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Winning a Tony

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THE FIRST-EVER BLOCKBUSTER ENTERTAINMENT Awards presentation last week at L.A.’s Pantages Theater made more than one kind of history. For one thing, Sylvester Stallone received something called the Icon as a tribute for career achievement. (Can 1.5 million video-renting voters be wrong?) Perhaps more important, the show, which aired June 6, marked the official unveiling of Melanie Griffith’s romance with actor Antonio Banderas—and thus brought the curtain down on her much-troubled, off-and-on marriage to Don Johnson. Griffith, 37, who presented a country music award to Reba McEntire, arrived happily draped on the arm of the handsome Spanish actor, 34, perhaps best known as the blood fancier Armand in Interview with the Vampire and as Tom Hanks’s lover in Philadelphia. It was already known that Griffith has filed for divorce, but as her publicist Elliot Mintz put it, “This seemed like a reasonable time for a picture to be snapped. We felt that a picture speaks a thousand words.”

That’s just as well, since the lovers weren’t offering any words to describe their relationship—having, it seemed, better things to do with their lips. “They were really lovey-dovey,” says a crew member who saw them backstage. “They kissed goodbye, kissed hello, kissed for good luck.”

The smooching began last month in Miami Beach, where the two were filming the comedy Two Much, in which Banderas pretends to be identical twins in order to woo both Griffith and Darryl Hannah. “Melanie was joyous when she was around him,” says a woman who worked on the set. “He sings and dances, plays the guitar, does everything and anything—he’s fun. It’s not hard to see why she fell for him.” Johnson, 44, flew in from L.A. for a few cordial visits, but as soon as he left, the romance was back in gear. Eventually they were necking between takes.

The actress is now back in Aspen, where the dismantling of the Johnson-Griffith household proceeds in “a sober manner,” says Mintz. (Details of the custody arrangement for their daughter, Dakota, 5, are undisclosed.) And Banderas is bidding adios to his nine-year marriage to actress Ana Leza. A Banderas representative doesn’t care to say more. “I’m sure,” she says, “you’ll see Antonio and Melanie together at other events in the future.”