“Crazy Love” is a documentary of a true story about love, obsession, harassment, stalking, insanity and forgiveness. The couple that is the subject of the story appeared on the ABC television program “The View” The ladies of “The View” interviewed Burt and Linda Pugach, who tell their story in order to promote the documentary film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Burt and Linda Pugach met in the 1950’s and had a whirlwind romance in New York. They lived the glamorous New York lifestyle of another era,, with night clubs, dinner clubs and limousines. Burt was a well to do ambulance chasing attorney. Linda was an attractive woman with an effervescent spirit. However, the relationship was a sham. Burt was married and had a disabled daughter. He lied to Linda when he told her he was getting a divorce, even showing her fake divorce papers. Linda figured out that he was lying about the divorce and left him. Linda started dating another man and even got engaged.
Burt was obsessed with Linda and when he couldn’t get her back he hired three men to throw lye in her face. He reasoned that if he couldn’t have her, no one else could or would.
After Linda’s eyes were horribly disfigured, her other suitor backed off and Linda was left alone. After the attack Linda always wore large dark sunglasses and a wig.
Burt went to prison for fourteen years for his violent crime. During his incarceration, he wrote love letters to Linda continually. During this time, Linda claimed that she went on with her life. she continued to go out and have fun.
The ladies of “The View” asked her about this, stating that they thought that maybe during this period of time, Linda had had no money and couldn’t work and was blind and that was why she eventually took Burt back. Linda claimed that was not the case, she had money and continued on with her life. She wore sunglasses at all times because of disfigurement. Linda did eventually go blind as a result of the attack, but that was years later.
Burt continued to pursue Linda from prison. Linda claimed that she saw Burt on TV when he was released from prison in 1974 and that he was better looking than he had been before. The two married that same year and continue to be married.
Year later, Burt was again charged with with a similar crime against a woman that he was cheating on Linda with. Burt was charged with sexually abusing and threatening his mistress in 1997. He was again sent to prison, this time for fifteen days.A jury found him not guilty of making threats against his ex-mistress, but guilty on one charge of second degree harassment.
The ladies of “The View” seemed incredulous about the story of the Pugach’s, as have many others.
According to a New York Times Review, “For Worse and for Better: Documenting an Obsession”, written by Allison Hope Weiner, ” In the film, friends of Linda Pugach recall the beauty of her eyes before the attack, but no one quite explains how she could marry the man responsible for it. Mr. Pugach’s friends speak about as if it were committed by someone they didn’t know. In the end only the victim and the perpetrator seem to have reached any real understanding of it.”
After his second imprisonment, he returned home to his wife, who was now totally blind as a result of the violence he had perpetrated upon her so many years before. In an interview published on the Crazy Love website, Linda talks about her discovery of Burt’s infidelity, sounding like she expected him to be unfaithful. Burt spoke of how he takes good care of his wife.
In 1959, when Burt and Linda started dating, he was 32 and she was 20. Now, Burt is 79 and Linda is 68.
Dan Klores tell the story of the obsessive relationship of Burt and Linda Pugach in the movie. “Crazy Love” had it’s world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Crazy Love earned the Best Documentary award at the 2007 Santa Barbara Film Festival.
ABC Television program “The View”
New York Times Review, “For Worse and for Better: Documenting an Obsession”, written by Allison Hope Weiner, ” (nytimes.com)