“IN SOME COUNTRIES,” WAYNE SAID TO GARTH IN THE movie that explored the former’s World, “marriage is punishment for shoplifting.” But in real life, Tia Carrere—the 5’8″ beauty who played Cassandra, the ultimate babe, in that hit flick—obviously has a whole different view of commitment, tradition and the joys of sharing one’s future. And the Hawaiian Caterers Association couldn’t be more delighted.
As torchlights flickered in a soft but persistent rain and a guitar gently wept, Carrere, 25, walked down the aisle on Nov. 22 and look the arm of Elie Samaha, a Lebanese-born, Hollywood-based real estate mogul 11 years her senior. The Christian ceremony took place at the foot of the Koolau Mountains in Kaneohe, Hawaii, near Carrere’s hometown of Honolulu, and it marked the end of a two-year courtship. Carrere and Samaha, neither of whom had been married before, first met when her car pulled up in front of Roxbury, the night club he owns in L.A., and he reached down gallantly and opened the door for her. “He thought she was beautiful,” says one of Tia’s bridesmaids, Julie McCullough, the actress who played Kirk Cameron’s girlfriend on Growing Pains. And what did Carrere think when she laid eyes on her future husband? “She thought,” says McCullough, ” ‘What a nice parking-lot guy!’ ”
Carrere, who is of Chinese-Spanish-Filipino descent, wore a strap-Less, ivory silk wedding gown designed by L.A. boutique-owner D.N. Evans, which cost $30,000—probably more than her first movie, 1987’s Zombie Nightmare. Samaha, who has so many restaurant and other deals going that he seems to be still living in the ’80s, presented her with a wedding band. As 115 guests looked on, the couple exchanged vows they had written. “Tia,” Samaha said, “I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with you.” Stifling sobs, Carrere said, “I have no fear in promising you all my life.”
Things lightened up a bit at the reception, held at a hotel in Waikiki. Carrere let loose with a blood-curdling whoop. “A Lebanese tradition,” the groom’s younger brother, Demitri, explained. Tia learned to respect such ethnic customs while growing up with her two sisters, aspiring actress AudraLee Janairo, 24, and high school student Mcsaundra Janairo, 16, both of whom wore burgundy bridesmaids’ skirts with matching blouses. Though Tia’s mother, Audrey Kim, a data processor, and her lather, Alex Janairo, a general contractor, have been divorced since 1983, both were present—Mom with new husband Gary. The tears flowed freely. But when AudraLee announced that she and Tia “have always been the best of friends,” Carrere hollered, “Not!”
As they say, you can take the babe out of Wayne’s World, but…. In fact, Carrere will be broadening her horizons. The actress stars this spring with Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes in Rising Sun, and she has a solo album due early next summer. After that, she says, the producers who gave us Wayne and Garth have “asked me to keep my dance card open.”
NANCY MATSUMOTO in Honolulu