He gave her a white diamond engagement ring last June, but friends of Barbara Walters and Merv Adelson wondered whether the two would ever pause long enough for the wedding. She, 54, the ABC newswoman, was busy-busy-busy on one coast (East); he, 56, the chairman of Lorimar production company (Dallas, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest), took care of the other coast (West). Their nuptials were pushed back—and back. Then suddenly they decided the moment for “I do” had come. On May 10 they did.
The final nudge came from Walters’ Los Angeles pal Wendy Goldberg, wife of producer Leonard Goldberg. “I said, ‘C’mon, let’s do it,’ ” Wendy relates. ‘ “You’re the most sensational couple, and it’ll only be better if you’re married.’ ” Frantic phoning reached those closests-and-dearests, some in distant parts. And on just three days’ notice, virtually all of the approximately 80 most intimate pals made it to the ceremony, held in the projection room of Goldberg’s Beverly Hills home.
Under a chuppah (Jewish bridal canopy) of trellised ficus decorated with lilacs, Walters and Adelson exchanged vows after sundown before Rabbi Jacob Pressman. The bride, carrying her orchid-adorned Bible, was given away by her agent, Lee Stevens, and attended by her adopted daughter, Jacqueline Guber, 17, Adelson’s daughter Ellie Bailey, 34, and Amanda Goldberg, 12. The bridegroom’s sons, Gary, 33, and Andy, 31, were best men. This was the third marriage for both.
“Merv and Barbara both have a lot of dignity, and they didn’t want this to become a circus,” says Wendy Goldberg. Guests included Sidney Lumet, MCA’s Lew Wasserman, Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Dr. Paul Marks, agent Sue Mengers and New York City Opera boss Beverly Sills, who read from Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“How do I love thee…”). In a garden tent, the guests nibbled on a three-tier wedding cake, ate a dinner catered by Chasen’s and danced till 2 a.m. to a six-piece band. Hearing Adelson’s gallant toast, Walters vowed, “This is the way it will always be: Merv will always say the perfect thing, and I’ll always get the last word.” Two days later the newlyweds were back at work. The honeymoon will have to wait.