Anniversary Waltz

updated 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CHARLTON & LYDIA HESTON

Long before he was Moses, Charlton Heston was a shy 17-year-old who had never dated. The day he spotted Lydia Clarke in his Northwestern University theater class, though, he leaped into action. "He grabbed a hunk of my hair and yanked it," says Lydia. "I stroked it," insists Charlton. "I couldn't resist." That encounter led, somehow, to marriage three years later, on March 17, 1944. An Army Air Corps private stationed in Greensboro, N.C., Heston could afford only a $12 ring, and there was no photographer. (The picture at right was their first as a married couple.) Last March the Hestons, now both 70, celebrated their golden anniversary. "We've always had our own interests," says Lydia, an actress turned photographer. "It keeps the marriage from turning in on itself."

David Brown & HELEN GURLEY BROWN

"It took me 18 months to convince David that marrying me was a good idea," says Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown. "I never could have a bridal shower because I was never sure David would go through with the wedding." On Sept. 25, 1959, producer David Brown, 43 and twice divorced, finally pledged his troth to the 37-year-old Gurley at the Beverly Hills city hall. "I was ecstatic that day," she says. "David now says he's glad he married me. I should hope so!"

JOHNNY CASH & JUNE CARTER CASH

A whole lot of country songs have been sung since Johnny Cash, then 36, married June Carter, 38, in Franklin, Tenn., on March 1, 1968. At the time, June thought, "Wonder how long he'll be able to carry me after we make it across the threshold." Now, 26 years later, she's relaxed on that score. "It's 1994, and he's still arrying me," she says. "I'll admit, though, there's been a few times that God's given me the strength to pick John up." June gives the credit for their long-lasting marriage to "our mutual faith in God and in each other." Johnny's recipe is more down-home: "Commitment," he says, "and separate bathrooms."

MEAT LOAF & LESLIE ADAY

In a spur-of-the-moment ceremony at rocker Todd Rundgren's Woodstock, N.Y., farm in 1975, secretary Leslie Edmonds, 20, married Meat Loaf, 27. For obvious reasons, Leslie took the name Aday, her husband's real surname. "We had known each other for three weeks, but we decided to get married immediately," says Meat oaf. Well, they were in Woodstock. And they must have known what they were doing. "We've been married for nearly 20 years," Meat Loaf says, "and we're still best friends."

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