Francesca Hilton, the only child of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor who frequently battled with her mother’s ninth husband over her finances and medical care, died Monday night in Los Angeles. She was 67.
Hilton, whose father was hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, had had a stroke or heart attack at her home, according to her friend and publicist Edward Lozzi. She was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Born Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton on March 10, 1947, in New York, she experienced the trappings of her mother’s glamorous, jet-set lifestyle after Gabor’s divorce from her second husband.
“My mother’s boyfriends took me everywhere,” Hilton said in an interview for a 2008 Los Angeles Times profile. “They tried to buy me things so I would tell my mother to marry them.”
As a youth, Hilton became an accomplished horsewoman and later worked as an actress, photographer, publicist and stand-up comic. She also was involved with the philanthropic foundation her father established.
Among other acting roles, Hilton had a small part in the 1971 Henry Jaglom film “A Safe Place,” which starred Jack Nicholson.
“She is, in her own way, a fighter to have survived with her own identity,” Jaglom said in the 2008 Times story. “She tried to have her own normal life and become her own normal person. To me, that’s a bit of an accomplishment when you come from that background.”
Hilton often made headlines for her turbulent relationship with her mother’s ninth husband, Frederic von Anhalt, after her mother’s health deteriorated as a result of a 2002 traffic accident. He sued Hilton in 2005, claiming she had forged her mother’s signature to take out a $2-million loan by using Gabor’s $14-million home as collateral.
In a separate suit, Hilton accused Von Anhalt of manipulating her mother to get into his wife’s will. A Los Angeles judge dismissed the lawsuit after Gabor failed to show up for court hearings.
In 2012, Hilton filed a petition requesting an independent conservatorship be set up to monitor the health and financial interests of her mother. A Los Angeles judge granted the conservatorship, but made Von Anhalt the temporary conservator of her mother’s finances, which were to be used only for her care. The judge also ordered that Hilton be allowed to visit her mother.
When Hilton’s father died in 1979, much of his multimillion-dollar estate was left to his foundation and she was granted $100,000. She contested the will in court but lost.
“You can’t live in the past. That was his decision,” she said in 2008, adding that she was not bitter.
Hilton’s only immediate survivor is her 97-year-old mother.