Sunday 18 August 2019

Hollywood says final farewell to 'Hollywood icon' Zsa Zsa Gabor

A memorial service for the Hungarian-born star was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills
A memorial service for the Hungarian-born star was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills

Hollywood has said its final farewell to Zsa Zsa Gabor at the actress and socialite's funeral.

Gabor died at the age of 99 after suffering a heart attack at her home in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, on December 18.

An intimate memorial service was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills on Friday, hosted by her widower Frederic Prinz von Anhalt.

An urn containing Gabor's ashes was taken into the church in a Louis Vuitton bag and placed next to a photograph of the Hungarian-born star with the words "farewell my love".

Gabor's ninth husband von Anhalt, 73, paid tribute to his late wife and said his life was "empty" without her.

"She left peacefully. It was beautiful the way she passed," he said.

"She was a good woman. She helped people, especially the homeless.

"She loved the red carpet. Her life was red carpet or nothing else.

"Keep her in your heart the way she was in Hollywood."

Von Anhalt, who married Gabor in 1986, said he had brought his wife's ashes in a Louis Vuitton dog bag because of her love of dogs.

"I was my wife's partner. I was her best friend," he added.

"It was my duty, and it's the duty of any husband or any wife, to care for your partner.

"My wife was my life. Right now my life is empty. I was glued to my partner."

Father Ed Benioff, who led the service, hailed Gabor as a "Hollywood icon" with a "sensitive side".

"She epitomised and personified Hollywood glamour," he said.

After the service, von Anhalt said Gabor would be laid to rest in Hungary next to her late father.

Gabor had suffered from ill health since being partly paralysed in a car accident in 2002 and suffering a stroke in 2005.

Delivering the eulogy, German entrepreneur von Anhalt claimed Gabor was unaware for many months that her leg had been amputated in later life following an infection.

"She looked down and said 'there's a leg missing'," he told the congregation.

"I said, 'I'm your leg'. We moved on. We had fun."

He also recalled Gabor's friendships with the late Elizabeth Taylor and Kirk Douglas, who von Anhalt said "coached" Gabor as her health problems mounted.

Gabor, the great aunt of Paris Hilton, was better known for her string of marriages - totalling nine if a quickly annulled shipboard ceremony is included - than her work on-screen.

Born in Budapest in 1917, she started her career in the 1940s and went from being a beauty queen to a millionaire's wife and a major public figure.

The late Michael Winner, who directed her in the 1976 film Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood, once described her as largely playing a thinly veiled version of herself.

"She played Zsa Zsa Gabor the actress in real life," Winner said in 2013.

She was also known for her wit, having once said: "I am a marvellous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house."

Gabor outlived older sister Magda and younger sister Eva, who were also actresses and socialites. Her only child, actress Francesca Hilton, died last year aged 67.

The family was dealt another tragedy following Gabor's death after it was confirmed her adopted son, Oliver Prinz von Anhalt, had died.

He was involved in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles on December 10 and died on Christmas Day - a week after Gabor's death.

PA Media

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