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Photos Of Zsa Zsa Gabor Are Exposing A Side The Public Hasn’t Seen

In recent years, the extreme popularization of “influencing” on social media has created an entire industry around using your own image to become rich. The idea of being famous just for being famous didn’t arise on its own, however. Someone pulled it off long before the digital age, and that person was Hollywood socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor. Though she and her eclectic family lived a very public life, we’re still learning about what went on behind the scenes.

Zsa Zsa was born as Sari Gabor on February 6, 1917, in Budapest, Hungary. Her parents, soldier Vilmos Gabor and Jolie Gabor, the heiress to a European jewelry business, had three daughters in total. Zsa Zsa was the middle child.

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How did Zsa Zsa become Zsa Zsa? She named herself when she was just a kid living in exorbitant luxury. The five would regularly travel to expensive destinations, and all the children were enrolled in fancy boarding schools.

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Zsa Zsa sang in an opera at 13 and was crowned Miss Hungary a few years later, but was stripped of her title when the judges realized she lied about her age. That’s a lot to accomplish before the age of 20!

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This brings us to the thing Zsa Zsa is famous for: her nine marriages. Her first one was in 1937, after she proposed to Burhan Asaf Belge. He was a Turkish government worker who was more than a decade her senior.

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The two divorced in 1941, after Zsa Zsa and her mom moved to America. There, Zsa Zsa met Conrad Hilton (yes, the hotel Hilton). Conrad offered her $20,000 to spend the night together in Florida. She declined, yet four months later they married.

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The couple did manage to have a child before divorcing just four years later. Next, Zsa Zsa married George Sanders, a British actor. Interestingly, when they separated, George married Zsa Zsa’s sister Magda. We’re betting this wasn’t well-received by his ex.

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The husbands kept coming: financier Herbert Hutner, oil tycoon Joshua Cosden, inventor Jack Ryan, attorney Michael O’Hara, and actor Felipe de Alba. Zsa Zsa was a busy woman. And didn’t mince words when talking about her string of husbands.

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“I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house,” Zsa Zsa said. We love it. This — by far — isn’t the only well-publicized opinion she held about the men in her life.

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Another one of her famous one-liners was, “I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.” These sentiments never seemed to dissuade the multitude of admirers she dated, so they knew what they were getting into.

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Beyond her husbands, she was rumored to have dated many other famous men like Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, and Richard Burton. In 1986, Zsa Zsa married her last husband, Prince Frederick von Anhalt.

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Frederick’s princely title came from being adopted when he was in his 30s by the German royal Marie-Auguste of Anhalt. There is major controversy around his right to call himself a prince, but this didn’t stop Frederick.

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The “prince” dealt out knighthoods for $50,000, and 68 people have taken him up on this honor. He’s definitely morally ambiguous at best. And his marriage to Zsa Zsa was made even more scandalous by the fact that he was 30 years younger.

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Aside from her marriages, Zsa Zsa stayed busy as a working actress. Her most common role? Playing a version of herself. Her first film was Lovely to Look At in 1952, which she followed with We’re Not Married! and Moulin Rouge in the same year. 

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Zsa Zsa made guest appearances on TV shows as well, like The Life of Riley, Playhouse 90, Gilligan’s Island, and Batman. Her sharp wit served her well when she appeared on celebrity game shows and talk shows.

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Audiences loved Zsa Zsa because she oozed glamour and wealth. She was a European princess (technically) and loved to call almost everyone she met “dahlink.” Of course, when you have a big personality, attention always seems to come with a dose of drama.

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For instance, in 1989, Zsa Zsa had a run-in with a cop. He pulled over her Rolls-Royce, which had expired tags, and when he checked her license, found it was also expired. Zsa Zsa wasn’t having it. She told him she was in a hurry and drove away from the scene.

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The officer chased the socialite for several blocks before she stopped her car, got out, and slapped him. She was arrested for assault. Zsa Zsa was put on probation, which she didn’t complete, so she spent three days in jail. 

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This incident is only one of the many reasons Zsa Zsa continually made headlines throughout most of the 20th century. Attention, whether it was positive or negative, never truly bothered Zsa Zsa.

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“I never really mind what people say about me — I am far too unconventional and far too dedicated to being true to myself to let other people’s disdain or nastiness upset me for long,” Zsa Zsa said. And that’s on being a strong woman.

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On December 18, 2016, at the age of 99, Zsa Zsa died from heart failure. Her life was glamorous and filled with plenty of romance, money, and fame. She’s someone who isn’t easily forgotten, dahlink. Still, she might’ve been eclipsed by one other socialite.

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From the moment she was born, Gloria Vanderbilt was considered important. Her father, Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, cried out, “It is fantastic how Vanderbilt she looks! See the corners of her eyes, how they turn up?” No one would ever question her belonging to the old money club.

The newest addition to America’s richest family received every trapping of the uber-wealthy, but at just two years old, the death of Gloria’s father set off a pattern of events that led to a high-profile scandal.

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Toddler Gloria was sitting on an inheritance of a $2.5 million trust fund. That might seem like a low amount, but today that would be roughly $33 million. Now a single mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt whisked her namesake daughter from NYC to Europe.

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While mother Gloria traveled all over Europe, rubbing elbows with royals, her daughter was relegated to the care of her nanny. What followed was a high society rumpus worthy of even today’s tabloid news.

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See, the 21-year-old mother faced rumors that she engaged in lesbian affairs with well-connected married women. That wild streak ran in the family. Her identical twin was the famed mistress of Prince Edward VIII of Wales, another hot piece of gossip.

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So when Little Gloria required tonsilitis surgery, it was her Aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, namesake and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art, who brought her to recoup in her Long Island mansion. That brief stay turned into the most buzzed-about custody trial of all time.

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Aunt Gertrude declared Gloria Morgan an unfit mother. She claimed her connection to her child was solely financially driven, and that she just wanted the girl for her bank account so she could keep up her “sordid” lifestyle. All this controversy played out in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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In a one of a kind showdown, the rich smeared each other in court while Little Gloria sat in the middle, protected around the clock by 12 bodyguards. Ultimately, Aunt Gertrude won with a judge lambasting her mother’s character.

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The child’s permanent home became the lavish estate on Long Island. She received the best education money could buy, focused on the arts, her biggest passions, and rode the wave of socialite successes laid out by her family name.

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According to Gloria, her tumultuous early upbringing set her “on a lifelong quest for love and approval.” Somewhat unsurprisingly, the strikingly beautiful girl married young, at age 17 to 32-year-old Pat DiCicco, Hollywood agent by day, notorious mobster by night.

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The marriage was volatile. Gloria wore the wounds of abuse, recalling Pat’s fits of rage. He’d even bang her head against the walls. She escaped without sharing children with him, and weeks later tied the knot for a second time.

She wed 63-year-old conductor Leopold Stokowski when she was 21. During their 10-year relationship, they had two sons, Leopold and Christopher. And when it came time to sign the divorce papers, Gloria was thrust into a brutal custody battle of her own.

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It got rather nasty, with Leopold casting aspersions about her sanity and mothering. Despite the mudslinging, she won custody. Gloria sought therapy for her mental health struggles and was encouraged to channel her frustrations into artistry.

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Gloria tried her hand first at acting, where she admitted a fling with Frank Sinatra helped encourage her craft. Eventually, she pursued other mediums, but her ties to high-profile men caught a lot of attention.

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Back in her teen years, Gloria and director Howard Hughes nursed a secret passionate affair. She also admitted to a one night stand with actor Marlon Brando that she found disappointing.

Most controversial among her celebrity beaus was her longtime lover, photographer Gordon Parks. They met in 1954 when Gordon photographed her for LIFE magazine.

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The idea that a white railroad heiress and a black photographer were romantically involved in segregated America was front-page news. The strain drove the couple apart, but the two remained devoted friends until his death in 2006.

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But before that happened, out of all her suitors, Gloria decided to marry film director Sidney Lumet in 1956. Their 7-year marriage ended without their having children, and four months later, she walked down the aisle for her fourth and last time.

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Marrying Wyatt Cooper was the end of her search for love. In the screenwriter, she’d found her soulmate, and they welcomed two sons: Carter and Anderson Cooper.

Hollywood Reporter

The bubble of her perfect nuclear family burst when Wyatt suddenly died in 1978 on the operating table while he was undergoing heart surgery. Sadly, this wasn’t the worst family tragedy that the Coopers would endure.

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It was a scorcher of a July afternoon, and 23-year-old Carter, post break up with his girlfriend, moved back in with his mom. Gloria recounted how, her son, a Princeton grad with a good job, was acting totally out of character.

NY Post

Carter was in therapy and going through a rough patch, but Gloria knew his behavior was affected by something other than mental health. She’d asked if he was on drugs. He denied it.

The Sun

The details remain a mystery, but something caused Carter to climb out the window and move to the edge of the terrace wall. Gloria pleaded and coaxed her son to come back inside, but from 14 floors up, Carter let go of the terrace and fell to his death.

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“There was a moment when I thought I was going to jump after him, but then I thought of you,” Gloria shared with her son Anderson in an interview, “and it stopped me from doing that.”

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Losing Carter was the worst thing Gloria could imagine. She attributes his death to a psychotic episode as a side effect to a respiratory medication he’d recently begun. The only saving grace was her inseparable bond with Anderson.

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As an accomplished author, Gloria detailed her grief in her book, A Mother’s Story. She’d learned creating and artistry were her only means of coping. In her long life, she’d proved no matter the medium, her artistic voice resonated.

Wall Street Journal

Most people associate Gloria Vanderbilt with her blue jeans empire, which peaked throughout the’70. In reality, fashion was just one creative facet. She was also a painter, model, and poet.

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With her fashion brand, Gloria earned her own fortune, until she sold the company in 1978. It was her nature to always pursue the next artistic endeavor, no matter how bold. At the age of 85, she published an erotic novel called Obsession.

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Her choices may have shocked some, but Gloria truly did not care. In a life packed full of possibility and pain, she maintained a steadfast mindset: “I embrace it all — the pain and the pleasure, the drama, and the disappointments.”

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It’s not to say that the rich aren’t privileged, but Gloria’s complicated story shows just how unique the problems and pathways are for the children of the wealthiest families. Standing apart from a name like Vanderbilt or Rockefeller isn’t easy.

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Realistically speaking, Michael Rockefeller had the good life laid out before him: inherit part of the family fortune, manage family assets on the board of Standard Oil, work hard, and grow old. But that plan was about to go down the drain.

Despite being the fifth son of Nelson Rockefeller, the then-governor of New York, as well as the great-grandson of the robber baron John D. Rockefeller, Michael was more of a camera-and-paint guy than a pen-and-tie guy. In other words, he pursued art instead of business or politics.

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Just before Michael graduated from Harvard in 1960, his father—an avid art collector—launched the Museum of Primitive Art. It featured works from non-Western artists, like the Aztecs and Mayans, and this enthralled Michael…

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Determined to help his son follow his passions, Nelson placed Michael on the museum’s board of directors. The young Rockefeller seized the opportunity, but this still wasn’t enough for him.

Carl Hoffman via The Daily Mail

According to a Harvard classmate, Michael “wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before and to bring a major collection to New York.” He knew just where to look for it, too: then-Dutch New Guinea, a portion of the Papua region of Indonesia.

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The 23-year-old contacted the Dutch National Museum of Ethnology and, taking their advice, organized a team to visit, study, and collect art from the region’s Asmat tribe. As he soon discovered in detail, this journey would be a far cry from the wealthy life of Manhattan.

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After arriving in the village of Otsjanep, Michael was met with hesitation. While the Asmat had interactions with outsiders in the past—interactions Michael may have wished he studied—those meetings were rare.

Carl Hoffman / Smithsonian Magazine

Still, while visiting, he did his best to fit in and assimilate, and for the most part, he managed to do so. He obtained wooden masks, shields, spears, and other artifacts from the locals, and all seemed well. The differences in backgrounds, though, couldn’t be ignored.

Michael observed that in Asmat culture, it was the norm to engage in rituals that involved drinking urine and eating the remains of your wartime enemies. Engaged with the people and their culture, he didn’t notice the sidelong glances some of the Asmat cast towards him…

Michael left the island, but he wasn’t finished with his work there. The visit to Otsjanep had been as culturally enriching as he’d hoped, so he made a plan to return the following year—and that’s when it all went haywire.

It was November 1961 when Michael and his team returned to Otsjanep. Or, at least, they tried to. They were just 12 miles from the shore when their ship capsized. Michael, treading water, saw the shore on the horizon and decided to swim for it.

That was the last anyone ever saw Michael Rockefeller. At least, no one from America. In the wake of his son’s sudden disappearance, Nelson sent airplanes and ships looking for him and even flew to New Guinea to help search for him.

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Eventually, however, the Dutch Interior Minister called off the search. “There is no longer any hope of finding Michael Rockefeller alive,” he announced. The official cause of death? Drowning. Still, some weren’t so sure about that…

The media ran wild with the story of the governor’s son, a Rockefeller heir, going missing. Talking heads posed theories on his disappearance that ranged from shark attacks to him living secretly, wealth-free, on the island as a member of the tribe. The truth remained hidden for decades…

But, years later, National Geographic reporter Carl Hoffman wanted the truth. Although he was just a year old when Michael disappeared, he had long been fascinated with the infamous mystery. So, Carl traveled to Otsjanep himself and began to uncover the truth.

Carl Hoffman / Smithsonian Magazine

Claiming to be studying Asmat culture, Carl overheard—through his interpreter—islanders discussing an American tourist who’d been killed decades earlier on the island. Carl asked who this tourist was.

Carl Hoffman / Smithsonian Magazine

Interestingly enough, the islanders were eager to spill the beans. With little prodding, they told Carl all about the day an American washed ashore—the day they killed Michael Rockefeller.

Carl Hoffman via The Daily Mail

In fairness, the Asmat claimed the killing was justified. To understand why, they offered some context. Three years before Michael first visited them, Dutch officials had invaded Otsjanep in order to quell a tribal civil war that had erupted on the island. It didn’t go well.

Due to a misunderstanding, these Dutch colonialists ended up firing on the Asmat tribe, killing four of their leaders in the process. Years later, when Michael washed ashore exhausted, guess who he first encountered?

When Michael reached the shore of Otsjanep, he’d come face to face with the sons of the war leaders murdered by the Dutch soldiers. Whether it was fear or anger that drove these Asmats to kill Michael, they wouldn’t let the chance for revenge pass.

The aftermath, as Carl Hoffman described in a book he wrote on the subject, was brutal: the Asmat scalped him, ate his brain raw, cooked his flesh, and used his bones for tools. They drenched themselves in his blood. As they saw it, they had restored balance to the world.

Still, the Asmat had seen guns, thanks to the Dutch colonialists. They’d seen helicopters, thanks to the Americans. Had word of their killing gotten out, the tribe feared they would have been wiped out. So they resolved to keep Michael’s killing silent.

Carl Hoffman / Smithsonian Magazine

Whether the story happened like this is difficult to know. Most of the islanders told Carl they’d heard this one passed down for years, but it remains unconfirmed. Some have suggested that this was a fictional tale created decades ago to make the Asmat seem tougher in the face of impeding outsiders.

Still, one tribe leader claimed to have Michael’s skull amid his collection. Unfortunately, no amount of detective work will be able to conclusively determine what happened for Michael’s family.

Musee du Quai Branly / Scala / Art Resource, NY

The post Photos Of Zsa Zsa Gabor Are Exposing A Side The Public Hasn’t Seen appeared first on Her Moments.

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