February 11, 1919 – July 4, 1995
Eva was the first of the Gabors to immigrate to America from Hungary. She was in a few B movies, and starred in four Broadway plays. She is by far best known for playing Lisa Douglas on the show Green Acres.
“There is no electristical. The plug fell out of the power company.”
Eva settled in Bel-Air, a swanky bit of Los Angeles. Her house was on Delfern Road. To get to it, head west on Sunset from Hollywood, and when you get into Bel-Air, turn right on Delfern.
The house on the right with the flagpole in front of it, number 100, was hers.
Think of how many times her “best friend,” spermin’ Mervin Griffin walked through those doors.
Eva also kept a home in Baja, Mexico. In June of 1995 she went there with friends for a week-long vacation. As the story goes, on June 20th she “ate a bad piece of fruit,” and contracted viral pneumonia. The condition made Eva so weak, she became disoriented, and she collapsed on a staircase in her house. She fell and broke her hip. Unable to get a plane back immediately, and probably not wanting to risk a Mexican hospital, her friends called Merv Griffin, who was “devastated” at the news. He provided a private jet to whisk Eva to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, in LA, the next day.
By the time she was admitted into Cedars on June 21st, her condition had worsened. She had fluid in her lungs, and a fever. Upon further examination a blood clot was discovered. Doctors put her on antibiotics for the pneumonia, and heparin for the clotting. She was also breathing with the assistance of a respirator, and heavily medicated for the hip pain. Eventually, Eva became comatose. When her condition showed no signs of improvement – family and friends prepared for the worst.
Eva died in her fifth floor room at Cedars Sinai. It was 10:05 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4th.
She was 76 years old.
Eva’s memorial service was held on July 11th 1995 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church.
I crashed it. Some of the guests included Eva’s sisters, Magda and Zsa Zsa, Eddie Albert, Merv Griffin, Johnny Mathis, Mitzi Gaynor, and Rosie O’Donnell. I’m pretty sure I saw Sandra Gould (cringe) there too. After the service I went into the church. They had gone over the place with a fine toothed comb, so souvenir hunters couldn’t find anything. But I kept looking. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I found this little funeral card on the floor.
Hooray! I went out the side door, and THAT’S where they took all the flowers. There was a huge arrangement of yellow roses there, and yes, here’s mine.
As for the other Gabors:
September 30, 1896 – April 1, 1997
On Tuesday April 1, 1997, the matriarch of the Gabor clan, Jolie, died in the Eisenhower Medical Center, in Rancho Mirage. She was was 100 years old. Funeral services took place on Friday the 4th. Jolie never knew that Eva had died. She was so ill and old, they just decided not to tell her.
June 11, 1915 – June 6, 1997
A few months later, Magda, the little known sister of Eva and Zsa Zsa, was put in Eisenhower Medical Center as well, (Family rate?) with a kidney infection. She had been put on a respirator, and her family (well, Zsa Zsa anyway) was told there was no chance of recovery. Zsa Zsa told doctors to pull the plug, on Friday, June 11, 1997. Both Magda and Jolie are buried in Desert Memorial Park, in Palm Springs.
As of this day – July 4, 2013, Zsa Zsa is still alive. Ish. She has been bedridden for years and they seem to be taking her away piece by piece. Zsa Zsa was most likely the beneficiary of her family’s estates, which makes her a Very Rich Lady.
Trivia: Just up the road from Eva Gabor’s house, is where Connie Stevens lives (they used her house in Postcards from the Edge),
and across the road from Connie’s is the house where Henry Mancini died.
Thank you to Terri Rios, for the Cedars Sinai photographs.
UPDATE March 2003, from Findadeath friend Lisa Jacobson:
Now a peanut-gallery comment from a doc about the Eva Gabor story. It all hangs together well from the pieces you’ve provided and the death cert. The “bad fruit” thing is irrelevant. I don’t even think it was viral pneumonia. It was probably pneumococcal pneumonia all along. It’s a really bad bug that hits really fast and kills fast. That, and has a bunch of antibiotic resistance these days, too. (This, incidentally is the same thing that killed Jim Henson, I hear. He went from walkie-talkie to dead in a little over 24 hours. I use his story to persuade people to get vaccinated.)
What probably happened to Eva was the pneumonia hit and made her confused, as older people tend to get when ill, hence the “disoriented and weak” part that led her to fall and break a hip. By the time she arrived in the states, the damage had been done. Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is really hard to recover from. What happens is the toxins released from the germs damage the delicate walls of the capillaries in the lungs, which releases fluid, and the person basically drowns in their own lung fluid. Very, very hard to treat, and usually fatal. If people ever survive ARDS, it’s usually after a long course. Eva was old and there was a long interval before she could get treatment, so…
Anyway, the “blood clot” part is confusing. It could definitely be that during her illness, she was immobile, formed a clot in her legs that broke off and went to the lungs (people with hip fractures are especially prone to that). Another thing that happens with some frequency among people with long-bone fractures is “Fat Embolus,” where a piece of bone marrow is released after the fracture and travels to the lung.
So, anyway, Eva was a sick gal. It’s fun to speculate whether she would have survived had she not been too hoity-toity to get medical assistance in Mexico. In reality, she probably would have died anyway.
Thanks for the info, Lisa!