The bizarro nuptial event of the year went down Saturday in New York City, when Ms. Liza Minnelli, 56, wedded Mr. David Gest, 48, before 1,500 Love Boat-worthy guest stars, including Elizabeth Taylor, Mia Farrow and Michael Jackson.
Oh, and Tito, too.
The brothers Jackson served as co-best men. (Perfectly reasonable explanation there. Gest told Dateline NBC he grew up with the Jacksons in Encino, California, where as neighbor kids, they "did everything normal kids do.")
Screen legend Taylor--"my surrogate angel," Liza has gushed--was reportedly supposed to be matron of honor. Instead, La Liz became one of the bridesmaids and Marisa Berenson did the maid of honor duties.
The rest of Liza's bridesmaids were: Farrow, Psycho screamer Janet Leigh, ABC newsie Cynthia McFadden, gossip columnist Cindy Adams, 1960s popster Petula Clark ("Downtown") and 1950s pinup Gina Lollobrigida.
Other well-wishers included a mix of old and new(er) Hollywood: Mickey Rooney, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Douglas, Diana Ross, Lauren Bacall, Luther Vandross, David Hasselhoff, Phyllis Diller, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Carol Channing and Robert Goulet. Whitney Houston, scheduled to belt out "The Greatest Love of All" as Minnelli traipsed down the aisle, was MIA. Natalie Cole subbed with a rendition of "Unforgettable."
The Minnelli-Gest wedding (photographed for posterity by the British celeb magazine OK) will go down as the, um, most eclectic since Taylor wed ex-construction worker Larry Fortensky in 1991--at Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch, no less.
Proving it really is a small celebrity world after all, Jacko also had a gloved hand in Liza's latest trip down the aisle. Gest hooked up with Liza when Jackson implored the impresario to book her for his 30th anniversary tribute concert, taped last September. By November, the two (that would be Gest and Liza) were engaged.
The marriage is Liza's fourth--she's one away from mama Judy Garland's career five "I dos"--and Gest's first (the line on the lifelong bachelor is that he has been "married to [his] career").
While Liza is a veteran bride, she hasn't done the wedding thing since 1979 (with Hubby Number Three, Mark Gero). This 23-year dry spell--no wedding parties, no showers--may explain why Liza's bridal registry is not exactly brief. Far from it.
See, Minnelli and Gest registered at the ritzy Tiffany & Co. and proceeded to ask for 389 pieces of flatware, barware, crystal giftware and silver giftware. (See the list for yourself at WeddingChannel.com.)
We know what you're thinking: three hundres and eighty-nine?! In Liza's defense, may we note that if you're going to ask for 16 Padova dinner knives (at $110 per), you just can't go and ask for fewer than 16 Padova flat-handle butter spreaders (at $65 per). Your dinner table would be unbalanced.
Now, again we know what you're thinking: Liza is a 56-year-old woman; doesn't she already own a bunch of forks and knives? Our response: Uh, we guess so, but, come on, she's Liza--you think she has time to keep track of her parmesan cheese knives? (That's why she'd like eight new ones, please.)
And Liza, being Liza, the hard-living show-biz lifer (a proud owner of Oscar, Tony and Emmy Awards) prepped for her wedding day by kicking prescription painkillers at a Pennsylvania rehab center in mid December. This, after Liza was spotted acting "dazed" at a party late last year and imploring a Vanity Fair writer to, "Light me up, baby!"
Missing out on Saturday's fun was none other than Liza's half-sister, Lorna Luft. The singer told the New York Post she would be unable to attend on account of she's scheduled to perform at the "gay Mardi Gras" in Sydney, Australia. (These things happen...)
Oh well, at least Liza will always have Tito.