Some of the best rural TV shows ever made came out during the 60s. The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres were all incredibly popular at the time, only ending after the television networks decided to pursue a "rural purge" and only focus on content set in the big city. But to this day, fans continue to watch these shows on reruns, and it's impossible not to find pleasure watching Eva Gabor navigate farm life as Lisa Douglas in Green Acres. The stunning Hungarian immigrant made the role incredibly memorable and one that she was most proud of. Who else could have mastered doing farm chores in a fancy gown while keeping the audience laughing at her interactions with the neighbor's pig Arnold?
Gabor, along with her well-known sisters, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Magda Gabor, was born in Budapest, Hungary. Eva was the first Gabor sister to move to the United States after she married her first husband (of five total), Swedish-born Dr. Eric Drimmer when she was just 18 years old. Just a few years after the couple settled in California, she made her Hollywood debut in Forced Landing but really started making a name for herself during the 50s following her performance in the Broadway production of The Happy Time. She appeared in numerous films including The Last Time I Saw Paris with Elizabeth Taylor, Artists and Models with Dean Martin, Don't Go Near the Water, Gigi, and It Started with a Kiss. Gabor even had her own short-lived talk show -- The Eva Gabor Show as well as a stage show with her two sisters in Las Vegas.
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But really, the actress and socialite is best remembered for her starring role in Green Acres. The popular CBS sitcom followed Lisa Douglas and her husband, Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert), who decide to leave their home in New York City to settle down in a midwest farm town. They end up in Hooterville, also the setting for sister sitcom Petticoat Junction, so there were a few crossover episodes over the years. Between Gabor's Hungarian accent and fine New York clothes, she always appeared like a fish out of water in her new rural setting which added to the comedy of the character. She even came back to reprise her original role in the 1990 TV film Return to Green Acres.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Gabor had the time of her life starring in the TV series. She referred to 1965-71 as "the best six years of my life. I adored every minute of it."
Later in life, Gabor did voice-over work for Disney, best known for voicing the poised cat Duchess in The Aristocats as well as the mouse Miss Bianca in The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. She also appeared in a few other films and television shows like Nutcracker Fantasy, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Hart to Hart. The iconic actress passed away in Los Angeles in 1995 from respiratory failure and pneumonia.
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