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I can't say I looked forward to interviewing Zsa Zsa Gabor, whose primary talents seemed to be attracting rich men and generating stories for the tabloids. Because of her willingness to speak out on almost anything, she also was a popular talk show guest. I guess all this was enough to qualify her for celebrity status. Certainly she was more deserving than many of today's so-called celebrities. (The Kardashians and Paris Hilton come to mind, along with several participants in reality shows.)

However, Miss Gabor (or Mrs. Herbert Hutner, as she was at the time) proved to be an entertaining interview subject, having had more practice at it than most people. She also seemed to genuinely enjoy the attention, which made me wonder why so many men were willing to marry her, knowing full well they would then be referred to as Mr. Gabor.

The husband I met was number four on the list. Five more would follow. At this writing Zsa Zsa Gabor is still alive, but out of view. I've included links to two on line biographies; there's also a ton of other material that can be found via Google, including more details on the woman's wacky life.

I've reprinted the story that came out of my meeting with her almost 50 years ago. One correction up front: Her age at the time I met her was 46. She was a veritable Satchel Paige when I met her and while I hedged on the matter of her age, I led readers to believe she was two years younger than she really was, perhaps even younger than that.

The photo below appeared with my story in the Akron Beacon Journal, but there was no credit given. Usually I was accompanied by a staff photographer, but I think this one may have been taken by someone from "The Mike Douglas Show." Herbert Hutner seemed like a very nice guy, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. But, hey, he was a big boy and should have known what he was getting into.

Akron Beacon Journal, October 27, 1963

By JACK MAJOR

“Vhatevah you do, dolling, don’ szay zat I am an average housefrau.”

Thus Zsa Zsa Gabor concluded our recent interview. She thought the suggestion might be necessary because she realized that during her Cleveland visit with husband Herbert Hutner she did indeed act very much like an average housewife – quiet and unspectacular.

And if there’s one thing Zsa Zsa Gabor hates to be called, it’s “average,” no matter how fitting the description might be.

Her Cleveland appearance was typically gaudy and grand, but her behavior was subdued. It was enough to make you wonder what her fourth marriage has done to good ol’ Zsash (sometimes snidely referred to as Zsa Zsa The Bore). Perhaps it has shut her up, at long last.

I GOT MY first look at her just after she finished a day’s work on KYW’s “The Mike Douglas Show.” She and Douglas were taping a promo when I walked into the studio.

In the promo Douglas tells his guest, “Zsa Zsa, you’ve been wonderful. You’ve done so many things – cooked, given us a fashion show, told jokes. What will you do the next time you’re on the show?”

Miss Gabor smiles and replies, “Mike, dolling, I’ll do a striptease.”

At that point her frowning husband steps in and says, “I don’t think you should use that idea.”

And they didn’t.

HUBBY Herbert Hutner is not show business. He is billed as an industrialist who is chairman of the board at Struther Wells Corporation, an engineering firm in Harrison, N. Y.

His marriage has moved him to California in the house that Zsa Zsa built. It also has given him a new name – Mr. Gabor. (Twice I heard him called that during the Cleveland visit.)

There is nothing pushy about Hutner. He is a warm, friendly guy who understands his situation and bends over backward to be nice to people. He also seems to have a beer taste to go with his champagne budget. For example, his idea of the best way to spend an evening is to watch a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game, especially against the San Francisco Giants.

However, his opportunities are limited. He says he has talked his wife into going to the stadium few times, but she says she still hates baseball. “Dolling, I’d rather see a bullfight or a polo match.”

Thus Zsa Zsa rules the roost in the Hunter home in deciding WHAT they’ll do. HOW they do it is her husband’s domain. He’s willing to let her take the spotlight, so long as she conducts herself the way a Mrs. Hutner should, and not in the gadabout, gold-digging, femme-fatale fashion that better fits her image.

ZSA ZSA GABOR, you may recall, is a veteran of three previous marriages, at least two unsuccessful engagements and so many brief love affairs she might well be the world record holder in that department. Additionally, she always has had the good publicity sense to have romances with men in the news.

She was married first to a Turkish diplomat, Turham Belge; then to hotelman Conrad Hilton, and then to actor George Sanders, who helped launch Zsa Zsa’s Hollywood career.

Her between-marriage boyfriends have included playboy Porfirio Rubirosa and Lt. Gen. Rafael Trujillo Jr., son of the former Dominican Republic dictator.

The men in her life usually had one thing in common: money.

CONGRESS actually started an investigation over one of them – Trujillo. He gave Zsa Zsa a $17,000 coat and a $5,600 car in 1958 and our government suspected the gifts were purchased with money we sent to the Dominican Republic in foreign aid. They weren’t.

Zsa Zsa was always willing to talk about her affairs ... until she married Hutner. How long will she remain so considerate? Forever, she insists.

“I am a successful wife,” she reasoned. “My first three marriages failed because my husbands weren’t successful husbands.”

A hint of the old Zsa Zsa surfaced during her comments on her Cleveland visit.

“Zey have me do zo many endorsements, dolling, and I’m doing zem for free. Uzshally I get paid to do zem. I was in Detroit a few years ago and mentioned ze new Thunderbird on ze air. A week later I got a new Thunderbird free. Zat’s ze kind of little gesture zat I appreciate.”

WHILE SHE admits to a lot of things, she has never admitted being a gold-digger, except for conversation’s sake

Five years ago, she said, a friend tried to fix her up with a handsome Texas millionaire. Zsa Zsa said she was interested, but had too many television and movie jobs to do.

“Before I knew it, two years went by. One day I picked up a magazine and saw ze millionaire was married. I said, ‘My God, there goes my husband.’ I never even met him."

And all because she was pursuing a career. Or so she said.

Zsa Zsa rests her case (against the gold-digging charge) by claiming, “Before I was married to Herbert, I met five of the richest men in the country and every one of them proposed to me.”

But Zsash is no hypocrite. “Every woman who is honest will admit she would rather marry a rich man than a poor one.”

SHE HAS two other continuing battles.

The first is her age, and in that department one thing is clear – she is either 44, 40 or 38. (She was Miss Hungary in 1936, so if she’s 38 now, she was only 11 years old when she won the beauty contest.)

Her second battle concerns her career. Many people think Zsa Zsa Gabor has done a remarkably long way on a woefully small amount of acting talent.

“Zat’s ze trouble wiz everybody. Zey tink of me only as a woman who is always talking. Zey remember me for being on ze Jack Paar Show.

“Zen some people tink of me as a comedienne, but I’m not, dolling. I’m an actress and I’ve done many movies and plays.”

Then she lists her credits, carefully omitting the fact that if you combined all her roles you probably wouldn’t get enough dialogue to fill a page.

She has performed more “cameo” roles than any actress I know. It would seem to indicate that as an actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is better seen than heard.

But as a personality she has got to be heard. Shut Zsa Zsa up and what do you have?

An average housefrau!

 

 

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Barbara Barrie Eric Fleming Hugh O'Brian
Bill Bixby Peter Fonda Pat O'Brien
George Burns Anthony Franciosa Gene Pitney
Michael Callan Annette Funicello Martha Raye
Richard Chamberlain Zsa Zsa Gabor Della Reese
Leslie Charleson Beverly Garland Carl Reiner
Petula Clark Jackie Gleason Barbara Rush
Dabney Coleman Merv Griffin Robert Ryan
Robert Conrad Mark Harman Henry Silva
Bill Cosby Patricia Harty Julie Sommars
Joseph Cotten Marty Ingels Barbra Streisand
Bob Crane Jack Jones The Three Stooges
Richard Crenna Jack Kelly The Supremes
Ken Curtis Dave Ketchum Dick Van Dyke
Bill Dana Sue Ane Langdon Jerry Van Dyke
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Sammy Davis Jr. Jack Lord Clint Walker
Richard Deacon George Maharis Ray Walston
Bob Denver Jackie Mason Betty White
James Drury Raymond Massey Andy Williams
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