Legendary celebrity Zsa Zsa Gabor suffered a stroke Wednesday afternoon and is listed in critical condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s intensive care unit, NBC Los Angeles affiliate KNBC reports.
A family member who asked not to be identified told NBC 4 that Gabor, 89, suffered the stroke at 5 p.m. at her Beverly Hills home and was taken by ambulance to the hospital and underwent four hours of surgery to repair an artery.
“She is recovering right now, and we have to see,” her husband, Frederic von Anhalt, told Reuters on Thursday. “The doctors are very optimistic that she will recover. The operation was successful.”
The Hungarian-born Gabor, the great-aunt of Paris Hilton (through her 1942-47 marriage to hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, one of Gabor’s nine husbands), has long been credited as being the first celebrity who was famous for being famous. Her love affairs and marriages made headlines more than her movie work, though she appeared in three 1950s Hollywood classics, Moulin Rouge, Lili and Touch of Evil.
Gabor’s one child, daughter Francesca Hilton, was born in 1947 after the divorce from Hilton became final. Mother and daughter were said to have a contentious relationship, and last month Zsa Zsa took Francesca to court amid claims that her daughter had stolen $2 million from her to buy a house. Hilton denied the claims and told the court that Gabor gave her the property, which she has lived in since 1982, “free and clear” in 1998.
Besides Conrad Hilton, Gabor’s most famous husband was actor George Sanders, to whom she was wed from 1949-54. Her current marriage, to Frederic von Anhalt (they married in 1986), gave Zsa Zsa the title Princess von Anhalt, Duchess of Saxony.
Since the 1995 death of her sister, Green Acres star Eva Gabor, and their mother, Jolie Gabor, two years later, the once high-profile Zsa Zsa has been in virtual seclusion. In November of 2002, she was involved as a passenger in an automobile accident that reportedly left her in a coma for a short time and then paralyzed.
Among her many notable quotes, Zsa Zsa is once said to have uttered: “I am not a name-dropper. I can’t help it if everybody I know is famous.”