Archive for February, 2014

Debbie Eddie Liz and Dick

OK, it’s been a week.  I’m tired, lazy, and relatively uninspired.

So, I’m cheating.

Repeating, sorta.

This is a post I ran a couple of years ago.  If you’ve just started reading Redneck Latte Ravings, well, you may not have picked UP on the fact that I’m a big Elizabeth Taylor fan.

Probably one of the biggest.

So, since the Burton-Taylor romance is one of the greatest of all times, and the Debbie-Eddie-Liz-and Dick scandal is even bigger, and I’ve never done a post about it during February, here goes…with a change or two to make it UP to date.

A while back, I posted 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.

Enter Debbie-Eddie-Liz-Richard.

We really have to start with Liz…or it just wouldn’t make sense.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR

First of all, I’m a big fan.  She was a great actress and was a great beauty.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR 2

She hated being called Liz.  She preferred Elizabeth.  Her name is Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortesnky.  She was 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.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR IN NATIONAL VELVET

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 AND ELIZABETH TAYLOR

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.

LIZ TAYLOR AND MIKE TODD 2

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

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”.

His wife,

DEBBIE REYNOLDS

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.

LIZ EDDIE DEBBIE

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.

NOT LOOKING HAPPY

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.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR AS 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.

LIZ AS CLEO

A young and handome Welsh actor was chosen to play Marc Antony.

Enter Richard Burton…

RICHARD BURTON AS MARC ANTONY

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”.

Nice guy.

But, he was hunky, charming, etc, and she fell for him, since she was “never really in love with Eddie.”

Oops!

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!!

Such fun!

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.

RICHARD AND SYBIL BURTON

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.

LE SCANDALE

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.

LIZ AT RICHARD'S GRAVE

So this my friends, is why we have the Paparazzi…and just exactly what Debbie-Eddie-Liz means!

 

And, on a different note…I was told today that some of my posts this week were lengthy.  Some things just can’t be told on a cocktail napkin.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the love stories.  It’s harder all the time to find ones that are interesting…hopefully I will discover something juicy in the next 12 months!

I’d love to know what you think (shameless plug for comments), so let me know.

Was it worth it?

…may have been overheard in the Portuguese court back in the day.

Dom Pedro, a prince at the time and future King Dom Pedro I, met 15 year old Inês de Castro when she came to play lady-in-waiting to his new bride.

His marriage was arranged, daddy, the King of Portugal, married his heir off to the daughter of a wealthy and power Castelian family. Lady Constansa Manuel of Castela and Leão nor the prince were in love, but neither had a word to say about their marriage.

Things being what they were, most of the court turned a blind eye to affairs of the heart outside the bonds of marriage as long as they were discrete.

Pedro didn’t know the meaning of the word.  He was in love with Inês, and flaunted the relationship.

Daddy was not amused.

He sent the lovely lady in waiting with eyes the color of the sky and hair to rival the sun to Albuquerque.

Not New Mexico, Spain.

Constansa, sadly, died in childbirth, causing the randy Pedro to bring Inês back from exile.

Again, Daddy was not amused.

Not only did the rebellious prince bring her back, he married her causing a scandal that rocked the court.

It was also a diplomatic slap in the face to the folks back in Castela, causing much grief for diplomats, equerries, and attaches.

King Alfonso was outraged, fearing a war with the folks back in Castilla.

Inês, like Earl, had to die.

So, daddy captured the lovely Inês exiled her once again, this time to Combra.

While there, three of the King’s noblemen decapitated her in front of one of the three children she had with Pedro.

The Death of Ines

Therapy, anyone?

Pedro, beside himself with grief, vowing to avenge the death of his true love, and realizing his father was behind it, launched Portugal into a civil war.

Things got really ugly.

Battles raged, sides were taken, people died, it was a mess.

But, alas, Mama knows best, and The Queen, Beatrice, intervened between the two and proposed a truce. Which reduced poor Pedro to a mere shadow himself, and, drove him – what’s the word I’m looking for, yeah, that’s it CRAZY!

Alas, the old King died, and Pedro assumed the throne.

That’s when, as we say in historical circles, the shit hit the fan.

First on the Royal agenda, avenge the death of Inês. Arranging a swap of Castelian prisoners held in Portugal for the men who’d killed Inês, who were hiding out in Castela, gained Pedro no popularity with his court, but that mattered little.

Pedro, driven mad by his loss, had two of the men killed by ripping their hearts out while they were still alive. One from the front, one from the back.

Bachelor number three dropped dead of a heart attack from shock.

Of course, that would have been enough for most psychopaths, but nooooooooooooo, not Pedro.

That was only the warm UP.

Pedro, went on to have his love exhumed, sat her UP in court, declared her his lawful queen and had the Lords and Ladies of Portugal kiss her hand in homage.

Pedro and Ines

She’d been dead two years.  Barf!

The rumor at court was that the Queen looked a little pale.

Oddly enough, Dom Pedro was loved by the “little people”, often standing UP for them against the nobles. During his reign, there was no war and great prosperity.

Crazy but efficient?

Pedro died in 1367, with his body buried next to his beloved Inês in the Santa Maria Abbey in Alcobaça. They were not buried side by side like normal people, but facing each other with the words “Até o fim do mundo…” (“Until the end of time…”) carved in the marble.

Some Women Are Just Bad At It

No one really knows who actually said that, but it is often attributed to Truman Capote.  Capote was supposedly speaking of none other than Little Gloria, Gloria Vanderbilt.

Gloria

Vanderbilt heiress of the great American Tycoon, designer of jeans, and mother of Anderson Cooper grew UP in a life of wealth and drama.

Her family was bat shit crazy.

Money will do that to  you, so they say.

I wouldn’t know.

My crazy comes cheap!

Truman, or whomever said it, was referring to Gloria’s attempts at marriage.

Vanderbilt was married four times, and had lasting and not so lasting relationships with several other men.

Her parents were nuts, their marriage a mess, and their divorce messier.

Gloria was a pawn, deemed the poor little rich girl, and was shuttled back and forth from mansion to mansion.

Really, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.

At 17 years old, she went to Hollywood and married an agent named Pat DiCicco.  After nearly five years of abuse, she divorced him.  He was mean, nasty, called her names, and beat her UP.  She said he would take her head an bang it against the wall. In one interview, she said, “I had black eyes.”

 

From agent to the world of music, her second marriage, to conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1945 left her with two sons, Stan and Christopher.  That marriage lasted 10 years, from 45 to 55.

On August 28, 1956, she married director Sidney Lumet; they divorced in August 1963.  Neither of them will publicly say why, he can’t since he’s dead, and she’s just not willing to speak ill of him.

Covering all the arts, she married her fourth husband, author Wyatt Emory Cooper on Christmas Eve in 1963.

They had two sons: Carter Vanderbilt Cooper (January 27, 1965 – July 22, 1988) and CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper.

Wyatt Cooper died in 1978 during open heart surgery in New York City. Their son, Carter committed suicide at the age of 23 by jumping from the family’s 14th-floor apartment as his mother tried in vain to stop him.

Vanderbilt believed that it was caused by a psychotic episode induced by an allergic reaction to the to the anti-asthma drug , Proventil.

 

Moving on in the world of arts, she maintained a romantic relationship with photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks for years when he died in 2006.

Rumor has it that other lovers have included Brando, Sinatra, Howard Hughes, and everyone’s favorite kid lit writer, Roald Dahl.

Capote is alleged to have based his character Holly Golightly, from Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Vanderbilt, because she was just “bad at it.”

BTW, Gloria turned 90 last week!

“Poor Carlota!”

Those were the last words of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico as the revolutionary soldiers of Benito Juarez riddled his body with bullets when he stood in front of a wall in Querétaro.

She was the daughter of a king and the wife of an emperor.

Princess Charlotte

Princes Charlotte of Belgium married an Austrian Archduke who would never rule in Europe. His older brother had already ascended the throne, and Maximilian had little or no chance of a kingdom.

The marriage was arranged; the Belgian Princess was a second cousin to the idealistic Archduke and spent a few unhappy years while in Italy with Max as he “ruled” there.

It eventually became a love match.  Married just seven years at the time of their acceptance of the throne in Mexico, Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian and Archduchess Maria Charlotte were both young, well educated, and happily in love.

Maximilian was described as extremely personable, handsome, idealistic and trusting. He was also naive and extremely gullible.  Horrified at conditions in Europe, he said,

“We call our age the Age of Enlightenment, but there are cities in Europe where, in the future, men will look back in horror and amazement at the injustice of tribunals, which in a spirit of vengeance condemned to death those whose only crime lay in wanting something different to the arbitrary rule of governments which placed themselves above the law.”

He, 32, and she just 24, were duped by Napoleon III into becoming the Emperor and Empress of Mexico.

Accepting the Imperial Crown

A natural linguist and talented writer, Carlota was slender and petite, with dark eyes and dark brown hair. When she knew she and Maximilian would be going to Mexico she immediately hired a Spanish language teacher to study with. Shortly after arriving in Mexico, she changed her name to Carlota, and adopted the Spanish spelling.

As they crossed the Atlantic Ocean, they were looking forward to carrying out their duties as Mexican Monarchs.

The problem was, not all of Mexico wanted an Emperor.

Most wanted freedom after chaffing for hundreds of years under Spanish rule.

They had no idea it would end the way it did.

It ended badly.

The Imperial couple loved Mexico – the food, the people, the culture.  Sheltered and protected from the revolutionary spirit outside the palace, they lived in a fantasy world that crumbled.

Carlotta and Max

Benito Juárez, gaining more and more support day by day and Napoleon’s abandonment of the couple would bring a day of reckoning.

Leaving Maximilian at home, embracing for an unrealized last time, Carlota traveled Europe seeking support for the puppet monarchy, begging for help from friends, family, kings, queens, and the Pope.

Maximilian was gunned down on June 19, 1867.

Manet's Execution of Maximilian

Carlota, literally lost her mind.

Hearing of her condition, Carlota’s brother King Leopold of Belgium, took her to a mental institution in Vienna.

She was, at the age of 26, pronounced incurably insane.

The king had pull.

At the time, she was the richest woman in Europe.  Her considerable estate was “managed” by her brother’s ministers and used to fund his conquest of the Congo

She remained confined in her palace at Trieste for the next 60 years, and died in 1927 at the age of 87. Maximilian died without ever learning about her mental state.

Truly, it was Poor Carlota.