Colorful and celebrated personality Zsa Zsa Gabor died Sunday at the age of 99. The Budapest-born socialite and great-aunt of Paris Hilton leaves behind an amazing legacy. Never one to shy away from scandal or drama, Gabor, married nine times, was the first celebrity who became famous for being famous. But what you probably didn’t know is that her final years were filled with indescribable pain and sadness.
First, let’s look back and review some of Gabor’s more notable moments.
1982 – Gabor ordered handicapped theater attendees to be moved.
Gabor made headlines when she demanded that several members of the audience, all in wheelchairs, be moved from their locations near the stage. They were moved to the back of the room in Philadelphia’s City Line Dinner Theater.
1986 – Zsa Zsa was married for the ninth time.
She had nine marriages in total, with seven divorces and one annulment. Her most famous husband was Conrad Hilton. Her final marriage was to Frederic Von Anhalt, earning her the title of Princess von Anhalt, Duchess of Szxony.
1989 – She was forced off a Delta Airline plane.
Gabor was removed from a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles when she refused to keep her dogs in travel kennels. “The Delta agent came aboard. He asked her six times to comply,” said airline spokesman William D. Berry. “She refused to comply, responding each time with considerable vulgarity.”
1989 – Gabor was jailed for slapping a police officer.
When pulled over in June, 1989, for driving with expired registration tags, in her $110,000 Rolls Royce, she expected to get off with a warning. “Usually they say, ‘Zsa Zsa, what’s the matter, are you married these days, do you want to marry me?'” Because officer Paul Kramer insisted on handing her a ticket, she slapped him and ended up in jail.
Gabor’s Sad Final Days
The final 14 years of Gabor’s life were sad. In 2002, following a car accident, she would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Her final years included a stroke (2005), broken bones (2010), a hip replacement at age 93 (2010), and the amputation of her right leg (2011). Since 2011, she suffered from advanced dementia, forgetting the names and faces of those closest to her.
The Lessons of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Life
I grew up knowing the name “Zsa Zsa Gabor,” though I never saw any of her movies. I never saw her perform. But she was a household name, a legend of Hollywood. But despite her remarkable fame and fortune, her passing reminds us of two truths. First, we all die. Second, money can’t buy happiness.
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Zsa Zsa Gabor lived a long and colorful life. But her sad ending reminds us that there is more to life than living colorfully and long. No one remembers the start of any race. It’s how we finish that matters.