80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter

Bettmann/CORBIS

The unstoppable Gabors were pioneers of self-made celebrity.

A half-century before the Kardashians made famous-for-being-famous into a pop-media empire, there were the Gabor sisters. Zsa Zsa, Magda and Eva were born in Hungary around the time of World War I; by their 20s or early 30s, all had immigrated to the U.S. — and eventually they racked up 20 rich husbands among them. Zsa Zsa, 94 and in failing health, found early fame from marrying Conrad Hilton (she’s Paris Hilton’s ex-step-great-grandmother) and film roles like John Huston’s Moulin Rouge (1952). The director, however, was quoted in THR’s Rambling Reporter column as saying, “Gabor has EVERYTHING, except talent!’’ Eva, who died in 1995, is known best as the Manhattan housewife-turned-reluctant agrarian in Green Acres, but she also was Merv Griffin’s “girlfriend” during the 1990s. Socialite extraordinaire Magda, who passed in 1997, was less media-immersed than her younger sisters, but she did snag six husbands, including (briefly) actor George Sanders, an ex of Zsa Zsa’s. If only they’d had the pioneering foresight to have camera crews follow them everywhere.

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