'T was the season to be married. Which is to say, those were not sleigh bells but wedding bells you heard ringing the past couple of weeks for the likes of Bette Midler, George Peppard, Sally Field, Jamie Lee Curtis, Mariel Hemingway and Olivia Newton-John.
By all accounts, Newton-John's wedding to Matt Lattanzi was the most atmospheric—the "essence of Came-lot," one guest was heard to sigh. Tiny white lights lit the quarter-mile drive to the singer's five-acre Malibu Canyon retreat, where Lattanzi has been in residence for close to four years. The ceremony was private, performed by Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Jerry Pacht in Livvy's living room, which was lit by a Christmas tree and white tapers atop a white piano. The 25-year-old groom wore a Giorgio Armani tux, while the bride, 36, was a confection of white taffeta and Chantilly lace set off with white pearls and assorted flowers and ribbons. It was the first marriage for both. The newly licit pair was flanked by siblings: Matt's brother, Steve, stood as best man, while Olivia's sister, Rona, served as matron of honor.
Jeanette Lattanzi, Matt's mother, called the new Mrs. Lattanzi "a sweet, unaffected girl," who "has always fit in with our family." Just how unaffected Olivia really is rang clear in the toast offered by her father, English literature professor Brin Newton-John of Sydney, Australia. It seems that as a little girl Livvy wanted nothing more than to ride horses. After one three-day spree, her father finally admonished her that it was high time she took a bath. "But, Daddy," said Olivia, "then I won't smell like a horse." Newton-John responded to this anecdote with an appropriate bridal blush, then sat down to a dinner of turkey and ham.
Apart from the principals, there was nary a celebrity in sight. (John Travolta, Newton-John's Grease co-star, was in Africa.) "If Livvy hadn't been there," reports an industry insider, "you would never have guessed it was a superstar's wedding." The celebrity quotient may have been low, but there was at least a Jackson on hand. No, not that Jackson, but Olivia's Irish setter, whose name is simply Jackson. "He walked between the bride and groom," says Jeanette Lattanzi, "and then seated himself and watched like a real gentleman."
It's his fourth, by George
In what may have been the season's quintessential showbiz wedding, George Peppard and Alexis Adams walked down the aisle of Studio City's Little Brown Church before 75 friends, including A-Team co-stars Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz. J.J., as her friends call the actress turned painter, was dressed in a full-length white gown of lace over satin. Peppard wore a dark blue suit, accented by a white carnation. "When they were reciting their vows," says Cheryl Kagen, Peppard's friend and publicist, "and it came to the part of for richer or for poorer, George laughingly put a lot of emphasis on the richer part." Peppard, 56, had been through the ceremony three times before and understandably knew his lines well. But for Adams, 28, the wedding was a first. Nervous, she began with, "I, George, take you...." Which, in turn, induced Peppard to jump in with, "Not so fast. You're not wearing the pants in this family yet."
He won a place in Sally's heart
The Sally Field log:
April 1977. "Sure I wish I had a family. Part of me wants the white picket fence and meat loaf on Wednesday."
December 1982. "Someday a person will come into my life, and I'll know this is the person I want to build something with."
October 1984, on producer Alan Greisman. "For the first time, something feels right in this area."
December 1984. Field, 38, and Greisman, 37, exchanged marital vows in her Tarzana, Calif. home. The doorbell pealed "Here Comes the Bride," a deejay played hits from the '60s, and Sally and Alan started to build something.
Mariel snares a Hard Rocker
In her cream satin gown with its five-foot train, she was a perfect picture. When Mariel Hemingway, 23, married Steve Crisman, 35, in St. Thomas' Episcopal Church in New York last month, it was the culmination of a seven-month romance that began—yes, it's true—when their eyes met across a crowded room. Said room happened to be in Manhattan's Hard Rock Cafe, where Crisman is one of the managers. "Steve is a real man, an urban cowboy," Mariel told Paris Match before taking the big step. "If I were a man, I would dress the way he does, act the way he does. I'm getting married for life."
Jamie Lee's Guest shot
Free spirit that she is, Jamie Lee Curtis wore a dress at her wedding to This is Spinal Tap's Christopher Guest that her mother, Janet Leigh, described as "lace over nude." Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner hosted the affair at his Beverly Hills home. Curtis, 26, isn't interested in trading places with anybody, though it sounds like her mom wouldn't mind. "He is an endearing young man," Leigh says of Guest, 36. "I am totally in love with him."
Dial M for marriage
It was approaching 2 a.m. as the Divine Miss M and Martin Rochus Sebastian von Haselberg traded "I do's" at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Midler, 39, and von Haselberg, 35, a performance artist and commodities trader from Argentina, flew in from L.A. for the $45 ceremony and left immediately thereafter. Something of a fly-by-night affair, you might say.
AFTER SEVEN 'I DO'S,' LIZ IS DOING IT AGAIN
They're playing her song again—the Wedding March. Elizabeth Taylor says she is about to get married. Her next hubby will be Dennis Stein, 52, a Brooklyn-born entrepreneur who made a name for himself selling faded jeans in the mid-1970s. He met Taylor, also 52, on a blind date rumored to have been arranged by mutual friend Frank Sinatra in November. "I was talking to Elizabeth the next day," says Dynasty designer and close friend Nolan Miller, "and she said she had met the best-looking man the night before. Then she laughed and said 'He's even an available man.' " A month later Stein presented Liz with an engagement ring, a 20-carat sapphire reported to be worth more than $100,000. "It's really rather nondescript," snipes a friend of Taylor's. Miller was called in to design the wedding dress.
Intimates worry that Taylor, who broke up with year-long fiancé Victor Luna after the sudden death of Richard Burton last summer, may be acting hastily. "Elizabeth doesn't like the single life," says a longtime friend, "and she's the first to admit it. She needs a man in her life."
The new man in her life comes across as something of a hustler. "You couldn't call him a low-key person," says a good friend of Taylor's. He briefly squired Joan Collins and has dated at least one Miss Universe. Based in New York, he spends much of his time in L.A., where he is a consultant to the Technicolor company, holder of the movie process patent.
According to Warren Hirsh, ex-president of Murjani and a onetime competitor of Stein's in the jeans game, "Dennis is very Brooklyn. He's a street guy. He's flashy, very much a seller of himself." Pat Seaton Lawford, one of Liz's close friends, says: "No one is too sure what the real Dennis Stein is like, because he's always joking." One example of his sense of humor: New York restaurateur Elaine Kaufman is on a diet, so Stein sent her a 3½-pound film reel made of chocolate.
Still, Stein may prove a tonic for Taylor, who spent last Christmas at the Betty Ford Center in California. He doesn't drink, and now neither does Liz. "She's staying on the straight and narrow and avoiding booze," says a crony. "But she's smoking nonstop. That's all they let you do at Betty Ford, so she's chain-smoking. But she looks terrific, slim and young."