Almost five years after her death, the ashes of Hungarian-born American diva Zsa Zsa Gabor were laid to rest in Fiumei út cemetery in Budapest on Tuesday.
The widow, Prince Frédéric von Anhalt, opened the commemoration with a speech in which he stressed that this was not a funeral, but a celebration of Zsa Zsa’s life, as the former artist would have wanted.
He talked about the Golden Globe-winning actress’s life, how she began her carrer. In 1936 she won the title of Miss Hungary, awarded to Hungarian beauty queens. After her move to Hollywood in 1941, she quickly made a name for herself.
She first appeared in “Lovely to Look At” (1952) at the age of 35, followed by “We’re Not Married!” starring Ginger Rogers. She appeared on screen as the female lead in “Moulin Rouge”, directed by Oscar-winning director John Huston.
“She was 17 years old, beautiful, most beautiful sexy girl, she left Hungary decades ago, and she went to New York and Los Angeles.”
“When they arrived in Los Angeles, Merv Griffin, he said – the Gabors, they were here, somebody pulled them down, are they come from heaven? Or… Somebody pulled them down. We have to do something.”
“They took advantage of them they put them in movies, television shows, modeling they could do anything. Because they came from Hungary and Hungarians can do anything. I know because I was together with Zsa Zsa for 35 years, so I know how Hungarian she was. Hollywood didn’t talk about the Gabors, they said “those Hungarians.” – said Frédéric von Anhalt
Actor Tibor Pintér, the director of the National Equestrian Theatre, arrived with a white horse and performed Frank Sinatra’s My Way. “This song really fits Zsa Zsa, she always did it her way.” – said Prince Frédéric von Anhalt after the performance.
Éva Vándor, a Jászai Mari Award-winning actress, who lent her voice to Zsa Zsa Gabor as a dubbing actress, remembers Zsazsa as a brave woman of great talent and regrets that they never met. She feels that the most difficult of her works was “A Love Boat”, in which she had to voice Zsa Zsa.
Béla Bunyik, the founding president and director of the Los Angeles Hungarian Film Festival, came from Los Angeles to attend the commemoration.
He tells a story when did an interview back in the day with Zsa Zsa for his tv show Hungary Today. He was surprised because he met an open, friendly, kind person in Zsa Zsa.
“It was a memory that has stayed with me for the rest of my life, it was a significant event, so I’m glad I had the chance to say a few words here.” – said Béla Bunyik
Balázs Bokor, President of the Hungarian Hollywood Council remembered Zsa Zsa as the first real celebrity who started as a beauty queen and easily wowed everyone overseas before the age of social media.
He believes that Zsa Zsa Gabor’s story will not end with his ashes being laid to rest. The council believes it is important to preserve the memory of the Hungarian-rooted Hollywood personality and to make him widely known, so they are planning to make a film about the life of Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Miklós Seszták, Hungary’s former Minister of National Development, also gave a speech, saying that Zsa Zsa’s name was a household word and that everyone saw the actress as a diva, a perfect example of how to be successful in Hollywood as a Hungarian.
After the speeches, the ashes of Zsa Zsa were laid in the grave by his widow while the orchestra played. The urn was accompanied by a rosary and a wreath of Zsa Zsa’s favorite flower, the yellow rose.
Frédéric von Anhalt kneeled down for a moment before the grave was covered, and the widow symbolically scattered clumps of gravel with her hand and then with a shovel on the final resting place of her former partner.