Liz will take her seventh husband in her eighth wedding on Sunday

October 03, 1991|By Valli Herman | Valli Herman,Los Angeles Daily News

IMAGINE Cleopatra marrying Stanley Kowalski on the set of "Peter Pan."

The bride will be wearing a yellow Valentino dress. The groom will be dodging sheriff's officers trying to serve a bench warrant for drunken driving. In the background, Michael Jackson will be singing (one hopes) "Beat It." Bubbles, the chimp, will be ring bearer, if he can find something that isn't backless.

It's the newest installment of The Liz Show. In our last episode, stunningly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor wed ruggedly handsome Virginia Sen. John Warner in a sunset wedding on a knoll in the state whose motto is: "Virginia is for lovers." Just the minister, a small contingent of relatives and farm workers and a few well-bred horses attended.

On Sunday, Liz will wed husband No. 7 -- twice-divorced former truck driver-construction worker Larry Lee Fortensky, 39 -- at Michael Jackson's Santa Ynez Valley estate, called Neverland Valley.

This will be quite a show, complete with rented helicopters for various media organizations buzzing overhead. Even though details about the Sunday wedding have been jealously guarded, Taylor's taste fairly guarantees that the event will be every bit as spectacular as a movie premiere. It's already got the cast for an epic.

Jackson is giving the bride away. Taylor's longtime hairstylist, Jose Eber, is Fortensky's best man, and rumors are persistent that former Israeli commandos were hired to provide extra security, perhaps to prevent unauthorized helicopters from buzzing overhead.

The only really big question mark is what can you give a bride who's had everything?

When a woman can make a pair of earrings from the diamonds in her old engagement rings, there is cause for humility.

But when she can string them into a multistrand necklace, it's time for the etiquette police.

After all, this latest walk down the aisle will be the eighth for Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner. Practice makes permanent, one hopes, for this superstar who has been engaged 10 times.

But just because she is fabulously wealthy and surely must possess every imaginable comfort doesn't exempt good friends from bringing gifts. Why, heavens! Good friends will say how happy they are to buy you another wedding gift, even if they lie.

"No matter how many times you have been married, you still want your own special sheets and monograms. Every marriage is a new beginning," said Marjabelle Young Stewart, author of "The New Etiquette: Real Manners for Real People in Real Situations."

That Taylor registered for sterling silver flatware at Tiffany's in Beverly Hills is not, Stewart notes, a gross infraction of good taste. Far from it.

"It would be gauche to ask for no gifts," Stewart said, noting that it is equally impolite to blatantly request gifts. "People want to have an outward sign of their love. Gifts afford us the ability to show our love and support."

The groom, who has three arrests for drunken driving and one for marijuana possession, needs everything, especially a lawyer and a new hairstylist. A warrant is still in effect for Fortensky's arrest on two counts of drunken driving in 1987, according to Orange County Municipal Judge Art Koelle. He has failed to complete a first-time offender alcohol program, a clerk said.

Perhaps what this groom needs most is a hideaway. Taylor's media machine has been effectively providing privacy. Only a few close friends have been in on the intimate details.

Some of Taylor's friends have been sending her meaningful floral arrangements daily in the weeks preceding the wedding, said Stewart, who is the etiquette adviser for FTD.

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