Mel Harris Weds in Record Time: One Minute and Fortysomething

updated 11/07/1988 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/1988 01:00AM

In California life doesn't imitate art, it mimics TV. Take the quicker-than-a-commercial-break nuptials of thirtysomething's Mel Harris, 32, and actor Cotter Smith, 39. What with all the BMWs, Mercedeses and Porsches valet parked on the casually chic Sherman Oaks neighborhood street and all the boutique-dressed babies in attendance, "yuptials" would better describe the event.

The actual ceremony lasted exactly one minute and 42 seconds after starting the required 20 minutes late. Along with the other members of the cast (the only no-show was Timothy "Elliot" Busfield), Peter Horton arrived to the strains of a romantic Greek ballad and strode past a flower-filled goat cart to the Harris' screened-off hacienda.

"What are you guys doing here?" Horton asked the media types, whose access was limited to the street. "I thought this was hush-hush." In fact, secrecy had dictated that there be no formal invitations, and security was so tight that the woman who lived next door was almost denied access to her own driveway. Undismayed by the paparazzi's presence, Horton even teased them before disappearing inside: "I'm sure Mel is a beautiful bride. Maybe even blushing."

Harris' first marriage, to photographer David Hume Kennerly, ended last May. She and Smith met on the set of the yet-to-be-released feature Cameron's Closet a year ago. Smith is best known for playing Robert F. Kennedy in the 1983 miniseries Blood Feud: Kennedy vs. Hoffa. According to a snooty party coordinator who wisely declined to give her name, the 150 guests were "most of them nobodies, just Mel and Cotter's relatives from New Jersey and Washington, D.C."

After the marriage, a roar of laughter went up when Smith gave Harris a Valentino-like dip and planted a dramatic kiss on her lips. Then the gathered friends and family gave the couple an extended ovation before toasting the newlyweds at a six-hour reception in the backyard. Congratulations, Mel and Cotter. May you enjoy more than thirtysomething happy years together.

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