Friday, September 27, 2013

My dream seatmate

I'm pretending that I'm on a long flight* and I get to kill time with Suzy Hunt. She's an enigmatic, blonde Forrest Gump. She was there for so much, knows so much about so many cool people, and doesn't speak to anyone about any of it.

She was Suzy Miller, a tall, willowy London model when being a tall, willowy London model was the best thing to be. She met and quickly married studly James Hunt, the race car driver soon to be immortalized in Ron Howard's Rush.

That marriage unraveled pretty fast so she did what folks like that did in the 1970s -- she went to Gstaad. There she just so happened run into another less than happily married celebrity, Richard Burton. He was instantly smitten with her and they began an affair, even though he was married to old Whatshername. 

Burton decided that she was his future, his escape from his drunken, excessive life with Elizabeth and so Suzy Hunt became known as the woman who came between Liz and Dick. As the third Mrs. Burton, she is credited for helping him beat the bottle and enjoy acclaim in Equus on Broadway. During their time in New York, she and Burton frequently hung out with another high profile pair of newlyweds, Henry Kissinger and his bride, Nancy.

After six years together, the age gap between Suzy and Richard exerted itself and they, too, divorced. By now, she'd had quite enough of celebrity and, for all practical purposes, disappeared. Apparently she lived a socialite's life in Palm Springs for a while (or was it Palm Beach? I get those two confused). Currently she lives in Spain.

Though she is portrayed in the movie by Olivia Wilde, she's given no interviews to promote Rush. Nor has she joined the other Mrs. Hunt at any of the film festivals or premieres. She's never spoken publicly about her years with Burton, either, not even now that Liz is gone.

But if we were sitting together on a flight for three hours, maybe we could talk about Watergate, Taylor and Burton, James Hunt and Nikki Lauda, what it's like to have it all, what it's like to walk away ... Because as much as I admire the lady for not selling her story, I still want to hear it.

Who's your dream seatmate?

*And that I'm not stoned on Xanax


  1. Anonymous6:52 AM

    What a great post! I love the whole "seatmate on a plane" idea--and I had no idea who this woman was until now. Fascinating . . . thank you for sharing!

  2. I would want George Clooney as a seatmate. I think we'd have plenty to "talk" about. And I could surreptitiously gaze at him.

    In all seriousness, this was a fascinating post! Now I want to see Rush.


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