She was 75 when she died of heart failure Tuesday at Forest Hills Hospital in Queens, her spouse of 38 years told The New York Times.
Riss was 22 in 1959 when she ended an affair with her married beau, lawyer Pugach, who then hired thugs who permanently scarred her face and blinded her. She married Pugach after he got out of prison more than a decade later.
Their relationship and related legal battles were documented in the 1976 book "A Very Different Love Story" by Berry Stainback, as well as the 2007 documentary, "Crazy Love."
"We loved each other more than any other couple could have," Pugach tearfully told the Times in a phone interview Wednesday. "Ours was a storybook romance."
Pugach, 85, denied in the interview having ordered the use of lye in the attack on his future wife.
"I asked one guy to find someone who would beat her up, to try and get her back," he said. "I didn't ask anybody to throw lye at her."