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Hollywood Love Triangles, and Heartbreak

Updated on April 25, 2014

Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

The Marriage of Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor

Eddie Fisher

Before he met Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher had the good fortune to marry Debbie Reynolds. He had great admiration for her, and what a perfectionist she was. Debbie would rehearse until everyone was exhausted.

Fisher quickly was unhappy with the marriage and many have speculated that he was eager to marry Debbie to further his career. He wrote an autobiography called, Been There, Done That, in which his contempt for Debbie and everything about her is obvious. The marriage did bring a lot of favorable publicity his way, as being a nice loving husband who was married to America's new sweetheart.

While filming Bundle Of Joy, which starred both Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, Debbie became pregnant and gave birth to Carrie Fisher two months after the movie was released. It could not have been planned any better, the movie was the greatest gift the studio ever received. Fisher said many years later that he and Debbie were not at all compatible and the things that made him happy did not make her happy and vice versa.

Mike Todd & Elizabeth Taylor

Debbie Liz and Eddie

Debbie Reynolds

Elizabeth and Richard Burton

Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd

Elizabeth Taylor was married to Mike Todd. He was her third husband and from what close friends could see, they were a good match. Both were free spirited, eccentric and egotistical, with a flare for living life to the fullest. Mike Todd divorced his wife, actress Joan Blondell to marry Elizabeth Taylor, who was billed as the worlds most beautiful woman.

During her marriage to Todd, Elizabeth had become practically inseparable with Debbie Reynolds, and Eddie Fisher. Mike, Elizabeth, Eddie and Debbie were a foursome about town. Hollywood's most flamboyant, and Hollywood's most wholesome and sweet couple going out to the races together, or having dinner parties, or dining out at the trendy clubs of the time. They were a glamorous foursome.

In 1958 Todd's private plane went out of control and crashed, killing him and three other men on board instantly. Mike Todd was 48 years old, and left behind his grief stricken wife Elizabeth Taylor and their one year old daughter Liza.

Immediately after the death of Mike Todd Elizabeth began spending time with men, not dating exactly, but just being with them. Fisher said, many years later, that he felt as though he owed it to Mike Todd, his very good friend, to be a big brother and a father to Elizabeth. Eddie believed that Liz Taylor needed the company of a man, and Fisher was feeling possessive of Elizabeth, now having an obsessive desire to keep men away from Elizabeth Taylor, the woman he adored. In retrospect, Fisher believes that he began falling in love with her immediately after Todd's death.

Fisher was a bit in awe of Taylor, feeling "honored" that on her first public appearance since Mike's death she went to Fisher's performance at the Las Vegas Tropicana. Elizabeth continued to call Eddie to talk when she could not sleep at night, and one day she asked him to come to her house because she had something of Mike's to give him, adding that she would be out by the pool.

That is how one of Hollywood's biggest scandals began. Eddie Fisher swears that he fell desperately in love with Elizabeth Taylor and although he was still married, he proposed marriage to Taylor immediately. They spent every waking moment together, and everyone seemed to know that they were in love except Debbie Reynolds.

Fisher was insecure and a big part of his thrill was looking at Liz and seeing perfection and realizing that she was crazy for him. When Fisher and Taylor took a trip to New York and walked down the street publicly, photographers and the world knew something was up. When it all hit the fan the world was in hate with Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher. The scene of Debbie Reynolds, now the mother of two children being dumped by a cheating romeo and a vamp over Mike Todd's grave made this whole affair as ugly as can be.

Fisher and Taylor were married as quickly as they possibly could, after Fisher's divorce from Debbie Reynolds.

When Elizabeth Taylor was making Cleopatra, she was working with Richard Burton every day, and as in true Elizabeth Taylor fashion, she fell in love with her co-star, and began an affair. Eddie fisher swears that she ripped his heart out, while he did all he could to get her back, and eventually had to sit back and watch her marry Burton and cast him aside.

The very pain and public humiliation that Debbie Reynolds had suffered was now being lived by Eddie Fisher. One only wonders if he thought about the pain and suffering he put his wife through as he felt the rejection of the woman he called his wife.

Decades later Debbie Reynolds could make light of the whole issue by saying, "let bygones be by bygones, besides, who in the heck wants Eddie Fisher now?"



Lee Majors & Farrah Fawcett Wedding 1973

Farrah and Lee, Hollywood Couple

Farrah Fawcett in the 70s

Ryan O'Neal

Lee Majors, Farrah Fawcett , and Ryan O'Neal

Lee Majors married an unknown Farrah Fawcett in 1973. It was his second marriage and her first. He had been doing bit parts and had graduated to upcoming star at the time of their marriage while Farrah was an attractive, ambitious starlet with high ambition. Lee did all he could to land his wife parts in televisions shows and commercials and by the mid 70s Farrah had enough of a history in walk on parts and commercials to be considered as an "angel" in the series, "Charlies Angeles."

The show was originally considered to be a platform for Kate Jackson who had previously starred in "The Rookies", but in no time at all Farrah became everyone's favorite angel. With her booming popularity came marital stress. Lee Majors wanted children and a more family oriented home, but Farrah was being offered movie roles and just about everything under the sun. She was no longer satisfied with the simple life she had originally dreamed of, and yearned for more glamor, fame, and excitement. She was quickly moving away from Lee Majors emotionally. But the whole country knew her as, Farrah Fawcett Majors, which boosted her popularity due to the fact that Lee was starring in The Six Million Dollar Man, and his name was a household word in 1976.

Majors was friendly with Ryan O'Neal and had invited him to his home for dinner. Farrah was instantly attracted to the charismatic hunk and it was not long before she and Ryan fell deep into an affair. Ryan was exciting, flamboyant, and emotional. At this point in Farrah's life Ryan had everything that she had been craving. When Majors caught wind the affair and asked Ryan to back off, the lusty and romantic O'Neal told his friend that he could not because he was in love with Farrah. That was the end of their friendship forever.

Fawcett and O'Neal embarked on one of the longest, most passionate and down right violent affairs in the history of Hollywood. Ryan was everything Lee Majors was not. He was ruggedly handsome, outgoing, passionate, emotional, and toxic. He had been a boxer before breaking into acting, and due to his dazzling smile, thick read hair, and natural charm he was perfect for soap operas, and he gained popularity in the series, Peyton Place, in the 1960s. He was irresistible to Farrah, who in the late 1970s still had a quiet and old fashioned, feminine disposition. Very attractive qualities to an alpha male like Ryan O'Neal.

While Majors sulked for a few years, he did eventually move on to remarry, had three children, and lived a more tranquil life outside of the spotlight.

Farrah and Ryan never married and lived a more liberal, Hollywood lifestyle. Farrah aged quickly, fought regularly with O'Neal, and the relationship was a constant drama between Ryan's children, Farrah, and then Farrah's eventual pregnancy. She and Ryan had a son Redmond, who battled drugs and alcohol from his teen years and on.

In her last years Farrah spoke in a raspy voice and seemed to be under the influence a great deal of the time. In the late 1990s she and Ryan broke up after catching Ryan in bed with another woman, however, the couple got back together after she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

She died of cancer at the age of 62, with Ryan still battling his children at Farrah's funeral. Griffin arrived but was not allowed in. Two guards kept his family from paying their respect. Tatum embraced her dad after seeing him place Farrah's coffin in the hearse and claims that her dad did not recognize her and began hitting on her with she having to announce, "dad its me, Tatum".

Farrah Fawcett & Ryan O'Neal. Hollywood Couple

Farrah & Her Boyfriend, Gregg Lott

Farrah Death Aftermath

The O'Neal family has always been associated with the image of a dysfunctional family, yet in the years following Farrah's death that very image has actually intensified as Ryan makes regular appearances on reality television to talk about what went wrong in his family after he met Farrah.

Tatum O'Neal has written a nasty "daddy dearest" autobiography in which she demonizes her father. Ryan fires back regularly on talk shows, while his son, Griffin, has joined Tatum in taking shots at his father. Many believe it's a case of spoiled Hollywood children following in Christina Crawfords footsteps of making money bashing a famous relative because they have no real skills in which to earn a living, but others lap up every word the O'Neal children spew out, with tons of hate mail being sent Ryan's way.

The drama continues to escalate as Farrah's boyfriend of eleven years now makes his rounds on the talk shows and stalks Ryan O'Neal, who was shocked to learn that Farrah had a paramour.

Watch the clip of Gregg Lott trying to lure the notoriously tempermental O'Neal into a physical confrontation. O'Neal, not one to shy away from a fight, even in his 70s he boxed a man in his 20s for charity and actually won on points for being the aggressor, but in this case O'Neal sees the camera and then softens up. Oh the drama.

Greg Lott Confronting Ryan O'Neal

Dorothy Stratten

Paul Snyder and Dorothy Statten

Hefner and Stratten

Peter Bogdanoviceh and Dorothy

Peter Bogdanovich and Louise Stratten

Dorothy Stratten, Paul Snyder, and Peter Bogdanovich

One of the strangest triangle scandals to hit Hollywood was the strange union of Paul Snyder and Dorothy Stratten- that soon became Paul, Dorothy, and Peter Bogdanovich with a hint of Hugh Hefner on the side.

Dorothy was a beautiful teenager who was helping her mother pay bills by working at her local Dairy Queen in Canada. Paul Snyder, a shifty yet clever entrepreneur spotted Dorothy and knew instantly that she could make a lot of money with her looks alone. Even though Paul was about 10 years older than Dorothy he soon lured her into an affair and used his age to appear to be a man of the world. Dorothy was easily led by him and was soon posing nude for a photographer hired by Paul. Once the photos were handed over to Paul he sent them off to The Playboy company in hopes that they would be someone would be interested in meeting Dorothy. The day after the photos were received Paul was notified that they were interested but needed a singed consent from Dorothy's mother due to the fact that she was only 17. That was no problem for Paul as he forged her mothers signature and the two were off to Hollywood to get Dorothy a place in the Playboy mansion. All seemed to be working out just the way Paul wanted for Dorothy, however, things were not going well for him.

He had envisioned himself getting credit for begin Dorothy's manager but instead he found himself being outcast by men who were far more powerful than he was. Hugh Hefner told Dorothy that she did not need him, and soon Dorothy would meet Peter Bogdanovich, a wealthy director, and get an earful about what a hindrance Paul would be to her.

Both men had dollar signs in their eyes the same as Paul did and it was a three way tug of war as to who would ultimately profit off of Dorothy. Peter offered Dorothy parts in his movies, Hugh offered her a position as a playboy bunny, and Paul was left out of the ring. Driven by a desperation to gain wealth and respectability on his own, Paul began working on side ambitions and his creativity served him well, Paul had watched Dorothy strut around in her bunny costume and came up with a brilliant idea. He created a group of male dancers who would dress in a bow tie and entertain women. The Chippendales club became a big hit but other more powerful men snagged Paul's idea and booted him out. He was now focused on gaining a step up by being Dorothy Stratten's husband.

Dorothy did marry Paul out of guilt and wishing to help Paul's career in the same manner that he had helped hers, but but due to Peter Bogdanovich's jealousy, Dorothy felt bullied by her new boyfriend putting pressure on her marriage and she quickly filed for a divorce.

In August of 1980 Paul invited Dorothy over to talk about the divorce amicably and she was never seen alive again. Dorothy was assaulted and shot after entering Paul's home, and after hours of torturing Dorothy, Paul shot himself. Dorothy was just 20 years old, Paul was 29. After the death of Dorothy and Paul Peter Bogdanovich did a curious thing. He went to Canada to spend time with Dorothy's family and write a book about her life, The Killing of a Unicorn. His book blasted, his rival for Dorothy, Hugh Hefner for being the cause of Dorothy's troubles. This led Hefner to publicly state that Bogdanovich had gone to Canada to be close to Dorothy's younger sister, Louise, who was 13 years old at the time.

Louise Stratten, then a teenager, claimed that the allegations by Hefner were untrue and a lawsuit by Peter against Hugh ensued. It was not long before charges were dropped by Peter due to things he did not wish to defend began to surface.

At the age of 49 in 1988 Peter married Dorothy's little sister Louise Stratten, after she turned 20. The couple divorced after 15 years of marriage. After the divorce Louise sent an apology to Hefner stating that she knew Dorothy liked him and that he was in no way responsible for her sister's death.

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    • Skarlet profile image
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      Skarlet 4 years ago from California

      @ Betty-She acted like she was shrugging it off at the time in an effort to avoid getting into things that were not made public yet.

      I wonder if you would be so sweet to a man who did this to you. Eddie blasted Debbie every chance he got, and wrote a tell all in which he blamed her for everything.

    • profile image

      Betty 5 years ago

      Everyone thinks Debbie Reynolds was America's Sweetheart, but America was not married to her. She was married three times and could not make a successful marriage. Why blame everything on Eddie, he made mistakes, sure, but his biggest mistake was marrying Debbie. As far as shrugging off her divorce from Eddie, she does not shrug it off, she blasts Eddie every chance she gets. She is not perfect, she is VERY low class. After Eddie's death, she continued to make fun of him. Not a nice person at all.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I remember the buzz when this happened. It was such a sad part of Reynolds life. Now, as you posted, she just looks back at it and shrugs her shoulders. Good post here, Skarlet.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Skarlet.....looks likeyour traffic is increasing!! Great....Congratulations. Word is getting out of your wonderful hubs and your enthusiasm.

      I recently saw Debbie Reynolds on a talk show, with her daughter, Carrie.

      She spoke of Eddie Fisher...and Elizabeth as well. It was interesting and funny.

      Liz was a classic beauty, without a doubt. Eddie Fisher had the worst facelift in the history of Hollywood!! lol.

    • zombiedamage profile image

      zombiedamage 5 years ago

      you are absolutely welcome Skarlet. i love your writing style and you seem so passionate when you write. so glad i came across your hubs.

    • Skarlet profile image
      Author

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Thank you so much for the very kind compliment zombiedamage. I truly appreciate it.

    • zombiedamage profile image

      zombiedamage 5 years ago

      i would definitely love to see some old hollywood ghost stories or legends like the one about Harry Houdini. and with the talent you have i think you'd do an amazing job coming up with the information. awesome job Skarlet.

    • Skarlet profile image
      Author

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Hmmm Haunted? The only one I can think of off the top of my head is the old Harry Houdini tale about how groups of people were going to his home and holding seances to try to get him to "escape" from the dead.

      But, good idea. Ghost stories would probably do well around Halloween time here at Hubpages:)

    • zombiedamage profile image

      zombiedamage 5 years ago

      Skarlet do you know any good haunted hollywood ghost stories??

    • Skarlet profile image
      Author

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Thank you very much, I truly appreciate the compliment BeautyAndTheRest.

    • BeautyAndTheRest profile image

      BeautyAndTheRest 5 years ago

      I love your writing. This article kept me hooked right from the beginning till end :) Great one Skarlet !

    • Skarlet profile image
      Author

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Thank you zombidamage. I love that name.

      I have always been interested in old Hollywood stories too.

    • zombiedamage profile image

      zombiedamage 5 years ago

      Liz Taylor was a very gorgeous woman. the fact that men fell for her is apparent. she had the looks. it's sad that so many hearts had to be broken. hollywood is so full of crazy and amazing backstories that it's amazing. i love reading about old hollywood and the stars back then. great article.