Why Eddie Fisher Had To Steal His Best Friend’s Girl!
Eddie Fisher, who has just barely recovered from his brutal public rejection by Liz Taylor, is now embroiled in still another triangle. Eddie, who has had half-a-dozen Hollywood actresses hot in pursuit ever since he became an “eligible” Hollywood date, has apparently elected to scorn the charms of such beauties as Edie Adams (who really is devoted to him) and Ann-Margret (who really is scooby-dooby-doo about him) for the flawless, if inarticulate, beauty of a German-born model, Renata Boeck.
This third triangle of Eddie’s triangle-scarred life started when he was introduced to Renata Boeck (pronounced Buck) late in June of this year. That night she was on the arm of Bob Evans, who gave up his Hollywood career last year. The occasion was a testimonial to Milton Berle. And because Renata was so regally beautiful and obviously out-standing in an outstanding collection of show business personalities, Eddie noticed her—but good!
Eddie also noticed that Renata was quiet and reserved and had something that hauntingly reminded him of Liz—a certain aloofness. This aloofness is something that Renata’s sister-models at the Plaza Five modeling agency apparently noticed, too. They say she is “distant,” “hard-to-know,” and “impossible to be friendly with.” “She does not appear to like girls,” said another observant co-worker. In this respect, too, she greatly resembles his soon-to-be ex. Liz, as you know, distrusts all women and surrounds herself with a male secretary, male hairdresser, male agent—presumably to compensate for the lack of “father love” in her life.
And also, like Liz, Renata is the kind of honest and forthright girl who simply won’t stay with a guy after she falls in love with another man.
And Renata has, indeed, fallen heart-over-head in love with Eddie Fisher. What’s even more interesting is that she fell for Eddie while she was still going with Bob Evans. Yes, while she was surreptitiously tete-a-teting with Eddie, she was still on hand at Bob’s very sumptuous Sutton Place pad—where she had been, shall we say, a guest for the past ten months. While Bob was busy during the day, working in the office of his clothes manufacturing company, Renata and Eddie would chat on the phone or see one another. He would always return her to her plush, borrowed surroundings in time for her to make her after-work dates with Bob. Then, as Renata and Bob had their date, Eddie would be busily singing for his supper at the posh Royal Box night club in the Americana Hotel.
Renata managed this bit of dovetailing very neatly. So well, in fact, each of her suitors was blandishing her with attention, promises and gifts. One of Eddie’s gifts to her was a very rare jade pinky ring which had, holy of holies, been given to him by Liz—who had been presented with it by Mike Todd. The ring, which looks very much like any costume jewelry in mock jade that is currently the vogue in fashionable shops, is nevertheless a very priceless ring. Reportedly, it had been taken from a mummy case in Egyptian excavations. It is the only ring of its kind in existence. Liz gave this ring to Eddie as an engagement present—while he was still married to Debbie. For Eddie to give up this intimate symbol of Liz meant only one thing to those close to him: he had at last kicked over Liz’ traces.
Eddie’s got a problem?
While Renata was blithely and artfully juggling the handsome garment manufacturer and the persistent song purveyor—and confiding to each the details of the other’s pursuit, smart enough P to show a little reluctance and reticence to each, Eddie was wrestling with an ego problem.
What Eddie came to grips with was: though he was handsome and rich and pursued by several glamour girls, he still had competition in the form of a very handsome, very rich manufacturer-turned-actor-turned-manufacturer. This created exactly the uncertainty that Renata was perhaps hoping for. Eddie, after that devastating jolt to his male ego in Rome, now was faced with another competitive love situation. Even though the stakes were smaller. Eddie had to act out the very situation that crippled him a year ago last May. He simply could not fail again. And so Eddie pulled out all the stops—wooed, won and spirited away his best friend’s girl.
Now Renata is a European-reared female with great knowledge and intuition about men—even spoiled, pampered, famous men—and she readily saw the difference between the two men. Thus, after ten months of Bob’s hospitality, and at Eddie’s very persuasive insistence, she deserted the menage of Monsieur Evans. While he was tending to the myriad details of his successful business, Renata was packing her cosmetics bag. with its myriad of tricks, for a secret airport rendezvous with Mr. Fisher. Destination: Las Vegas. Always practical, she remembered to inform the Plaza Five model agency that she might be available for work in September.
Imagine Eddie’s elation! He has succeeded where he had recently failed. He has successfully “kidnapped” this beautiful piece of pastry from his competitor—just as King Richard snatched Queen Liz from him. He installs Renata in a rented house just a swift Cadillac ride away from his own digs at the Desert Inn, where he is not only singing for pay, but for his freedom from Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher. (This, incidentally, is the same white Cadillac that Eddie had lent Ann-Margret when she was his favorite date. Could she have returned it in a fit of pique?)
Eddie could have installed Renata in an adjoining suite to his at the Desert Inn—just as Liz had installed Dickie at the Dorchester in London. But Eddie—and you have to believe this as gospel—really does have a “fetish” about clandestine relationships. He never cheated on Debbie; he never cheated on Liz. He will not allow a woman to share his home unless she shares his name.
Who is this unknown beauty who mesmerized Eddie into forgetting the agony of Liz’ behavior? No one really knows much about Renata besides Bob and Eddie. She was, they say, an airline hostess until some traveling Romeo hipped her to the modeling racket in New York. Since that time, she has appeared on and in-between the covers of Vogue, Mademoiselle, Glamour, McCalls, Seventeen and Ladies Home Journal. Because of her thick German accent, Renata’s many assignments on TV have been non-speaking parts. Currently, she can be seen in the Newport cigarettes and Coca-Cola ads on television. (Eddie worked for Coke for three years.) Photographers who have taken pictures of Renata say she has a great talent for turning on “young innocence” and “Mona Lisa mystery.” They also add that she understands everything they want to convey sexually in the ads. “She’s got this quiet tiger approach—you know, the paw is ready to destroy, all the while the smile wreathes the beautifully immobile face.”
Which man’s the marrying kind?
Obviously. Renata is schooled in the feminine mystique. She was able to keep two men in love with her simultaneously. She apparently had no remorse about a double play with her emotions and her intentions. And she obviously made the decision to leave the man who seemed less inclined toward marriage. By her inarticulate, helpless approach, Renata defeated her American-beauty counterparts in getting Eddie to declare himself in the marriage market. Quite simply, Renata has convinced Eddie that he is by far, between himself and Bob, the better man. Would she have defected otherwise?
And so, Eddie’s ego is reborn. The dead, lifeless man who was paralyzed a year ago is vigorous and triumphant now. No longer is he trampled down by that Shakespeare-spouting Welshman. Eddie is alive for the first time since 1962, feels he is a whole, virile, potent man. He feels that, despite the fact that Bob Evans is as rich as himself, and handsomer, he has been able to walk off with the prize.
As for Bob’s ego—that is another problem entirely. Bob has always been sought after by women, but his marriage to Sharon Hugueny was not a success. Both he and his partner brother (also with one broken marriage behind him) seem to prefer very young beauties. In any case, it was Bob and his herculean ego which brought this triangle to the light of black-and-white print. He screamed in headlines when he returned to his luxurious home and found that Renata had flown.
It did not take him long to put the blame on Eddie. He also told the press that Eddie was ungrateful. That he had stuck by Eddie in his two crises with Debbie and Liz and this was Eddie’s way of paying back his friendship and loyalty. Renata, after all, had been confiding details of Eddie’s courtship to Bob—presumably trying to re-ignite his diminishing ardor. When this did not happen, and when Eddie’s smash engagement at the Americana came to a conclusion and she was faced with the loss of his attentions, she had to play a bold hand. It looked as if Eddie would ask her to marry him. It looked as if he would consent to meet her parents in Germany after his divorce from Elizabeth was an accomplished fact. So she packed and fled and continued in daylight hiding in Las Vegas and nightly exposure at a special table-for-one at the Desert Inn where Eddie was singing.
The big question
Will Eddie marry this shrewd model?
Will he, after so fantastic an adventure as husband to Liz Taylor, be content to face the future with just a “beautiful face?”
While Eddie may content himself with the fact that the twenty-two-year-old Renata will be photographable from any angle for at least ten years to come (while Liz is rapidly losing out to the battle of the bulge and jowls) can he be secure in Renata’s love? Just as he “stole” her from another man, can she be stolen away again? By someone richer, more popular than himself?
A very close personal friend of Eddie’s assures us the wedding to Renata will never come off. He maintains that Eddie’s ego needed feeding and Renata fed it fabulously. Eddie has shown the world, but particularly Burton and Liz, that he too can “steal” a woman from under the very nose of a best friend, just as Burton stole his beloved wife.
So, perhaps unwittingly, Eddie has brought the circle full round. He has relived the traumatic experience that sent him into a paralytic tailspin. Only this time Eddie has projected himself in the role of the aggressor and the winner.
Renata Boeck, whether or not she will ever become the third Mrs. Fisher, has helped restore Eddie to himself in a way that no doctor could.
That is why Eddie had to steal his best friend’s girl—to prove to himself that he is still a most attractive and desirable man. To prove to Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher that he can “still cut the mustard.”
—BY KIM RICHARDS
Eddie Fisher records for Ramrod Records.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE OCTOBER 1963