Who was Eva Gabor?
The late Hungarian-American actress Eva Gabor was born in Budapest, Hungarian Republic on 11 February 1919, meaning that Aquarius was her zodiac sign. She was active in the film industry from 1941 until her death in 1995, and appeared in 83 TV series and movies; Eva’s perhaps still remembered best for voicing the main character Miss Bianca in the critically acclaimed 1977 animated adventure comedy movie “The Rescuers”, directed by John Lounsbery and Wolfgang Reitherman, and which also starred Bob Newhart and Geraldine Page. It follows two mice which are members of the Rescue Aid Society, as they’re searching for a human girl who’s been kidnapped; the movie won two awards and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song.
Education and early life
Eva was raised in Budapest alongside her two older sisters, by their Hungarian Jewish parents; their father Vilmos was a soldier, and mother Jolie a jeweler.
Not a lot has been disclosed about Eva’s early life, because she preferred to keep these details to herself; she matriculated from a local high school in 1937, and in the same year married, moved to the US, and then began attending auditions for movie roles, soon launching her acting career.
Roles in movies
Eva’s debut film role was playing Johanna Van Deuren in the 1941 adventure “Forced Landing”, while some of her following roles were in the romantic musical “New York Town” and mystery “Pacific Blackout” both in 1941, and the 1942 musical comedy “Star Spangled Rhythm”.
She gained recognition when cast to play Countess Demidow in the 1945 historical comedy “A Royal Scandal”, directed by Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch, and which starred Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn and Anne Baxter. It follows Russian Lieutenant Chernov who’s fallen in love with Empress Catherine the Great, while she’s now appointed him Chief of the Imperial Guard. The remainder of the ‘40s saw Eva appear in the 1946 romantic adventure “The Wife of Monte Cristo” and the 1949 romantic musical “Song of Surrender”.
What marked the ‘50s for her was perhaps starring as Claire Ormond in the 1954 drama “The Mad Magician”, directed by John Brahm, and which also starred Vincent Price and Mary Murphy; it follows an illusionist whose magic secrets have been stolen. Some of Eva’s other film roles in the decade were in the 1954 action adventure “Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl”, the 1957 musical mystery comedy “My Man Godfrey”, and the 1958 crime drama “Touch of Evil”.
In 1963, she portrayed Felicienne Courbeau in the romantic comedy “A New Kind of Love”, written and directed by Melville Shavelson, and which also starred Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Thelma Ritter. It follows journalist Steve Sherman as he’s interviewing Samantha Blake, whom he mistakenly believes to be a high-priced call girl, and the film was nominated for four awards, including two Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Music, Scoring of Music.
Eva voiced the lead character Duchess in the evergreen 1970 animated adventure comedy “The Aristocats”, directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, and which also starred Phil Harris and Sterling Holloway. It follows a butler who’s kidnapped a family of Parisian felines after learning that their caretaker’s left them all of her fortune – the movie won three awards.
Eva had only three roles in the ‘70s: in the above mentioned 1977 animated adventure comedy “The Rescuers” (voice role), the 1978 comedy “Almost Heaven”, and the 1979 animated family fantasy “Nutcracker Fantasy” (voice role).
She had roles in only four more films prior to her death, with her three final roles having been in the comedy “Return to Green Acres”, the animated adventure comedy “The Rescuers Down Under” (voice role), and the comedy “Close Encounters”, all released in 1990.
Roles in TV series
Eva’s debut TV series appearance was in the 1949 episode “A Lodging for the Night” of the drama “Your Show Time”, and the following a couple of years saw her appear in an episode of the crime mystery “The Adventures of Ellery Queen”, the horror mystery “Tales of Tomorrow” and the drama “Pulitzer Prize Playhouse”.
What marked the ‘50s for her was perhaps playing Elissa Carlton in two episodes (1956) of the drama “Climax!”, which starred William Lundigan, Art Gilmore and Mary Costa, while each episode presented a different story; the series aired from 1954 through 1958 and was nominated for 16 awards.
From 1965 through 1971, Eva starred as Lisa Douglas in all the 170 episodes of the critically acclaimed family comedy “Green Acres”, created by Jay Sommers, and which also starred Eddie Albert and Tom Lester. It follows a lawyer and his wife from New York City who’ve moved to Hooterville, and the series was nominated for four awards. The ‘70s then saw Eva appear in an episode of the comedy “Big Eddie”, the crime family drama “Ellery Queen” and the crime drama “Rosetti and Ryan”.
The year 1986 saw her play Maria Talbot in the drama “Bridges to Cross”, which starred Suzanne Pleshette, Nicolas Surovy and Jose Ferrer, and follows the divorced couple Peter Cross and Tracy Bridges as they’re working at the same newspaper.
Eva’s final three TV series roles were in a 1991 episode of the comedy “Dream On”, the 1992 episode “Honey’s First Job” of the comedy “Hi Honey, I’m Home”, and the 1994 episode “Who Killed Romeo?” of the crime mystery “Burke’s Law”.
Remembering Eva Gabor, The actress who played Lisa Douglas in Green Acres and voiced Duchess in The Aristocats and Miss Bianca in The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. #EvaGabor pic.twitter.com/Zz7Df4NoOL
— Jake with the Ob (@mnralphie) February 12, 2019
Eva sang songs in five movies and two TV series, including “I Met Him in Paris” in the 1941 film “Pacific Blackout”, “Cancan” in the 1963 film “A New Kind of Love”, and “Green Acres” in the 1989 film “Green Acres, We Are There: Nick at Nite’s TV Talk Show”.
Some of Eva’s final talk-show appearances were in “Vicki!”, “AFI Life Achievement Award” and “Hollywood Women”.
Awards and nominations
Eva received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 23 October 1984.
She was nominated for five awards: a 1958 Golden Laurel Award for Top Female Comedy Performance, for “Don’t Go Near the Water”, three Photoplay Gold Medals for Variety Star in 1975, 1976 and 1978, and a 2004 TV Land Award for Favorite ‘Fish Out of Water’, for “Green Acres” (posthumously).
Love life and marriages
Eva was married five times, but didn’t have children. Her first husband was Swedish-born American masseur, psychologist and osteopath Eric Valdemar Drimmer; they married on June 1937 in London, England and divorced in Los Angeles on 6 March 1942. Eva claimed that the reason behind their divorce was that she wanted to have children, and he didn’t.
She married her second husband, American investment broker Charles Isaacs on 27 September 1943, and their divorce was finalized on 2 April 1949.
Eva’s third husband was American plastic surgeon John Elbert Williams; they exchanged vows on 8 April 1956, but divorced on 20 March 1957.
She married her fourth husband, American textile manufacturer, screenwriter and director Richard Brown on 4 October 1959, and divorced him in June 1973.
On this day in 1919, Eva Gabor was born. The Hungarian-American actress, businesswoman, singer, and socialite. She was…
Posted by Antenna TV on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Eva and her fifth husband Frank Gard Jameson Sr., the late American aerospace executive and vice president of Rockwell International married on 21 September 1973 and divorced in 1983.
She was also in a relationship with Canadian-American actor Gwyllyn Samuel Newton ‘Glenn’ Ford in 1957, and from 1984 until her death, Eva was in a relationship with American TV show host and media mogul Mervyn Edward Griffin Jr. Eva believed that every marriage was an experiment, and that it would be a shame if a person had only married once.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Eva was passionate about fashion, and launched her fashion collection ‘Eva Gabor’ in 1972, in collaboration with American fashion designer Luis Estevez. She was also a huge fan of diamonds and velvet.
Both of Eva’s sisters were married to the late American actor and screenwriter George Sanders: Zsa Zsa from 1949 through 1954, and Magda in 1970 and 1971.
Death, appearance and wealth
Eva died from pneumonia and respiratory failure aged 76 on 4 July 1995 (Independence Day), after falling in a bathtub. She was outlived by her mother, as she died two years after Eva.
She had brown eyes and hair, was 5ft 2ins (1.59m) tall and weighed around 115lbs (52kgs).
Eva’s net worth was estimated at over $30 million at the time of her passing.