What is this thing called Zsa Zsa Gabor?

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On this day in 1917, in Budapest, Hungary, Zsa Zsa Gabor was born. Crowned Miss Hungary in 1936, she moved to the U.S. 5 years later and went on to star in more than 70 movies, but was arguably most famous for her witty one-liners, her flamboyant lifestyle, and her nine marriages. She also took no nonsense, and over the years I’ve found a number of letters written by Gabor to magazines in response to coverage she deemed unreasonable—and believe me, it happened often. The one I’ve reprinted below was sent in 1953 to Photoplay magazine, one of the first publications to truly embrace celebrity culture—the TMZ of its day, perhaps—and which, unsurprisingly, featured Gabor in countless issues. In this instance, Gabor had noticed yet another snarky letter, this time from a reader named Lou Sullivan, and she wasn’t going to let it slide.

My curiosity is piqued by Lou Sullivan, of Lexington, Kentucky, who wrote Readers, Inc.

“What is this thing called Zsa Zsa Gabor? She certainly can’t act, isn’t beautiful (as some people say) and can’t even talk plain.”

I shall answer this candid Kentuckian who wields the critical bludgeon as determinedly as Daniel Boone swung his axe. “This thing called Zsa Zsa Gabor” is a woman who strongly suspects that Lou Sullivan is deeply disturbed by the female of the species and, unwilling to admit it or accept it, lashes out with male bluster to convince himself and others that he is a man.

Lou, darling, don’t fight women! It’s no sign of masculine weakness to be preoccupied with them. They’re really delightful creatures. You give yourself away, but utterly, when you feel impelled to beat them down with ungallant repudiation. A man who’s well adjusted to the opposite sex would never expose himself and his weakness as you have.

As for not being beautiful, not being able to act, or “even talk plain,” I am defenselessly intrigued. At least I’m glad that despite my limitations in English I was able to put over a message to you.

I hope someday to meet Lou Sullivan. There’s a chance that I can talk him out of the blinding shame that he’s suffering at the moment about his attraction to women.


Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor | Letter to Photoplay | Apr 1953


Sept 5, 1969

Re your comment in the Buckley-Vidal story: George Sanders didn't divorce me, I divorced him.

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor | Letter to Time | 5 Sep 1969

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