cover image Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend

Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend

Sam Staggs. Kensington, $26 (403p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1959-1

Celebrity biographer Staggs (Inventing Elsa Maxwell) dishes up an entertaining biography of the glamorous Gabor sisters: Eva, Magda, and Zsa Zsa. Beginning by parsing the contradictory versions of the Gabor family’s days in Hungary before and during WWII-era German occupation, Staggs is unapologetically fond of these three women, who were groomed by their controlling mother, Jolie, to pursue fame above all else. Eva and Zsa Zsa arrived in America shortly before WWII and were pursuing movie careers when, after the war, they were joined by the other Gabors. Magda and Eva strived to be taken seriously as actresses even as they and Zsa Zsa—content to headline B movies, perhaps most memorably in Queen of Outer Space—became better known for their tempestuous personal lives. Zsa Zsa’s ill-fated marriage to hotel magnate Conrad Hilton was tabloid fodder for years. As Hollywood’s studio system faded, Magda worked in regional theater, Eva found a signature role on Green Acres, and Zsa Zsa became a talk show regular. While readers may sometimes lose the narrative thread of Staggs’s painstakingly detailed account, his take on the Gabors—oft-derided in their day as exemplars of style over substance—as hardworking show business survivors is clear and refreshingly admiring. Pop culture buffs will just adore this penthouse view of the Gabors. Agent: Eric Myers, Eric Myers Agency. (Aug.)