Sam Staggs

Culled from new interviews with family, colleagues, and confidantes, and the unpublished memoirs of the author’s friend Francesca Hilton, FINDING ZSA ZSA introduces a Gabor family that even their fans and followers never knew. It’s a riveting, outrageously funny, bittersweet, and affectionately honest read of four women who were vulnerable, tough, charitable, endlessly fascinating, and (always!) glamorous to a fault.

For decades, the Gabor dynasty was the epitome of fairy tale success. But as biographer, film historian, Gabor family friend, and Dallas resident Sam Staggs reveals, behind the headlines is a true story more dramatic, fabulous, and surprising than their self-styled legend would have you believe.

In 1945, after barely escaping Hitler’s invasion of Hungary, three members of the Gabor family arrived in New York City: Jolie, her ex-husband Vilmos, and their daughter Magda. In Hollywood, their other daughters, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Eva Gabor, had worked throughout the war years to secure the family's rescue from the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews. Stepping off the boat, Jolie, the iron-willed matriarch, had a golden future mapped out for her sharp-witted, cosmopolitan beauties.
Over the next six decades, with twenty-three husbands between them (suave All About Eve star George Sanders would wed both Zsa Zsa AND Magda), scores of lovers, and roller-coaster rides in film, television, theater, and business, the Gabors carved a niche in entertainment that made them world-famous pop-culture icons. They were elegant yet gloriously bawdy, addictively watchable, and always making headlines in gossip and showbiz columns. But beneath the artifice of Dior and diamonds was another side to the story they never revealed: the truth. 
This first verifiable history of the Gabors casts a startling new light on these extraordinary women. FINDING ZSA ZSA reveals  tumultuous battles between mother and daughter, sister and sister, wife and husband ... Eva’s “bearded” romance with Merv Griffin that allowed them both to seek same-sex lovers ... Zsa Zsa’s involuntary confinement in a mental hospital and lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder ... and Zsa Zsa's last (unconsummated) marriage to the manipulating faux prince Frederic von Anhalt. 

Here too is the untold story of Zsa Zsa’s daughter, Francesca Hilton, a gifted photographer who eschewed the Gabor lifestyle. She paid a sad price for her independence. And the story of family patriarch Vilmos Gabor, who returned to Hungary only to be trapped behind the Iron Curtain, reads like a Cold War spy thriller. 


Sam Staggs is the author of six books, including four biographies of movies: All About “All About Eve”; Close-up on “Sunset Boulevard”; When Blanche Met Brando: The Scandalous Story of “A Streetcar Named Desire”; and Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of “Imitation of Life.” He has written for publications including Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest, and Opera News. He lives in Dallas.

Saturday, August 3rd, 6:00PM
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Dallas, TX 75230

Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors behind the Legend

By Sam Staggs

ISBN: 9781496719591
Availability: Special Order
Published: 2019-07-30T04:00:00.21Z

Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors behind the Legend Cover Image
Currently Out of Stock - No ETA
ISBN: 9781496719591
Published: Kensington - July 30th, 2019