Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors behind the Legend

Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors behind the Legend

by Sam Staggs


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For decades, the Gabor dynasty was the epitome of glamour and fairy tale success. But as biographer, film historian, and Gabor family friend Sam Staggs reveals, behind the headlines is a true story more dramatic, fabulous, and surprising than their self-styled legend would have you believe . . .

In 1945, after barely escaping Hitler’s invasion of Hungary, three members of the Gabor family—Jolie, her ex-husband Vilmos, and their daughter, Magda—arrived in New York City. In Hollywood, their other daughters, Zsa Zsa and Eva, had worked feverishly to secure their rescue. Stepping off the boat, Jolie, the iron-willed matriarch, already had a golden future mapped out for her sharp-witted beauties.
Over the next six decades, with twenty-three husbands between them (suave All About Eve star George Sanders would wed both Zsa Zsa and Magda), and roller-coaster rides in entertainment and business, the elegant yet gloriously bawdy, addictively watchable Gabors carved a niche that made them world-famous pop-culture icons. But beneath the glitz was another side to the story they never revealed: the whole truth.
Including never-before-seen photos and new interviews, here is the first verifiable history of the Gabors. From tumultuous family battles and the sisters’ scores of lovers—including Eva’s “bearded” romance with Merv Griffin, and Zsa Zsa's last—unconsummated—marriage to the faux prince Frederic von Anhalt—to the fates of Zsa Zsa’s daughter, Francesca, and of Vilmos, Finding Zsa Zsa is a riveting, bittersweet, affectionately honest read of four women who were vulnerable, tough, charitable, and endlessly fascinating.

“Pop culture buffs will just adore this penthouse view of the Gabors.”
Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496719591
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 298,426
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Sam Staggs is the author of six books, including four biographies of movies: All About “All About Eve”; Close-up on “Sunset Boulevard”; When Blanche Met Brando: The Scandalous Story of “A Streetcar Named Desire”; and Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of “Imitation of Life.” He has written for publications including Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest, and Opera News. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction: Five Nights in the Fifties 1

1 Gábor úr és Gáborné (Mr. and Mrs. Gabor) 15

2 The Mother of Them All 30

3 The Best Little Finishing School in Switzerland 38

4 Tempest on the Danube 48

5 Starter Marriages 59

6 Turkish Rondo 70

7 Eva and Eric 84

8 E.G., Phone Home 89

9 It Was a B-Picture Only to Those Too Lazy to Go Down the Alphabet 95

10 The California Gold Rush 108

11 Inferno 118

12 The Hour of Lead 124

13 West Hills Sanitarium 132

14 The World Was All Before Them 144

15 We Were Both in Love with George 155

16 Backstage at… We Were Both in Love with George 160

17 An Actress Prepares 166

18 Pink Danube 174

19 Husbands Get in the Way 182

20 Moulin Rouge 190

21 The Destroyer 198

22 Honky-tonk Gabor 207

23 It Didn't Stay in Vegas 218

24 Mama, Don't Cry at My Wedding 225

25 Ruszkik Haza! (Russians Go Home!) 235

26 If Mama Was Married 245

27 The Trujillo Stink 254

28 The Queen of Negative Space 268

29 Shatterproof 277

30 Dahling, I Love You, but Give Me Park Avenue 286

31 Another One Gone, and Another One Bites the Dust 306

32 Don't Cry for Me, Philadelphia 317

33 The Ninth Circle 324

34 He Who Gets Slapped 330

35 Foul Deeds 340

36 Not Waving but Drowning 349

37 Could This Perhaps Be Death? 367

38 They Are All Gone into the World of Light 375

Acknowledgments 391

Selected Bibliography 395

A Note on Sources 401

Index 405

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