Diahann Carroll and Vanessa Williams Take the Bridal Path, as Lee Iacocca and Leonard Nimoy Trot Off Alone

updated 01/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Friday Jan. 2 was Syzygy Day, as the earth, moon and sun lined up to cause high tides. A savage winter storm lashed the East Coast, cutting Atlantic City off from the mainland. Saturday, though, brought better weather, along with love and romance, as just two stars—Vic Damone and Diahann Carroll—lined up to exchange vows before the mayor in Atlantic City's Golden Nugget casino-hotel.

Even as Damone, 58, and Carroll, 51, were gambling on marriage one more time, Vanessa Williams, America's sweetheart no matter how she dresses, was saying "I do" 100 miles up the coast. Gliding down the aisle for the first time, Williams wore an ivory silk-satin gown studded with pearls and crystal beads. Waiting at the altar of Manhattan's St. Francis Xavier Church was Williams' groom-to-be, publicist Ramon Hervey. The bride cried a little and had trouble putting on the ring, but she recited her vows in a voice all could hear. One guest went out on a limb and described Vanessa as "absolutely radiant." Williams, 23, and Hervey, 36, headed for an undisclosed location to honeymoon. From there, it's back to L.A., where they are living while Vanessa pursues her acting career. She has signed to star in Spike Lee's next movie, School Daze.

If Williams and Hervey are newcomers to marriage, Damone and Carroll are experienced. Each has three priors—and each has been touched by tragedy. Two of Damone's ex-wives, including Italian actress Pier Angeli, committed suicide. Carroll's third husband, magazine editor Robert DeLeon, was killed in a car crash.

Damone and Carroll have been dating for almost three years. Diahann says she realized the depth of her feelings for Vic on the anniversary of their first date. "I gave him a golf cart," she says. In recent months Carroll has gone to even greater lengths to prove her love. She made her first Christmas dinner in 10 or 12 years "because I wanted him to know that I could cook a decent meal." But lest Vic get the wrong idea, says Diahann, "I also explained that I don't have any plans to do that again in the near future."

Damone has three daughters, Carroll one. Before he and Diahann could get married, says Vic, "We asked their permission." Permission granted, Carol Diann Johnson and Vito Farinola, which is how their wedding certificate reads, were married in a no-nonsense eight-minute ceremony before 50 people. After a two-hour reception, the newlyweds embarked on married life by doing two shows together in the Golden Nugget's nightclub. That's not such a bad deal considering that Steve Wynn, the casino's president, picked up the tab for the wedding. Among the songs in their act were Damone's renditions of That Old Black Magic and To All the Girls I've Loved Before.

Damone and Carroll still have a bit of marrying to do. Vic is a member of the Baha'i faith and plans to marry Diahann again according to those rites. And Diahann is a Unitarian, so that probably means another church date. Maybe they just have a thing for rice.

One of the invitees was Damone's pal Lee Iacocca. Lee, 62, had to send his regrets, though, as he was busy announcing that his own eight-month marriage to former flight attendant Peggy Johnson, 36, had run out of gas before the warranty had even expired. After their marriage last April, Peggy kept her apartment on Manhattan's East Side, while Iacocca spent much of his time in Detroit. Friends say Lee got tired of eating dinner alone. One source speculated that Peggy balked at living with the memories of Lee's late first wife, Mary, in his Bloomfield Hills home, Iacocca then bought a house in Grosse Pointe but blew up when he learned how much Peggy was planning to spend on redecoration. Peggy claims she learned of the impending divorce when papers were delivered to her apartment on New Year's Eve. According to her lawyer, she was deeply upset. The lawyer, who preferred to categorize the whole thing as a "marital spat," says Peggy is deeply in love with Iacocca and doesn't want any part of a divorce.

While the Iacoccas were crashing and burning after a mere test drive, Leonard and Sandi Nimoy were showing that longevity doesn't guarantee permanence either. Married for nearly 33 years, the Nimoys are launching a "trial separation." Since neither Leonard nor Sandi is talking, only a Vulcan mind probe can reveal the source of their differences.

This flurry of marital blast-offs and burnouts may give rise to a new theory on syzygy. Perhaps this phenomenon, which occurs once every 20 years, affects the ebb and flow of human emotions every bit as much as it does the tides.

From Our Partners