LATEST: The first wife of late actor Jerry Orbach has rushed to the defence of her son after he lashed out at his father's widow over claims she cut him out of a multi-million dollar inheritance.
The actor's 39-year-old son, Chris Orbach, launched an attack against his stepmother Elaine Cancilla-Orbach on Monday (11Aug08).
In a scathing letter, which was made public, he accuses her of manipulating his father into cutting his children out of his $10 million (GBP5 million) estate - which will be held in a trust until her death.
Cancilla-Orbach refuted the claims telling the New York Post "I don't hate Chris but I don't understand why he's doing this. Everything he says is untrue."
And now Orbach's first wife Marta Curro - who shared two sons with the late actor - has stepped in to defend her son's claims admitting she advised him to write the letter.
She says, "I said be careful because she's not very smart. I said it may be best to write it and not send it. He sent me a copy of it. I was shocked by half the stuff in there. I know his feelings were very badly hurt. You know how people can equate money with love. I'm really thrilled that Chris is not a hypocrite. He was having a hard time sucking up to her."
And Curro added of her shock to discover her ex-husband's eyes had been donated to the Eye Bank of America - a decision Chris has publicly denounced.
She says, "I was sitting on the subway one time and I looked up and saw a picture of Jerry and it was the Eye Bank ad and I thought 'Nobody on this train knows how freaked out I am.'"
Orbach and Curro divorced in 1975 after 17 years together, though she insists the pair remained close despite his second marriage to Cancilla-Orbach in 1979: "He used to call me every Friday when she went out. Jerry and I were friends and I always laughed at this person (Cancilla-Orbach). But I stopped laughing when she started hurting my kids."
Orbach died of prostate cancer in 2004 at the age of 69.