"They are the most infamous sisters in show biz" declared Danforth Prince, publisher of a new book about the glamorous Gabor sisters. He was speaking at the Broward County library in Ft. Lauderdale about a book just written by Darwin Porter, a former bureau chief of the Miami Herald newspaper. Porter, now 70, is also author of a new book about Linda Lovelace's Deep Throat and the upcoming Pink Triangle, an expose about Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote.
This massive and richly-detailed book about the Gabors unearths more skeletons than Michael Jackson did in Thriller.
"We are utterly fascinated by the concept of fame in America," Prince said, referring to both himself and Porter, who lived with the godmother to the Gabor sisters for three years.
Prince's publishing house has 35 back titles, but this one is special for him. "My spaniel was named Zsa Zsa. It was on Zsa Zsa Gabor that I had a crush."
He spent much of his presentation talking about Zsa Zsa, the only one of the sisters who is still alive. He mentioned her "brief affair with King Zog of Albania" which was followed by another affair with Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Naturally she also had a fling with President Kennedy. It seems she had a relationship with virtually every famous man with money and power.
But not all her flings went well. "Zsa Zsa claimed she was raped by King Farouk of Egypt," Prince said, and "Porfirio Rubirosa, who had a huge penis, gave her a black eye." She even met Hitler before World War II, and became notorious when she had a public affair with Ramfis Trujillo, son of the dictator of the Dominican Republic. "She was denounced on the floor of the United States Senate for that affair," relates Prince.
"She understood better than anyone the fine art of conversation, but got her camp reputation by appearing in some perfectly awful movies such as Queen of Outer Space and The Girl in the Kremlin."
Eva Gabor "was the most Americanized of the three," said Prince, and is famous for her television starring role in Green Acres. The other Gabor sister, Magda, achieved widespread fame in Europe as the Countess of Warsaw. She once attended a party by Nicholas Horthy, the regent of Hungary. She spotted a handsome man there, phoned her sister Eva to hurry over to the party, and hooked them up as man and wife! Magda and Zsa Zsa were very competitive, and both of them married George Sanders (he abused Zsa Zsa, and his marriage to Magda was annulled after 6 weeks).
Prince described Magda as "the most easily woundable" of the three sisters. Her last years were tragic, as a fall robbed her of the power of speech, a cruel fate for a lady who spoke six languages.
The book, interspersed with dozens of small B&W images, exposes every scandalous event you can imagine. Here is just one. When Eva attended her first party in New York, the hostess was Tallulah Bankhead who threw open the door quite naked. She later passed around a platter of cocaine for her guests, and was not adverse to unzipping the trousers of her husband to show the guests his genitals.
Not for the faint of heart, this book is a great addition to an understanding not just of Hollywood but European culture in the 20th century.
Those Glamorous Gabors: Bombshells from Budapest (752 pages) is $24.95 from Blood Moon Press. Visit their website: bloodmoonproductions.com