Doctors amputate actress Zsa Zsa Gabor's leg

Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:54pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, a fixture on Hollywood's social scene for decades, had most of her right leg amputated on Friday to fight a gangrene infection

Gabor, 93, has been gravely ill since last summer when she fell and broke her hip. She has been in and out of UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles since July.

Doctors said about three-quarters of Gabor's right leg was removed in the surgery, which they described as successful and without complications.

There was no immediate word on when the Hungarian-born Gabor would be released from the hospital, where she is under close observation.

In November, Gabor was hospitalized when doctors feared a blood clot in her leg might move to her heart. On January 2 she returned to the medical center when an infected lesion developed into gangrene.

Her spokesman, John Blanchette, said doctors only recently told Gabor of a possible amputation, and that this week they told her husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, she had a 50-percent chance of survival.

"They said it was very dangerous, but they had no other option" than surgery, Blanchette said. "It (the gangrene) would kill her otherwise."

Gabor is well known for her roles in 1950s movies "Moulin Rouge" and "Lili," but perhaps even more famous for her lavish lifestyle and a string of wealthy husbands over the years.

Along with sisters Eva and Magda, she was a constant presence on Hollywood's social circuit and on TV talk shows where she called everyone "dah-ling" in a thick accent.

She has been married nine times and earned a degree of infamy in 1989 when she served a three-day jail term for slapping a Beverly Hills policeman who had pulled her over while she was driving.

(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Paul Simao)