Did You Know This Famous Hollywood Actress Had To Face Trial In Midland
Many celebrities have found themselves on the wrong side of the law in Texas. Celebrities like Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey, and the list goes on, but not many of them have had to face a judge or jury in Midland, Texas.
This story might be a little dated but it's a pretty cool part of Midland history. I actually came across this story in the Facebook group "Old Midland," when some asked why Zsa Zsa Gabor had to appear at the Midland County Courthouse.
Here is the story, according to UPI:
MIDLAND, Texas -- A federal court jury awarded $200,000 to a San Antonio man who claimed actress Zsa Zsa Gabor reneged on a contract and destroyed his business.
Gabor testified in U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton's court she never agreed to appear at a movie fantasy camp operated by businessman Leonard Saffir and denied she broke a contract to appear in the filming of a fantasy vacation promotion in 1991 at San Antonio.
The award Tuesday, which Gabor was ordered to pay, ended a two day trial of a $3 million lawsuit filed by Saffir, who claimed that Gabor's failure to show up for the project destroyed the Hollywood Fantasy Corp.
But noted San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli, who represented Gabor, said the jury displayed inconsistencies.
Belli said, 'The jury made the award, but also held that the contract was invalid, so it was clearly inconsistent.'
Belli vowed to appeal, saying, 'I'm satisfied it will be thrown out in the lower court, and if not will be thrown out upstairs.'
Regarding Gabor, Belli said, 'My client is a warm, serious gal who has given a lot of pleasure and entertainment to the world, a great gal. '
Gabor told the court Tuesday that she had asked that arrangements be made for her wardrobe, a hairdresser, and to have scripts available, but that nothing was ever decided. In the meantime, she said she had two other projects confirmed.
Another witness, Richard Heard, a friend of Gabor's daughter, told the six-member jury that he acted as a go-between for Hollywood Fantasy and Gabor. He testified that no final contract was ever approved.
Heard also testified that Saffir said he would rather sue to get his money than find another celebrity.
On Monday, Bunton refused a motion by Belli to dismiss the lawsuit.
During Tuesday's summation, Saffir's attorney, Larry Macon, told the jury that his client's dream, the Hollywood Fantasy Corp., 'was destroyed by arrogance.'
Belli said after the verdict that Saffir had written a book on power public relations in which he admitted he and the same lawyer used in this trial have used the same tactic to beat corporations.
Belli's assistant, Kevin McLean, told the jurors that Macon's entire case was 'crap and full of smoke.'
Macon later said he believed McLean hurt Gabor's case with his crude closing statement.
Macon said, 'I think that was an effort to conceal the facts. There was a lot of bitterness and a lot of arrogance, just the California arrogance that we're seeing all the way through.'
Bunton moved the trial to Midland from San Antonio, where a $3 million state court judgment against Gabor was thrown out. Gabor contended she was not properly notified of the lawsuit in getting that award tossed out.
According to the lawsuit, Hollywood Fantasy was to provide an opportunity for 'average Americans to spend a week as a movie star, act on camera with Hollywood celebrities, and mingle with them, while on a luxury vacation.'
The lawsuit alleged on March 4, 1991 Garbor entered into a contract to be the 'leading actress' in a promotional pilot to be filmed during a fantasy vacation April 28-May 5 at the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel in San Antonio.
The lawsuit said Gabor demanded her own makeup and hair stylist be flown to San Antonio at the expense of Hollywood Fantasy, that she be paid for the use of her clothes and that a personal maid be hired for her. The suit alleges she broke the agreement less than two weeks before the project was to begin.
Gabor denied the allegations and Belli said that Hollywood Fantasy had received only two $10,000 fees from people who wanted to take part in the vacation. He also said the company did not have the money to pay Gabor.
So, she was actually never in trouble in Midland per se but she did have to have the court here in Midland. If you are a Midland historian, I figured you would find the story interesting.
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