad back in the 50s when Taylor swift wasn't even a thought.
Let's be clear here. If there was no Zsa Zsa there would be no Kim K and her sisters, no Paris and Nicole (funnily enough Zsa Zsa is Paris' great grandmother by marriage), there would be none of the current pale imitations of society insta famous girls, and even actresses who have tried to replicate Zsa Zsa's natural charm and sexual sophistication.

Zsa Zsa leaves behind a legacy of fun, glamour, scandal and a love of jewelry, luxury and men. Despite what she was famous for, it would be an offence to forget that she was highly intelligent, witty, charming, full of style and great business acumen.

Known for films Moulin Rouge and Lili Zsa Zsa first found fame when she appeared on the television show Bachelor's Haven, where she displayed her razor-sharp wit. She became a regular on the program, as well as on radio, often responding to listeners' questions. For example:

From a letter she read: "I'm breaking my engagement to a very wealthy man. He gave me a beautiful home, a mink coat, diamonds, an expensive car and a stove. What shall I do?

 Zsa Zsa's advice: "You have to be fair, darling. Give back the stove."

What people loved about Zsa Zsa was that she unashamedly presented a new model of femininity. Zsa Zsa wasn't a bimbo but instead portrayed herself as a worldly sophisticated woman uninterested in traditional domestic life, a sexual being, a romantic and a pragmatist. Yes, she could have been viewed as a gold digger but she made sure you knew that she was worth it.

Her charm scored her the "Who's Who" of Hollywood heartthrobs from screen legends Sean Connery and Frank Sinatra, spurning the advances of John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, John Huston and Henry Fonda as detialed in her autobiography.

Zsa Zsa's husbands included a  Turkish diplomat, the hotel heir Conrad Hilton (she had her only child with him - Francisca Hilton who passed away in 2015), the actor George Sanders, an industrialist, an oil magnate, a divorce lawyer, a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony and  Barbie doll designer Jack Ryan. That's right, Zsa Zsa was also an inspiration for how Barbie looked. There was also another marriage that nobody counts (a slight case of bigamy) with a Mexican actor, which only lasted only a day.

Zsa Zsa was good friends with Elizabeth Taylor ( Zsa Zsa was hospitalized when she heard that Taylor had passed away in 2011), she partied with every It boy and girl you could think of and did cameos on TV shows, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

In 2002 a car accident left Zsa Zsa partially paralyzed and wheelchair-bound, she then had a stroke in 2005 where one of her legs was partially amputated. Since 2010 Zsa Zsa has been in and out of hospitals and had several brushes with death.

The last years of her life saw Zsa Zsa shy away from the public eye. It must have been daunting for her, we imagine, someone known her whole life for being beautiful and witty, finding that she couldn't live up to the public character that she and her sisters had immortalized in the media, opening the doors for hundreds of girls after them.

What we do know, is that Zsa Zsa was surrounded by her husband Frederic von Anhalt whom she married in 1986 along with her close friends and family during her last moments. It seems like the best way to go for a woman who cherished friends, family and love.
Interesting facts about the legendary Zsa Zsa Gabor:

Gabor was born on February 6, 1917, in Budapest and had two sisters, Eva and Magda, who also moved to Hollywood to work in show business.

Growing up, Zsa Zsa wanted to be a veterinarian. She had a great love for animals owning countless of dogs and horses.

She appeared in more than 30 movies but eventually ended up in low-budget films with such titles as Queen of Outer Space and Picture Mommy Dead. Of all of her films, Moulin Rouge is said to be her best and most iconic.

Known for calling everyone "dah-ling" Zsa Zsa later admitted it was because she had trouble remembering names!

In the final episode of the 1960s television series Batman Gabor played a villainess who used hair dryers to steal information from men's brains.

She was the author of How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man, Zsa Zsa Gabor's Complete Guide to Men and One Lifetime Is Not Enough.
Gabor's attitude toward marriage after being married nine times? "Getting divorced just because you don't love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do."

Zsa Zsa was a successful business woman. She operated a mail-order cosmetics company and once offered $1 million to anyone who could prove that she'd had a face-lift.

Zsa Zsa outlasted her sisters, Eva and Magda, in celebrity and in life. She was the last surviving Gabor sister.

In 1989, Zsa Zsa was arrested for slapping a police officer who pulled her over for a traffic violation and found that her license had expired and that she had an open vodka bottle in her car, a Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible. In court, the judge gave her 72 hours in jail.
With inputs from AFP, AP

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