A Toxic Romance
Burt Pugach hired goons to maim an ex-lover. He went to jail, then fourteen years later, married that same woman
By Mickey Rapkin
Burt Pugach and Linda Riss were all over the tabloids in 1959. Linda was the beautiful young womanthe one who broke off their relationship. Burt was the jilted 32-year-old lawyer who hired thugs to blind her. Burt spent the next fourteen years in prison, writing letters to Linda. And when he got out, well, she married him. (They're still married.) The unlikely romance is chronicled in the new documentary Crazy Love, in theaters this month. Burt, 80, called to discuss.
"I'm on my way to the doctor," he said. "I need to get a physical for this new insurance policy. If my wife kills me, she should at least get some money!" The film, likewise, plays up their sick shtick. But Burt insists he's no monster. "I have gone above and beyond anything that a husband does in taking care of his wife," he says.
Not surprisingly, a Hollywood version is being discussed, and Burt has a few thoughts on casting. "I met, uh, Seymour Philip Hoffman at Sundance," he says. "They're thinking about him for it." And? "He's much better looking in person!"