Ring in the New

updated 01/20/1992 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/20/1992 01:00AM

THAT'S A MODEST LITTLE NUMBER, ISN'T IT?" author and TV producer Steve Sohmer said with a laugh, giving his bride—Days of Our Lives leading lady Deidre Hall—an admiring but ironic once-over. She was wearing a Nolan Miller gown of pearl-festooned Italian-duchess silk satin. But Sohmer was hardly one to talk of extravagance. It was at his sumptuous, four-bedroom Winter Garden—the entire wing of a condo-ized, 17th-century manor home in Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire, 80 miles northwest of London—that the 50-year-old Anglophile was marrying the 44-year-old Hall, known to soapo-philes as psychiatrist Marlena Evans, before 50 guests on New Year's Eve.

"I always knew he was the love of my life," says Hall, who, like the groom, was tying the knot for the third time. The couple met over lunch in 1982, when Sohmer was still a top executive with NBC and Hall was six years into her residency as Dr. Evans. "Steve proposed to me a lot," says Hall, and the two were even briefly engaged. ("It's difficult to have a relationship where two people are so consumed with ambition," says Sohmer of their breakup in 1984.) The romance started up again after her two-year marriage to TV executive Michael (21 Jump Street) Dubelko ended in 1989. At that point, though, Sohmer decided that he was too pooped to pop the question: "I said to her, 'You want to get married, you propose.' " And so she did, just before her Halloween birthday, two months past her return to Lives after a four-year absence. The occasion was dinner at L.A.'s Patina restaurant. Hall's method was a surprise dessert: a miniature wedding cake topped by figures of the pair—Sohmer's with a cigar in his mouth.

And now forever after. Sohmer, best known for the thriller Favorite Son (he also produced the NBC mini-series), is at work on a new novel; Hall is negotiating spinning off Dr. Evans into her own soap. They plan to buy themselves a house in L.A. (they have homes in Boston and New York City) and start a family. (Sohmer has a 28-year-old daughter, Ilisa, from his first marriage.) Ambition, says Hall, is no longer a problem. "I was saying to Steve, 'What's next?' And he said, 'Well, I've got my golf game, and I've got my writing, and I've got you. I've run out of reams.

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