Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to Zsa Zsa Gabor!

Good News! She's been through some terrible health situations of late, but she's evidently leaving the hospital today to celebrate her 94th birthday! Zsa Zsa Gabor, glamour girl of the 1950s and international celebrity since then, has been a mainstay on television for much of her career, with appearances on talk shows, dramas and many comedies. Playing herself as well as different characters, Zsa Zsa was always a sparkling presence, exhibiting a keen comic timing as well as being just plain gorgeous.

We fondly remember her guest roles on many of the most popular series of their era, including Mister Ed, My Three Sons, Batman, Night Gallery, Name of the Game, The Rounders, Burke's Law, The Danny Thomas Show, Gilligan's Island (right) and many others, including a large number of anthology dramas. Period pieces often exploited her Hungarian heritage to cast her as an exotic beauty, such as in Bonanza where she played a gypsy charmer who tells Hoss' fortune, and F Troop (left) where she played another beautiful gypsy wanderer.

We particularly love her in this Mister Ed episode. She's a vision as we see her for the first time, plus if you haven't seen the show in a while, Mister Ed is really funny. A great comedy performance by Alan Young as Wilbur, as well as from the supporting cast of seasoned veterans, including Jack Albertson in a guest role here, makes Mister Ed a continuing treat, and it's available on Hulu!

We also like her in this guest appearance as one of the Mystery Guests on What's My Line?. If you want contemporary proof of what a celebrity she really was, listen to the gasps of delight as she enters and signs her name on the chalkboard. They love her, and she is radiant. (Not sure which of her four times as the Mystery Guest is one is; she appeared in 1953, 1957, 1959 and 1960. This looks like either 1953 or 1957 to me, though.)

To show you how game she was for anything, here are some clips from her appearance on the syndicated Sha Na Na comedy/variety series, from the late 1970s.

Zsa Zsa was a frequent and beloved guest on talk shows everywhere. She was a favorite of Johnny Carson (remember the famous "pussy" reference which never actually happened?), as well as every other talk show of the day (and there were plenty). Merv Griffin was a big fan of hers, and Zsa Zsa was also a recurring guest on game shows like The Hollywood Squares. Zsa Zsa Gabor was everywhere, including Australia in 1987 where she appeared on one of the hilarious The Dame Edna Experience specials, starring Barry Humphries as the completely amazing and beloved Dame Edna. Here's a clip from that one:

We also love her in this commercial for Lawry's Salt, which just happens to be my favorite seasoning salt and has been a mainstay in my kitchen (and my father's before me) for ever and always!

The Flaming Nose offers Best Wishes for a Happy Birthday to Zsa Zsa Gabor, a genuine show-biz survivor!

1 comment:

Toby O'B said...

Just watched her last week in the "Who Killed Cable Roberts?" episode of 'Burke's Law'. She played the victim's maid and later Detective Tim Tilson went out with her. I guess he liked the older women, but I also think he never would have guessed she was older than him....

Unfairly she was treated as a joke for a long time, especially after her arrest, but she was a bright spot on our TV screens for all the right reasons!