Burt Pugach

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Burton N. "Burt" Pugach (born April 20, 1927) is a New York based lawyer who spent 14 years in prison for hiring men to throw lye in the face of his former girlfriend (and future wife) Linda Eleanor Riss (February 23, 1937 – January 22, 2013).

Linda Riss[edit]

In 1959 Pugach began a courtship of Linda Riss, a 21-year-old woman from the East Bronx. Upon discovering that Pugach had a wife and daughter, Riss broke off their relationship. Pugach then threatened to kill or hurt Riss if she left him, saying "If I can't have you, no one else will have you, and when I get through with you no one else will want you." Riss reported the threat to the New York Police Department to no avail. Upon hearing of her engagement to Larry Schwartz, Pugach hired three assailants to attack Riss. The assailants threw lye in Riss's face, leaving her blind in one eye, nearly blind in the other, and permanently scarred. Pugach was convicted of the crime and spent 14 years in prison, during which time he continually wrote to Riss.

After he was released from prison in 1974, Pugach and Riss resumed their relationship and married soon thereafter. In 1976 they co-wrote a book, A Very Different Love Story. In 1997 Pugach was once again accused of threatening a woman with whom he was having an affair. His wife, Linda, appeared at his trial as a character witness for him. Linda died of heart failure on January 22, 2013, at the age of 75.[1] In 2007 Dan Klores produced a documentary film Crazy Love about Burt and Linda Pugach.


  1. ^ Fox, Margalit (January 23, 2013). "Linda Riss Pugach, Whose Life Was Ripped From Headlines, Dies at 75". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 


  • Farnsworth, Ward and Grady, Mark F. Torts: Cases & Questions. Aspen Publishers. 2004. ISBN 978-0-7355-2704-1
  • Stainback, Berry. A Very Different Love Story: Burt and Linda Pugach's Intimate Account of Their Triumph Over Tragedy. Morrow, 1976. ISBN 978-0-688-03089-6

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