Friday, January 19, 2007

Ain't Love Blind?

The happy coupleMeet Burt Pugach and Linda Riss, as they were when this picture was taken fifty years ago. He was a hotshot New York lawyer, she was an artist, they were both madly in love. Madly in love.

Burt was already married when he met Linda in the Bronx, New York, New York, in 1957, but he always promised her he’d divorce the wife and marry Linda. Linda got sick of waiting for what never happened and, two years on, she told him to hit the road and started dating someone else, as often happens.

Burt took it badly. Very badly.

So badly, in fact, that he used his connections to track down some tough guys. The tough guys subsequently tracked down Linda, and threw lye in her face, blinding her forever. Lye is sodium hydroxide, a strongly caustic alkaline solution. Which means that it wasn’t like Linda suddenly woke up blind – her eyes were burned out of her head in an extraordinarily painful way.

The law took a dim view of this type of carry on, and Burt Pugach got fourteen years hard time for the assault. And that’s when it gets interesting, because the day after he got out of the slammer in 1974, having finally secured the divorce, Burt Pugach met Linda Riss and asked her to marry him. And she said yes.

The couple are now the subject of a documentary movie that’s creating a bit of a buzz at the upcoming Sundance movie festival, and there’s an interview with them in this morning’s New York Daily News. Ain’t love blind?

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