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Zsa Zsa Has Happy Court Date, at Last

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Elissa Judd didn’t want to stare. But, she thought, wasn’t that Zsa Zsa Gabor sitting behind her Tuesday in Ventura County Municipal Court?

“I thought it was her,” Elissa said. “But I said to myself, it can’t be. What’s she doing in small-claims court in Ventura?”

The Hungarian-born actress and her husband, Prince Frederick Von Anhalt of Germany, had driven from their Bel-Air home to press Gabor’s claim against an Oak View woman, Charlotte Randopoulos.

The prince and the onetime showgirl own a 20-acre ranch in Somis, and Gabor claimed that Randopoulos owed her more than $1,100 for boarding horses there. Judge John R. Smiley awarded Gabor $438.

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Just seeing the princely pair was a thrill for Elissa, a 16-year-old high school student from Alta Loma, near San Bernardino. She was spending the morning at the Hall of Justice with her uncle, Ventura lawyer David J. Judd.

“Even though I live close to Hollywood, I’ve never seen a star that close before,” Elissa confided, although she did get a glimpse of actor LeVar Burton at the Renaissance Faire one year.

Recalling the celebrated slap that Gabor gave to an impertinent Beverly Hills police officer a few years back, Elissa said she found it surprisingly easy to get along with the hotblooded Hungarian. Gabor not only gave her an autograph but posed with her while the prince snapped a photo with Elissa’s camera.

“I read in Soap Opera Digest that these celebrities don’t have to give you anything,” Elissa said. What struck her most, she said, was Gabor’s diamond ring. “It was just huge,” she said.

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In an interview later, Gabor said she was happy to oblige “that very pretty young girl”

“I’m always nice,” the actress said. “I really am.”

And her latest day in court was a happy one, she said.

“Everybody was so nice in that courthouse,” she said. “I have lots of fans up there. So many of the secretaries of the court said how pretty I was, how much they like me, how I’m much more beautiful in real life.”

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Although she didn’t get all that she asked for, Gabor said she was pleased with Judge Smiley’s award. She said the Ventura court treated her better than Beverly Hills Municipal Court, where she was sentenced to three days in jail for slapping the policeman.

“They were not half as civilized or half as fair as in Ventura,” Gabor said.

The Ventura County case was to have been heard in June, but in a letter signed “Princess Zsa Zsa Gabor,” the actress told the court that she had to make a sudden trip to Europe. She was granted a postponement.

Gabor and her husband, who paid $1.75 million for the Somis ranch in February, 1990, had listed it for sale at $3.95 million seven months later. Now they plan to keep the property, named Silver Fox Ranch after a Tennessee walker that is her favorite horse.

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“We hope to hang onto it,” she said. “All my life I have wanted a ranch.”

As for whether it was worth a princess’s time to drive 120 miles for $438, Gabor said, “Of course, darling.”


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