Socialite, Actress. Magdolna Gábor is most remembered as the beautiful, vivacious, red-headed socialite with a thick Hungarian accent, her six marriages and her attempt to be an actress. She was the oldest and the only red-headed of the three Gabor sisters. Recognized for being the smartest of the three, she spoke at least a dozen different languages, had a good business sense, yet was least known to the public. The three sisters had a childhood of expensive boarding schools, vacations at summer resorts and living in a estate with servants. She had her silver screen break in two 1937 Hungarian comedies with supporting roles, “Tokaji Rhapsody” and “Today's Girls”. She was the only one of sisters who was not able to reach the dream of starring on the Hollywood silver screen. She married for the first time on November 19, 1937 to Jan Bychowsky, a penniless Polish count who was a pilot with the British Royal Air force; he died during World War II in 1944. During World War II at a risk for her life, she drove a Red Cross truck, was involved in the resistance movement and helped the Jewish population escape the Nazis invasion. Having a Jewish heritage, she too escaped her native country heading for the United States where her sisters were. Since she was a close companion of the Portuguese ambassador to Hungary, Carlo Sampaio Garrido, she was in his home country by 1944. Gabor arrived in the United States in February 1946, by the way of Brazil. Within a year of her arrival she married an American citizen, William Rankin, thus remaining in the country. She helped her mother establish her successful jewelry store on Madison Avenue in New York City. Her mother Jolie Furmann was a heiress to an European jewelry business and her father Valmos Gabor was a soldier. Valmos was a strict parent and disappointed that he did not have sons. Her parents divorced during World War II with father going back to Hungary and her mother and younger sisters staying to the United States. An occasional television appearance on the “Four Star Revue”, a variety show; “The Colgate Comedy Hour”, or her sister's ABC 15-minute weekly variety show “Eva Gabor Show” from 1953 to 1954 were her other “acting” gigs. Gabor married six times: widowed twice, divorced three times, and one marriage was annulled. All the unions were childless. Her husbands were Jan Bychowsky, who died; William Rankin, a playwright, divorced after a year; Sidney Warren, a lawyer, divorced after a year; Tony Gallucci , president of Samuel Gallucci & Son, married for eleven years when he died; George Sanders, actor who had married her sister Zsa Zsa, their marriage annulled in a month; Tibor R. Heltai, economic consultant, divorced after two years. There were several public affairs to add to her list of men in her life. In 1966, she accidentally fell over her dog hitting her head hard and causing a major brain injury. Even after extensive rehabilitation, this “stroke” left her unable to speak clearly and weakness on one side. To add to her stress of loss, her beloved husband Tony Gallucci died within that year. She inherited a fortune from his plumbing business and their home on Long Island. Through the years, she remained close to the mother and cared for her. From 1964 until her death, she lived in her home in Palm Springs, California. After having another debilitating stroke and suffering for long-time renal failure, she was removed from life support dying five days before her 82nd birthday and two months to the day after her mother's death. Her biography was documented in Darwin Porter's “Thomas Glamorous Gabors: Bombshells from Budapest”, Peter Harry Brown's ”Such Devoted Sisters: Those Fabulous Gabors”, Anthony Trutu's “Gaborabilia: An Illustrated Celebration of the Fabulous, Legendary Gabor Sisters” and on the 2000 A & E TV episode “Biography: The Gabors”.
Bio by: Linda Davis
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