New Beginning, Fond Farewell

updated 02/07/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/07/2005 01:00AM

Nobody ever accused Donald J. Trump of understatement. So when The Donald—whom I've known for more than a decade—invited me to his wedding to Melania Knauss, I knew I'd be wowed. But watching the pair exchange vows in Palm Beach's Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, I was struck by the solemn simplicity of the service, taken from the Book of Common Prayer. In the hushed sanctuary there was a total absence of hype—just two people voicing their commitment. At the joyous Mar-a-Lago reception that followed, a roomful of big names overflowed with goodwill for a couple building a new life together. I was, in fact, wowed—but not in the way I had expected.

Then the next morning I received a call from PEOPLE West Coast bureau chief Todd Gold, who gave me the sad news that Johnny Carson's life had come to an end. For millions of us, Carson will always be King of Late Night. This issue marks the sixth time Johnny has graced PEOPLE's cover—our final tribute to the wry magician from Nebraska who managed to touch lives and revolutionize television while remaining a class act. We will miss him.

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