Zsa Zsa Gabor files for bankruptcy

LOS ANGELES, March 18 -- Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, hit recently with a hefty libel judgment for insulting Elke Sommer, filed Friday for bankruptcy protection.

Bennett Spiegel, her Los Angeles attorney, said Gabor needs 'a breathing spell' to reorganize her financial affairs.


The Chapter 11 petition was filed in Los Angeles federal court while Gabor is awaiting a state appellate court's ruling on the German actress' libel suit.

A Santa Monica Superior Court jury ordered Gabor to pay $1.25 million and her husband, Frederick von Anhalt, to pay $2 million to Sommer for claiming in 1990 interviews published in Germany that Sommer, 53, was broke and looked like she was 100 years old.

Attorney Joe Eisenberg said should the appeal be rejected, the bankruptcy filing will enable the court to establish a plan for her to fulfill the judgment and her other financial obligations.

He said von Anhalt has not filed for protection.

Gabor, 75, was on her way Friday to Europe for a personal appearance tour and could not be reached.

Spokesman Phil Paladino insisted there was much more than the libel judgment behind the decision to file for bankruptcy.


He noted she has lost other lawsuits and 'overextended herself' by taking in 33 horses and other animals at her ranch during the Malibu fires last fall, sheltering and feeding them at no expense to their owners.

He also noted that like many others in Southern California, Gabor's real estate holdings have lost abot 25-30 percent of their value in the last few years because of a tough recession.

'And work is not as great as it was,' Paladino said. 'When the Elke thing came that was like the icing on the cake, but it's really a financial problem, not a singled-out individual thing.'

Gabor recently released an exercise video titled 'It's Simple, Darling.'

The Hungarian actress appeared in about two dozen mostly forgettable movies but may be best known for causing a stir in 1989 by slapping a Beverly Hills cop who was trying to write up her traffic ticket. Gabor spent three days in jail because of the incident.

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