By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. We are sorry to learn that one of the most enduring personalities of Hollywood and Post World War II America, Zsa Zsa Gabor, is seriously ill. First, then, we must wish her well… for she has amused and titillated so many, giving the glamorless majority an aperture into a world of Dior and diamonds, mesmerizing even if entirely false and deceptive.
She was a party girl when parties meant handsome young men with orchids — always for you — in their hands; always early, always to be kept waiting interminably for whom “having” a man was the thing, only to get bored and then order another, like pizza.
Life meant dressing up (a full-time occupation in itself)… wafting down a sinuous staircase with a kiss blown up the stairs and a kiss blown down, the world entranced.
Life meant sharp sports cars driven recklessly by young men bold and careless… until one day that boldness ended his life… and inconvenienced yours.
Life meant being engaged to three men simultaneously planning to elope with a fourth… every lurid twist leaked to the ubiquitous movie magazines which were glad for the tips and gave your affairs, each and every one of them, the coverage you craved and sustained you. It was all such fun.
Life meant never dealing with the gnawing realities of human existence unless absolutely forced to…. life was such a distressing, tawdry business, not at all like her song from “Moulin Rouge” (1952), a song she sang thinly with far too many undulations and bobbing plumes. She was young then, bravely facing the cameras with far too little talent even for the superficial role she gave herself, the possessor of too much charm and too little ability. Find the lady’s tune in any search engine, and see for yourself.
The way this wistful young girl portrayed herself was probably as close to the way she really was as we ever saw… that way she pushed to the background… to become famous and always glamorous, dah-link. It was all summarized in the word “gay” before that word was traumatized with dark sexuality and constitutional struggles, things which young ladies in Dior dresses know nothing about.
Born a subject of his imperial and apostolic majesty.
Just the other day, the last Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian empire, died. (July 4, 2011). His name was Otto von Habsburg and one of the legion of his subjects was Zsa Zsa Gabor, born February 6, 1917. She was born Hungarian into the uncontrollable, disputatious moiety of the empire. Her father was an army officer in the army that would fail to support its emperor and live up to its oath once the chips were down. Her mother, Jolie, was beautiful and ambitious. These — along with that fatuous, overblown Magyar accent — born in Budapest, perfected in Hollywood — were mother’s useful gifts.
The family Gabor was touched by the venom and turbulence of Middle Europe, not least because Jolie was of Jewish descent… and that meant, first, difficulties and, then, with the Holocaust, death. Jolie was lucky to get out in 1944, compliments of the Portuguese ambassador, her son-in-law; her parents, Zsa Zsa’s grandparents, were not as fortunate; U.S. raids on Budapest rained down death upon them…
… Zsa Zsa, human flotsam from the vicissitudes of Magyars, then Nazis, then Communists, all determined to possess Hungary, moved to Hollywood, the ultimate antidote for mayhem anytime… Its palm trees and sugary illusions were just what the doctor ordered for a woman who saw her role as the Madame du Pompadour or Comtesse du Barry of her age. After so much disruption, fear, and death so early she was determined to seize security… and hold it.
And this meant men, lots of men. They were the only people who could give her what she wanted, and she wanted so very much. But the game was demanding, with success problematic and never guaranteed. Here’s how it went:
* girls like Zsa Zsa, needing money and everything it could buy, were introduced only to suitable young men with money, or certain prospects, proven, not speculative.
* dates were occasions for young men to prove their ardor… and young women to defend their virtue.
* men were expected to make physical advances… women, who expected them, were primed to defend — and deny. Until…
This demanding protocol left all parties frustrated, aggravated, unsatisfied, and cynical, too. Zsa Zsa became supremely adept at these high stakes maneuvers… which is why she marched down the aisle so often and so unsuccessfully.. She seemed to treat marriage as a vacation from real life, not as an essential element in that life.
“Men have always liked me and I have always liked men. But I like a mannish man who knows how to talk to and treat a woman — not just a man with muscles.” But this was only part of the truth. Here is the rest: that (far in advance of most women) she lived like Russia’s Catherine the Great… or her much-married contemporary Elizabeth Taylor… Gabor didn’t like being selected by men. She wanted to do the selecting… and when she got bored (as she always did) she wanted to do the de-selecting, too, and this made her a revolutionary in the immemorial struggle between the sexes.
As Gerold Frank, the ghost writer of her autobiography wrote in 1960, “Zsa Zsa is unique. She’s a woman from the court of Louis XV who has somehow managed to live in the 20th century…. She says she wants to be all the Pompadours and Du Barrys of history rolled into one, but she also says, I always goof. I pay all my own bills… I want to choose the man. I do not permit men to choose me.’ ”
So, here is a list of the 9 men she selected… 8 of whom she discarded, too:
Burhan Asaf Belge (1937-1941) divorced.
Conrad Hilton (April 10, 1942-1947) divorced
George Sanders (April 2, 1949-April 2, 1954) divorced
Herbert Hutner (November 5, 1962-March 3, 1966) divorced
Joshua S. Cosden, Jr. (March 9, 1966-October 18, 1967) divorced
Jack Ryan (January 21,1975-August 24, 1976 divorced
Michael O’Hara (August 27, 1976-1983) divorced
Felipe de Alba (April 13, 1983-April 14, 1983) annulled
Frederic Prinz von Anhalt (August 14, 1986- present)
But what of her career, her acting career? Quick can you name any of her roles in stage, screen or television? Most people respond with “Green Acres” — but that was her sister Eva who died in 1995. Zsa Zsa’s true vocation was the creation and tending of the list, sampling men for possible inclusion, adding some, tiring of others and removing them. As a result she is a “princess” now, though that, like so much of her life, is ersatz, completely bogus.
But, though ailing, frail, and since January 2, 2011 an amputee, she still lives and no doubt still maintains her connoisseur’s eye for the male of the species. If I were Prinz Freddie I’d watch out. For though she wistfully sang in “Moulin Rouge” that “Now we are growing older”, that doesn’t apply to the always youthful, always hopeful Zsa Zsa for her, forever, where there’s life, there’s hope.
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About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at worldprofit.com and JeffreyLantArticles.com
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Author: Jeffrey LantThis author has published 572 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.