Everybody knew that Larry King, the ubiquitous talk show host, was good on the telephone. But nobody knew just how good until Oct. 7, when he wed Julie Alexander at Duke Zeibert's restaurant in Washington, D.C. Before popping the question on July 25, King, 55, had met Alexander, 41, a Philadelphia headhunter just once, for five electric minutes at a celebrity roast two weeks earlier. "The feeling was a jolt of lightning—the kind songwriters write about," marvels King. But King lives in Washington and Alexander in Philadelphia. So the courtship was strictly long distance.

"We'd been talking for about two weeks," says King. "Twice a day, three, four, five, six times a day, when I said, 'Uhh, we ought to, uh...' She said, 'What, Larry?' I said, 'Get married.' She said, 'Yes.' We had not kissed or had a date." A week later they met in Chicago—for just the second time in their lives—to celebrate their engagement.

Both Alexander and King have trod the aisle before. She was married once; King, a driven worker who hosts a three-hour radio show and a one-hour TV interview program each day, in addition to writing a weekly newspaper column, has been a party to at least three previous weddings. He has two children: a daughter, Chaia, 21, and an adopted son, Andy, 33. Despite a heart attack and bypass surgery in 1987, he is eager to start a new family. "Nothing could make me happier," he says, "than if she were to have a successful pregnancy. It would be a hoot."

The wedding itself had that kind of feel. The bride wore a $5,000 gown with a full train as she met her groom in Zeibert's back room. Among the 120 guests were Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, cablemeister Ted Turner, Republican National Committee chairman Lee Atwater and actress Lynda Carter. A judge and a rabbi joined Alexander, a Quaker, and King, a Jew, in matrimony. Afterward, the newly weds drank Dom Perignon, a gift from Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy; the guests sipped Korbel and munched on crab-cakes and beef.

The new Mrs. King will keep her job in Philadelphia, joining her husband on weekends in Washington. Leaving for her honeymoon, Alexander was still trying to explain how she had been willing to marry King with nothing more to go on than five memorable minutes and a slew of follow-up phone calls. "When he walked through the door, there was a chemistry. I had a feeling this man was going to be my husband," she said.

The groom agreed. "In previous marriages," he says, "I was walking down the aisle saying to myself, 'Yeah, but...' This is the first time there are no buts."

—William Plummer, Katy Kelly in Washington