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Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher: Scandal

January 3, 2023 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , ,

It’s hard to forget the 1950s scandal with Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor, leaving a furious Hedda Hopper, and heartbroken Debbie Reynolds.

Hedda Hopper, a famous newspaper gossip column writer, was a constant advocate for Taylor, but she insisted that Fisher and Taylor were just friends. When the affair went public in September 1958, everyone was shocked…except for maybe the rest of the world.

The newspapers were full of nasty comments by Hedda, Fisher, Taylor and Reynolds.

Taylor issued a statement declaring “Eddie is not in love with Debbie and never has been [. . .] You can’t break up a happy marriage. Debbie and Eddie’s never has been.”

Hopper, angry that Taylor had deceived her, wrote a blistering critique, including a misquote of Taylor that would be reprinted hundreds of times over the next decade: “Mike is dead, and I am alive.”

Then the front page of the Los Angeles Times announced that “Debbie Will Seek Divorce from Eddie.” Followed by an official statement from Fisher declaring that his marriage, “was headed for break-up long before he even knew [. . .] Taylor.”

Reynolds responded, “It seems unbelievable [. . .] to say that you can live happily with a man and not know that he doesn’t love you. That, as God is my witness, is the truth [. . .] I now realize when you are deeply in love how blind you can be. Obviously I was. I will endeavor to use all my strength to survive and understand for the benefit of my two children.”

From that point on, it was a field day for the fan magazines, gossip columns and radio/talk shows.

Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor were close friends since high school and Taylor had been married to Fisher’s best friend, producer Mike Todd, who had died in a plane crash in 1958. In fact, both couples (Reynolds and Fisher, and Taylor and Todd) were friends and double dated.

After the unexpected death of Taylor’s third husband, Mike Todd, Reynolds suggested Fisher go to Taylor to comfort her. And that was the beginning of the affair.

Fisher and Taylor got married the same day that his and Reynolds’ divorce was finalized. Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor were married from 1959 to 1964.

The fact that Fisher left Reynolds with small children for another women ruined his career. The gossip columns and magazines feasted on the breakup and the romance for months, and the adverse publicity caused NBC to cancel “The Eddie Fisher Show” for morality clauses. Though Reynolds had money problems, she managed to get by, then offers began to flow in. Taylor’s image was tarnished but didn’t stop her from continuing to get offers, and another relationship budded with Richard Burton.

Some of Janet’s and Will’s Books

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