How the glamorous Gabor sisters were the Kardashians of their day

Before there were the Kardashians there were the Gabor sisters: Eva, Zsa Zsa and Magda. Between them, the glamorous Gabors accumulated 19 husbands, hundreds of lovers and a lady love or two.

Mama Jolie Gabor, known as ‘Mamuska,’ charged her daughters two cents to touch her face and encouraged fierce competition and a diva mentality.

The ultimate achievement for her show ponies was a title – if you became a princess then ‘Mamuska will love you most of all’.

So when Zsa Zsa, the most famous daughter, married tenth husband Frederic von Anhalt, the Faux Prince of Bel Air, he made her a princess in her own fevered fantasy and true royalty on a par with Queen Elizabeth II.

Sisters Eva (center), Zsa Zsa (left) and Magda Gabor accumulated 19 husbands, hundreds of lovers and even a lady love between the three

Sisters Eva (center), Zsa Zsa (left) and Magda Gabor accumulated 19 husbands, hundreds of lovers and even a lady love between the three

Sisters Eva (center), Zsa Zsa (left) and Magda Gabor accumulated 19 husbands, hundreds of lovers and even a lady love between the three

Their mother Jolie Gabor (second from the right), known as 'Mamuska,' charged her daughters two cents to touch her face and encouraged fierce competition and a diva mentality

Their mother Jolie Gabor (second from the right), known as 'Mamuska,' charged her daughters two cents to touch her face and encouraged fierce competition and a diva mentality

Their mother Jolie Gabor (second from the right), known as ‘Mamuska,’ charged her daughters two cents to touch her face and encouraged fierce competition and a diva mentality

The Kardashians have been likened to the socialite status that the Gabors once had with infamous 'momager' Kris Jenner credited for their rise to fame and fortune

The Kardashians have been likened to the socialite status that the Gabors once had with infamous 'momager' Kris Jenner credited for their rise to fame and fortune

The Kardashians have been likened to the socialite status that the Gabors once had with infamous ‘momager’ Kris Jenner credited for their rise to fame and fortune

Zsa Zsa married her tenth and last  husband Frederic von Anhalt, the Faux Prince of Bel Air, and he made her a princess in her own fevered fantasy, pictured together in 1990

Zsa Zsa married her tenth and last  husband Frederic von Anhalt, the Faux Prince of Bel Air, and he made her a princess in her own fevered fantasy, pictured together in 1990

Zsa Zsa married her tenth and last  husband Frederic von Anhalt, the Faux Prince of Bel Air, and he made her a princess in her own fevered fantasy, pictured together in 1990

‘Convinced her title conferred true royalty, Zsa Zsa reigned while Frederic followed a few steps behind’, writes author Sam Staggs in Finding Zsa Zsa, The Gabors Behind the Legend, published by Kensington Books, July 30.

But the fake title was her ultimate undoing in her old age.

As her health slipped away in her final years, the author writes that he locked her away in her house alienating family and friends, kept her daughter Francesca, who became homeless and penniless, from her and brought in photographers to see her decrepit state in her late 90s.

These revelations come to light in author Sam Staggs new book Finding Zsa Zsa, The Gabors Behind the Legend , published by Kensington Books July 30

These revelations come to light in author Sam Staggs new book Finding Zsa Zsa, The Gabors Behind the Legend , published by Kensington Books July 30

These revelations come to light in author Sam Staggs new book Finding Zsa Zsa, The Gabors Behind the Legend , published by Kensington Books July 30

Zsa Zsa’s fake prince was a con man with no sheaf of titles but whose only appearances back in Germany were in the police files, says Staggs.

When Zsa Zsa met the Faux Prince, she was a faded star but ‘the secret rosebud in her century long life was to be a countess, duchess, sultana principessa or Lady,’ writes the author.

‘Both achieved their goals, for she became a princess (in her own mind) and he now had access to her Rolls-Royce, her bank account, and her famous friends. Most important, he luxuriated in the afterglow of Zsa Zsa’s celebrity.’

‘I always marry bad men. It’s a sickness, my sickness. The more bad they tell me they are, the more I am attracted,’ the author quotes Zsa Zsa.

Eva Gabor, two years younger than Zsa Zsa, arrived in the States in 1939 and Zsa Zsa followed the next year with 21 suitcases in tow.

With minor success in show business, Zsa Zsa went after rich and powerful men who could supply her with the jewels, clothing and furs that Mama Jolie craved – along with that elusive title.

Mama Jolie’s first husband and father to the Gabor girls, Vilmos Grün, was a Hungarian Jew who had changed his name to advance financially and socially in the raging anti-Semitism of Hungary.

But he was not a major or colonial as Jolie feigned.

He was a cook who had posed in a cavalry costume from an operetta, a Hussar’s costume – and thus Jolie could claim her first titled husband.

Vilmos laughed at the idea that he’d won any medals.

‘The greatest battle I ever had was getting my wife from twenty-nine to thirty’. And so it would be with Zsa Zsa reducing years off her true age.

Jolie set the pattern for her daughters – with her feverish fantasy life and multiple surgeries after her ugly duckling childhood and preaching the profitable exploitation of poise, makeup, hair, jewelry, clothes and furs.

As Joan Rivers quipped, Jolie believed, ‘No man is going to put his hand up your dress looking for a library card’.

She was determined not to send them to college but off to finishing school.

‘To use a checkbook they did not need geometry or algebra’, Jolie is quoted.

Her young show ponies needed to acquire social graces and learn languages.

The ultimate achievement for Jolie's show ponies was a title - if you became a princess then 'Mamuska will love you most of all'

The ultimate achievement for Jolie's show ponies was a title - if you became a princess then 'Mamuska will love you most of all'

The ultimate achievement for Jolie’s show ponies was a title – if you became a princess then ‘Mamuska will love you most of all’

This undated family photo shows the three Gabor girls with their mother Jolie and father Vilmos

This undated family photo shows the three Gabor girls with their mother Jolie and father Vilmos

This undated family photo shows the three Gabor girls with their mother Jolie and father Vilmos

Mama Jolie's first husband and father to the Gabor girls, Vilmos Grün, was a Hungarian Jew who had changed his name to advance financially and socially in the raging anti-Semitism of Hungary.

Mama Jolie's first husband and father to the Gabor girls, Vilmos Grün, was a Hungarian Jew who had changed his name to advance financially and socially in the raging anti-Semitism of Hungary.

Mama Jolie’s first husband and father to the Gabor girls, Vilmos Grün, was a Hungarian Jew who had changed his name to advance financially and socially in the raging anti-Semitism of Hungary.

Zsa Zsa left behind her first husband in Budapest and quickly jumped into a high profile marriage to hotelier Conrad Hilton.

She was 30 years younger and Hilton gasped at seeing how she spent his money.

It was a mania that drove Zsa Zsa to an addiction to barbiturates and amphetamines that made her feel better than shopping.

When Conrad’s house burned down in Bel Air, Zsa Zsa headed for his Plaza Hotel in New York where life was a continual party.

She cooked shish kebab on a charcoal brazier in the hotel room, bought two dogs that urinated on the carpet and continually barked.

She acquired more jewelry at Van Cleef and Arpels, a new wardrobe, and sometimes slept on a bench in Central Park while her dogs chased the squirrels.

She filed for divorce from Hilton and he willingly agreed but not before conferring with Eva and sending her off to a sanitarium on the advice of Dr. Manfred Stein.

I always marry bad men. It’s a sickness, my sickness. The more bad they tell me they are, the more I am attracted
Zsa Zsa Gabor

Her behavior was erratic with temper tantrums and sudden mood swings exacerbated by drinking more than 20 cups of coffee a day.

They both believed she needed to be treated and she was admitted to West Hills Sanitarium, and under the care of Sakel, an Austrian psychiatrist who had pioneered insulin.shock treatment discredited in the ’50s because of many fatalities.

Zsa Zsa became an unwilling participant in medical experimentation with barbaric electro-convulsive shock treatment and a needle jabbed into her thigh three times a week for seven weeks.

She emerged from this trauma as an emotionally displaced person as damaged as one who survived the horrors of WWII.

The author, who conducted many interviews with friends and her daughter, Francesca, believed that Zsa Zsa suffered from bipolar disorder and some form of hypoglycemia but Sakel wasn’t treating her for that.

Mama Jolie arrived in the States the following year – 1946 – and opened her first jewelry shop in New York and one on New York’s Upper East Side two years later.

Jolie became the Queen of Costume Jewelry – boosting the Gabor notoriety as Zsa Zsa’s divorce from Conrad was announced along with her pregnancy.

Zsa Zsa wanted a $10million divorce settlement from Hilton but only got $275,000 and stock in two hotels – not the coveted Plaza.

She moved on and married actor George Sanders. She was in love with him but humiliated George with her promiscuity.

The actress had one daughter, Francesca Hilton, with former husband Conrad Hilton, of the Hilton hotel dynasty

The actress had one daughter, Francesca Hilton, with former husband Conrad Hilton, of the Hilton hotel dynasty

The actress had one daughter, Francesca Hilton, with former husband Conrad Hilton, of the Hilton hotel dynasty

Zsa Zsa's second husband was actor George Sanders (left), whom she married in 1949 and divorced in 1954

Zsa Zsa's second husband was actor George Sanders (left), whom she married in 1949 and divorced in 1954

Zsa Zsa was 'addicted to Rubi', she said, speaking of Dominican diplomat and socialite Porfirio Rubirosa

Zsa Zsa was 'addicted to Rubi', she said, speaking of Dominican diplomat and socialite Porfirio Rubirosa

Zsa Zsa’s second husband was actor George Sanders (left), whom she married in 1949 and divorced in 1954. Zsa Zsa was ‘addicted to Rubi’, she said, speaking of Dominican diplomat and socialite Porfirio Rubirosa (right)

She grabbed headlines and the gold ring when she met Porfirio Rubirosa, a roving diplomat for the Dominican Republic and ex-husband of Doris Duke and French actress Danielle Darrieux.

The Caribbean Casanova was reputed to be the Greatest Lover of the Century with the size of his manhood compared to a large brown peppermill or ‘Yul Brynner in a turtleneck’.’

 When one is a faded star crashing into seventy, is it wise to take on a forty-three year old German with a dodgy past, a questionable present and a blank future?

‘I was addicted to ‘Rubi’,’ as she called him. ‘He was in my blood and he possessed my soul. He was renowned for his machismo and above all for his sexual prowess’, the author quotes Zsa Zsa.

Zsa Zsa loved George but she had orgasmic ecstasy with Rubi, the author writes. So George dropped a bombshell and filed for divorce.

‘Being married to Zsa Zsa was like living on the slope of a volcano’, George confessed.

Zsa Zsa refused to give up her career to marry Rubirosa but her career was on a downward slide anyway.

Eva, the real beauty of the family as described by the author, did volunteer work for the March of Dimes, the Polio Fund, City of Hope, raising money for New York’s Bravest and Finest.

She was married five times but also a lesbian, Zsa Zsa’s daughter, Francesca told the author.

Eva had a liaison with Marlene Dietrich and later served as a beard for TV personality Merv Griffin who was gay. Her own low-key lesbianism required only occasional satisfaction.

After appearing in the TV show, Green Acres, her only show business work became mediocre and repetitive talk shows.

Eva (left), the real beauty of the family as described by the author, was married five times but also a lesbian, Zsa Zsa's daughter Francesca told the author

Eva (left), the real beauty of the family as described by the author, was married five times but also a lesbian, Zsa Zsa's daughter Francesca told the author

Eva (left), the real beauty of the family as described by the author, was married five times but also a lesbian, Zsa Zsa’s daughter Francesca told the author

Francesca claimed Eva was a lesbian who was involved with actress Marlene Dietrich (pictured) and served as a 'beard' for gay TV personality Merv Griffin

Francesca claimed Eva was a lesbian who was involved with actress Marlene Dietrich (pictured) and served as a 'beard' for gay TV personality Merv Griffin

Francesca claimed Eva was a lesbian who was involved with actress Marlene Dietrich (pictured) and served as a 'beard' for gay TV personality Merv Griffin

Francesca claimed Eva was a lesbian who was involved with actress Marlene Dietrich (pictured) and served as a 'beard' for gay TV personality Merv Griffin

Francesca claimed Eva was a lesbian who was involved with actress Marlene Dietrich (right) and served as a ‘beard’ for gay TV personality Merv Griffin

Magda married four times and tried to distance herself from family antics. She had a stroke, lost her speech, became a semi-invalid and her most recent husband soon departed.

Mama Jolie trolled New York nightclubs for a new husband and found another with a fake title, the Count de Szigethy, making Jolie a fake Countess.

With the post studio era, Zsa Zsa and Eva’s glamour and hi-jinks quickly became passé.

They had to resort to any job they could get which was in cheap TV, dinner theater, summer stock and bottom feeder plays.

Zsa Zsa had a crack at her own show but it bombed.

She was into serial marriages because she couldn’t bear to live alone.

‘From about 1960 when Zsa Zsa was 43, her mental state was not in the category considered normal, meaning reasonably same’, writes Staggs.

She was still plagued by bipolar disorder and not fully aware of what she did, often skipping medication because ‘they made her fat’, Francesca told the author.

So she stormed through marriages with romances outnumbering offers of work that didn’t materialize because she was a difficult diva prone to silly snobbery.

Jolie set the pattern for her daughters – with her feverish fantasy life and multiple surgeries after her ugly duckling childhood and preaching the profitable exploitation of poise, makeup, hair, jewelry, clothes and furs

Jolie set the pattern for her daughters – with her feverish fantasy life and multiple surgeries after her ugly duckling childhood and preaching the profitable exploitation of poise, makeup, hair, jewelry, clothes and furs

Jolie set the pattern for her daughters – with her feverish fantasy life and multiple surgeries after her ugly duckling childhood and preaching the profitable exploitation of poise, makeup, hair, jewelry, clothes and furs

Magda (left) married four times and tried to distance herself from family antics. She had a stroke, lost her speech, became a semi-invalid and her most recent husband soon departed

Magda (left) married four times and tried to distance herself from family antics. She had a stroke, lost her speech, became a semi-invalid and her most recent husband soon departed

Magda (left) married four times and tried to distance herself from family antics. She had a stroke, lost her speech, became a semi-invalid and her most recent husband soon departed

'I always marry bad men. It's a sickness, my sickness. The more bad they tell me they are, the more I am attracted,' Zsa Zsa once said

'I always marry bad men. It's a sickness, my sickness. The more bad they tell me they are, the more I am attracted,' Zsa Zsa once said

‘I always marry bad men. It’s a sickness, my sickness. The more bad they tell me they are, the more I am attracted,’ Zsa Zsa once said

Marriage number nine to Spanish aristocrat, Felipe, Duke of Alba, was a sham.

It was an ‘ersatz wedding’ performed illegally and there was no duke of Alba, who Zsa Zsa claimed bored her.

He recanted with – Zsa Zsa told me she was 54. When I learned that she is nearly 70, well —‘ quotes the author.

‘The marriage was annulled the day after it didn’t take place’, writes Staggs.

Then along came the Faux Prince of Bel Air.

‘When one is a faded star crashing into seventy, is it wise to take on a forty-three year old German with a dodgy past, a questionable present and a blank future?’ the author asks.

‘Any title at all to fill the aching void created by that prodding mother who spurred little Sari (her nickname for Zsa Zsa) toward fame and greatness, the mother whose own neurotic frustrations trapped her daughters, and Zsa Zsa most of all, in a twisting labyrinth of ambition’, writes Staggs.

With that title of Princess Zsa Zsa ringing in her ears, Zsa Zsa dismissed the fact that Von Anhalt had paid a photographer $5,000 for an introduction.

Even Mama Jolie knew he was a fake and warned her daughter that she had ‘swallowed a line of bull’.

‘I know he’s no good but he’s what I want,’ Zsa Zsa confessed.

She told her fake prince, ‘I don’t care what you do, but don’t bring it into my house’.

Daughter Francesca told the author that Von Anhalt and Zsa Zsa's marriage was never consummated

Daughter Francesca told the author that Von Anhalt and Zsa Zsa's marriage was never consummated

Daughter Francesca told the author that Von Anhalt and Zsa Zsa’s marriage was never consummated

The marriage was never consummated, Francesca told Staggs. Zsa Zsa was convinced she was now true royalty.

As her health declined, she never knew that Von Anhalt had cut off her phone line to her daughter and padlocked the gates to the estate when he left.

When she suffered heart failure, a stroke, amputation of her right leg, he wanted to preserve her body by plastination and put it on display.

He brought in photographers to her bedside to witness her without makeup, wig or beauty.

With Francesca cut off from her mother and spending $400,000 on legal fees to obtain visiting rights, the trauma hastened her own death.

She had lost the lease on her rented house in Hollywood, became a hoarder living in an old SUV filled with papers, magazines, food.

Francesca had rebelled early on against the Gabor lifestyle – a seesaw between fantasy and opulence.

She never brought her own friends home because her mother hit her.

Zsa Zsa had learned from her own mother and became a prison matron dispensing mother love.

Francesca overdosed on diet pills and was committed to a ‘nut house’ like her mother.

She died after suffering a stroke in January 2015 at age 67, one year before her mother’s passing

Zsa Zsa lived eighteen years longer than Magda and Eva and died seven weeks short of 100 in December 2016.

Von Anhalt took home Zsa Zsa’s ashes and said, ‘These are my f**king ashes and she was my f**king wife.’

There was no one left alive to challenge Zsa Zsa’s last will and testament.

Link hienalouca.com

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