December 20, 2016 11:55 am
Actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor died Sunday at age 99, her publicist confirmed to PEOPLE. She struggled with numerous health problems in recent years, and most recently was hospitalized for a lung infection this past February.
“I am pleased that she is finally out of her misery,” Gabor’s rep Ed Lozzi said in a statement. “For the past five years, Zsa Zsa has suffered chronic dementia, locked away in her mansion laying in a hospital bed being fed through tubes in her naval, not able to speak, see, write or hear. Nor knowing who she was or how famous she was.”
The glamorous Hungarian beauty starred in such films as 1952’s Moulin Rouge, 1953’s Lili, and 1954’s 3 Ring Circus, but there was no role that attracted more acclaim, vitriol, and attention than the one Zsa Zsa Gabor played her entire life: herself.
Long before Paris Hilton began sauntering down the red carpet to the befuddled stares of millions, Gabor occupied the slot of the Hollywood starlet who was, quite simply, “famous for being famous.” Some might argue that she even invented the archetype. Like Hilton after her, she was even part of a celebrity sister-act, of sorts. Her sister Eva, who died in 1995, is best remembered for hit TV show Green Acres. A third Gabor sister, actress Magda, died in 1997. Because all three were deliberately vague about their ages, it’s difficult to say with any certainty who was the oldest, middle, and youngest of the three. But this much is known: The three Gabors racked up 18 divorces between them.
Unlike Hilton, though, Gabor managed to earn the title of “celebrity” sans sex tape or successful father. Instead, the beauty queen-turned-actress rose to fame purely through her bubbly personality and sheer force of will – not to mention a dahling Hungarian accent that would spawn countless impersonations.