Yesterday, I blogged about the Tiger Woods mess. I mentioned the “Debbie-Eddie-Liz-Richard” scandal back in the 1960s.
It has been brought to my attention that some of my faithful readers were blissfully unaware of THE scandal that set THE standard for ALL scandals to come. So, thank you Lori for pointing this out…and here goes.
We really have to start with Liz…or it just wouldn’t make sense.
First of all, I’m a big fan. She’s a great actress and was a great beauty.
She hates being called Liz. She prefers Elizabeth. He name is Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortesnky. She’s been married eight times to seven different men.
She married Burton twice…more on that later.
Elizabeth Taylor could have stopped acting after making National Velvet, and that would have been a huge contribution to the world of Cinema. If you have not seen it, go rent it. She was 12 years old.
But, she didn’t stop acting, her stage mother wouldn’t let her.
She went on to make some great movies and a few stinkers. She won Academy Awards for Butterfield 8, which she hated and I loved, and for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which was great.
Her first husband was the heir to the Hilton Hotel Chain, Nicky Hilton, she was 18, he was in his late 20’s and turned out to be a wife beater and drinker. They divorced within a year. Nicky, BTW is the great uncle of Paris Hilton…need I say more?
Her second husband was a father figure, Michael Wilding, 20 years older, a midling actor from England. They had two sons, both as good looking as their mother. But, Liz and Michael divorced, he went back to England.
Enter Michael Todd…
Mike Todd was many things, but he wasn’t Mike Todd. He was born Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen. Yeah, I’d change my name too. He was a huckster, carnival producer, Hollywood studio construction contractor, millionaire, bankrupt, Broadway producer, and cinema genius and Oscar winner for Around The World In 80 Days. He founded the Cinerama Company which made and exploited Cinerama Movie production. He also founded Todd-KO and Todd Art companies.
Then he met, wooed, and married Liz.
They were madly in love according to her and anyone who knew them.
On March 22, 1958, he was killed in a plane crash while flying in his plane, the Lucky Liz.
I guess it wasn’t so lucky.
Enter Eddie Fisher…
Eddie Fisher was a singer, actor, husband to Debbie Reynolds and father of Carrie and Todd (named after Mike). Fisher was the best man at the Mike Todd/Liz Taylor wedding.
He was Mike Todd’s best, and sometimes only friend.
He played the part of consoling the “Widow Todd”.
Debbie Reynolds was America’s Sweetheart at the time. She played Tammy and other sugary sweet roles in some excellent movies. She was a huge star and bigger than most of the female stars we have today. My younger readers (and thank you so much for being there) will know her as Grace’s mother, Bobby on TVs Will and Grace, which should have been called Karen and Jack if you ask me.
Debbie was the mother of two, Liz was the widow, and Eddie was the good looking, best friend, “gee honey, I’d better go check on Liz” kinda guy, every one liked.
His trips to Liz’s place led to an affair, and the rest was history. Huge story, big coverage, Liz was painted as “THE Other Woman”, Debbie was the injured party, Eddie was a schmuck, and on and on and on.
Well, Debbie divorced Eddie, Eddie moved in with Liz, and then they got married.
The pressure was so much they went to Paris so Liz could make a movie and they could get away from the heat in the US.
It didn’t work.
While in Paris, Walter Wagner of Twentieth Century Fox wanted Liz to be Cleopatra. THE Cleopatra of Egypt and history that we all know and love so well.
Liz was much prettier.
But, she didn’t want to do the film.
By this time, Eddie had become her nanny, helper, personal assistant, gofer, and secretary.
He took all the calls. He was on the horn with Walter or one of his gofers and told Liz, “he wants you to play Cleopatra.”
Liz, who did not want the role said, “Tell him I’ll do it for a Million Dollars.”
Wagner, said yes.
Liz became the first woman to get a Million Bucks for a movie and she became, literally, became Cleopatra.
The movie starred half of Hollywood, including Rex Harrison as Caesar, cost a record breaking $44 million, which with adjusted numbers, made it the most expensive movie of all time, until Pirates Of The Caribbean: The World’s End came along and shoved it out of the way. Liz’s salary eventually soared to $7 million. Fox went bankrupt, Wagner got fired, it was a crap storm of major proportions.
A young and handome Welsh actor was chosen to play Marc Antony.
Enter Richard Burton…
While filming, Liz fell for Richard. He hated her at first. He said, “She’s so dark, she probably shaves.” But he charmed her any way, calling her a “very pretty girl”.
But, he was hunky, charming, etc, and she fell for him, since she was “never really in love with Eddie.”
It was the Scandal of all time. The Italian Press and Richard himself referred to it as “Le Scandale”.
The Pope condemned the movie since Elizabeth Taylor was a “wanton homewrecker.” The Vatican also accused her of “erotic vagrancy”. She was so pissed, she actually checked to see if she could SUE the Vatican!!
But, Liz decided to live her life “her way”. Dumped Eddie and married Richard just as soon as his divorce was final from his wife Sybil.
See, I told you it was a mess…I’d forgotten about poor Sybil.
So, back in Italy, where they were filming the movie Cleopatra, Dick and Liz were cavorting all over town. The paparazzi were born and the rest is history.
This picture was shocking back in 1963 when UP was only eleven!
It was a total scandal.
But, alas, love did not last for Liz and Dick, after a few movies, fights, jewelry shopping sprees that would make anyone go crazy, they divorced.
Hope was reborn when they were re-married a while later…but that one ended as well.
The paparazzi never gave up. The hounded Richard Burton even to his grave. Liz was there, after the service to pay her respects to one of the men she loved.
And so were they.
So this my friends, is why we have the Paparazzi…and after all this, I think Tiger deserves a break!