PERFORMING ARTS

Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend

Kensington. Jul. 2019. 352p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781496719591. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781496719614. FILM
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Living by their own rules, the Hungarian sisters Zsa Zsa, Eva, and Magda Gabor, plus their controlling mother, Jolie, entertained and outraged America and the world for decades. With their heavy accents, quick wit, wigs, and jewels, they were perfect material for talk shows and gossip columns. Staggs (All About All About Eve; Close-Up on Sunset Boulevard), a longtime observer of all things Gabor, offers as truthful a biography of the family as we’re likely to get. The women were much married, with 23 husbands among them—Zsa Zsa (born Sári) had nine husbands, including actor George Sanders and hotel tycoon Conrad Hilton, plus countless lovers. As the author sees it, Zsa Zsa lacked the discipline and work ethic to sustain a meaningful career and was hobbled by lifelong bipolar disorder and a later nervous breakdown. Eva was the most serious actress, while Magda, hardened by her wartime experiences, was the most realistic. While the Gabors were frequently hilarious, Staggs doesn’t neglect the dark side of their story.

VERDICT The Gabors lived full lives, and by the end of this book, readers may be as exhausted as the Gabors must have been. Still, this wild ride is recommended for fans of the actors and lovers of tell-alls.

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