In Depth

Five things you didn't know about Zsa Zsa Gabor

The much-married actress-turned-socialite sang opera, wrote a novel and adopted a series of grown men

Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian-born Hollywood actress whose over-the-top love life kept celebrity watchers entertained for decades, has died aged 99.

She appeared in a string of films, including Orson Welles' 1958 classic Touch of Evil, but became better known for her exaggerated European flair, her multiple marriages, her lavish Hollywood lifestyle and her tendency to call everyone "Dahlink".

While her private life was often paraded before the media, here are five things you may not know about the woman who epitomised a lost era of glamour.

She started out as an opera singer 

Zsa Zsa was born Sari Gabor in Budapest in February 1917 to Jewish parents. After studying at a Swiss boarding school, she was discovered by opera tenor Richard Tauber on a trip to Vienna in 1934 and invited to sing the soubrette role in his new operetta.

Then in 1936, she was crowned Miss Hungary. On the eve of World War II, Zsa Zsa, her mother and her sisters, Eva and Magda, emigrated to the US. By the 1950s the glamorous Gabor sisters were known as much for their love lives as for their performing careers.

She was married for a day

Zsa Zsa had nine husbands and divorced seven of them. Her first marriage was to Burhan Belge, a Turkish diplomat, in Budapest (1937-1941).

Her second, to Conrad Hilton, lasted from 1942 to 1947. There were further marriages to actor George Sanders (1949-1954), who later married her sister, Magda; the investor-industrialist Herbert L Hutner (1962-1966); the oil magnate Joshua S Cosden Jr (1966-1967); inventor and Barbie doll designer Jack Ryan (1975-1976); lawyer Michael O'Hara (1976-1982); and finally Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, whom she married in 1986 and remained with until her death.

Zsa Zsa was also briefly married in 1983 to Felipe de Alba, a Mexican lawyer and actor. The marriage, however, only lasted one day, declared invalid because the actress's prior union with Michael O'Hara had not been properly dissolved. Zsa Zsa and de Alba then chose to separate.

She was an author

Zsa Zsa wrote several self-help books inspired by her love life, including 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 her memoir One Lifetime Is Not Enough.

Her first book, Every Man for Herself, was a novel co-written in 1944 with a German writer-turned-screenwriter, Victoria Wolf, and loosely based on her own life experiences. It was later sold to an American magazine.

She sued her own child 

Zsa Zsa had her only child – a daughter, Francesca – with second husband Conrad Hilton, founder of the famed Hilton hotel empire. Zsa Zsa later wrote in her autobiography that Francesca was born as a result of rape. She and Hilton divorced before Francesca was born, and Francesca's relationship with her father was never close.

When Hilton died in 1979, he left his only daughter a mere $100,000, leaving the bulk of his $200m estate to charity. Francesca also fell out with her mother and stepfather von Anhalt, who filed a lawsuit against her in 2005 accusing her of fraud, alleging she had forged her mother's signature to get a $2m loan. The case was later dropped and Francesca died in 2015 at the age of 67 from a stroke.

Zsa Zsa and her 'prince' adopted men

After a string of marital mishaps, Zsa Zsa eventually settled down with Prince Frederic von Anhalt in 1986 and the couple were together for almost 30 years. Von Anhalt and Zsa Zsa were both coy about their real ages, but Zsa Zsa was believed to be at least 25 years older than her husband.

Von Anhalt was actually the son of a police officer in Germany, but he changed his name to what sounded like a title after reportedly paying Princess Marie Auguste of Anhalt, the Duchess of Saxony, to adopt him. During their marriage, Zsa Zsa and Anhalt were also reported to have adopted at least ten adult men, who were said to have paid the couple sums of up to $2m, and changed their names to "Prinz".

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