- Posted February 6, 2013 by
Zsa Zsa Gabor - 96 Today
This spontaneous iconic portrait in oils by expressionist painter Stephen B Whatley was inspired by a mid-1980s photograph of Ms Gabor, plump in her 60s, chatting at a party at her Bel Air home, evoking the flighty, transience of celebrity artifice that her persona had become.
She is more famous for her acerbic wit on the talk show circuit & for her eternal denial of ever having a facelift than she was for her decorative roles in films. Her most known films are perhaps Moulin Rouge (US 1952), A Touch of Evil (US 1958) & the cult B-movie, Queen of Outer Space (US 1958).
Perhaps she was the first archetypal celebrity who became famous for being famous - her every turn made the newspapers ( & she was more interesting than the endless stream of today's television reality stars)- and indeed since the 1940s she has rarely been out of the news to this day - most latterly for a series of tragedies in her twilight years - which have left her bed bound for much of this century.
From the 1960s through to the 1990s she had become a glamorous parody of herself, willingly sending herself up on television talk shows; perhaps realising the fantasy her life had become - without forgetting how well it paid in dollars.
Today, rather like a fading movie queen in 'Sunset Boulevard', she lives hidden within the realms of her Bel Air Mansion - whose celebrity is kept alight by her younger and publicity - hungry husband , who regularly gives out bulletins about her health.
Artist Stephen B Whatley's work is in collections worldwide - including the BBC & the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II - & his press includes the New York Times , USA TODAY & TIME magazine.