"My mother's behind me with the Hungarian ambassador, if she hasn't married him yet," laughed Zsa Zsa Gabor as she swept into Hamburger Hamlet on M Street last night.
Right on cue, Mama Gabor -- Jolie -- arrived with Ambassador Ja'nos Petra'n, for the party in Zsa Zsa's honor given by her California chum, restaurant owner Marilyn Lewis.
It had been a busy day for Zsa Zsa, who was the honoree yesterday at the fall roast given by the Saints and Sinners Club, a charitable organization, where she couldn't remember if she or others used some of her favorite lines including:
* "A girl should marry for love and keep on marrying until she finds it."
* "Conrad Hilton was so generous he gave me a settlement of 1,500,000 Bibles." Hilton was one of Gabor's seven husbands, as was George Sanders, "the love of my life," and "a couple of people I don't remember."
Zsa Zsa was wearing a well-filled plunging-neckline dress in black with gold sequins, navel-length pearls ("they're real, dahling") and earrings of a circle of diamonds just like the ones she recently gave as a present to Prince Philip for his wildlife charity. That gift was reportedly refused after a London jeweler appraised the earrings as worth $700, far below what Zsa Zsa claimed they were worth.
"My dear, who doesn't accept a present of $23,000?" said Zsa Zsa with a shrug last night. "Van Cleef & Arpels appraised them for me."
Mama Gabor had little question about the value of the sapphire and diamond necklace that covered her chest. It was from her own Madison Avenue boutique, and worth about $250,000, she figured modestly.
James Rosebush, the first lady's chief of staff, and his wife, Nancy, gave Zsa Zsa an update on her success at the State Dinner for Pakistani President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq at the White House Tuesday night. Zsa Zsa's dinner partner, Chief of Staff James Baker, told the president, "I owe you one."
But it was Julius Bengtsson, first hairdresser to the first lady, who was at Zsa Zsa's side most of yesterday, doing her hair before lunch and again before the dinner. He did Nancy Reagan's hair and Jolie Gabor's, along with a few regular customers. "I'm all over this city like a rash," he said. He had accompanied Zsa Zsa in the limousine up to the White House gate for the State Dinner. "She hates to go anyplace alone," he said, admitting that he gave her hair a bit of a touch-up with his fingers before she went in.
Searchlights and stretch limos attracted a few onlookers from across the street. "It looks like a supermarket opening," said one guest.
Upstairs about 150 guests nibbled on miniature cheeseburgers. The black-tie crowd included Luxembourg Ambassador Adrien Meisch and his wife Candace, Swedish Ambassador Wilhelm Wachtmeister and his wife Ulla, former protocol chief Lloyd Hand and his wife Ann, ABC correspondent Sander Vanocur and his wife Virginia, Woodie's chairman Edwin Hoffman and Atlanta Hawks basketball player Tom McMillen. The walls were papered in fabric left from the days when Lewis was a California fashion designer with a collection called "Cardinale." "I wish you were still in business," said Ann Hand.
Dinner, served downstairs with Paul Newman's "Newman's Own" salad dressing as the centerpiece on each table, was brought in by Lansdowne Catering. "It's not a restaurant party but a party for my friend Zsa Zsa," said Lewis, explaining the catering. "If I was doing it, I'd be spending the whole night in the kitchen fretting."