"Ten more minutes and I would've jumped in the fountain," said John Wayne's daughter, Melinda, after the marriage Saturday of Wayne's youngest daughter, Marisa.
Melinda spoke as, praise the Lord, the reflecting pool that decorates the center aisle at the Crystal Cathedral began to hiss with turquoise geysers, sending spray onto sweltering guests (many of whom fanned themselves with Crystal Cathedral postcards during the scorching, 20-minute ceremony).
The bride, daughter of Pilar Wayne of Newport Beach, swept down the aisle on the arm of her stepbrother, Patrick, to marry Jace Romick of Steamboat Springs, Colo., recently retired from five years of downhill racing with the U.S. Ski Team.
"That was a beautiful wedding," said Patrick moments after the rites, which were conducted by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller. "A very intimate ceremony in a very imposing structure." (A glass structure allowing such drop-dead heat that guest Jerry Kobrin mumbled he felt like "peasant" under glass.)
The roguish-looking Patrick, his dark curly hair pulled back in a pony tail, said he had just finished a movie--"Her Alibi"--with Tom Selleck and Paulina, the model-turned-actress whose picture-perfect face is all over the place.
While the nuptials were all about today , one couldn't help but dream about yesterday and wonder what the Duke would have thought, seeing his little girl, his "Precious," march down the aisle.
"I think Daddy would be so happy for me to have Jace for my husband," said Marisa, 22, during the reception at the Center Club. "Jace is down to earth and has a wonderful sense of humor."
Of his bride, whom he met more than a year ago at a ski race, the groom, 26, beamed and said: "It's forever."
Guests, formal in black tie, couldn't wait to dive into the Korbel at the cooled-to-perfection private club. Bernie Kopell, a star of "The Love Boat" (and Patrick's tennis partner), sipped the dry champagne as he spoke of Marisa. "Gorgeous. Fantastic tennis player. Has most of the tennis talent in the Wayne family," he said, nudging Patrick.
On a serious note, Kopell reminisced about the Duke: "I thought about him today at the wedding. I remembered the time I was at a restaurant across from Paramount and he walked in. It was as though Christ had walked into the place. People started getting up, calling his name. They were in awe. They just wanted to touch him as he walked through. It was the most awesome entrance I've ever seen."
Pilar Wayne, queenly in gold-metallic with a zillion pleats, said she felt like she was on "cloud nine. I love Jace. I know they are going to be so happy."
She was pregnant with Marisa, she said, when she and the Duke moved to the Newport Bay property that would one day become a tourist stop for boaters. "But I didn't have Marisa here. I wanted to go to the doctor in Encino who had delivered Aissa and Ethan."
"Marisa is a sweetheart," Pilar said. "She never gave me any trouble at all." And then, Pilar waxed nostalgic about the bride's father. "He used to tell her when he was going on location: 'Baby, when I'm not around, just look up at a star. Because, I'll be looking at the same star and that will be me, thinking of you.' "
Also among the guests: Aissa Wayne with Roger Luby and her three kiddies--Jennifer, Nicky and Anna; Ethan Wayne, star of the soap "The Bold and the Beautiful"; Melanie Wayne (another daughter of the Duke); Michael Wayne, John Wayne's oldest son; Abby Dalton; Claudia Mirkin; Toni Armistead; Richard Weldy (Pilar's first husband); Terry Moore (chatting with guests Gene and JoAnne Mix about old flame Howard Hughes); Paul and Virginia Knott Bender; Scott and Mary Lou Hornsby; Beverly Thompson with Bob Bucci; Helen Coffey; Dorothy Yardley (columnist for Bay Window, the magazine of the Balboa Bay Club) with her son, George; Mike Nason, with his wife, newscaster Vicki Vargas (on her way to the Olympics in Seoul for KNBC); Merv and Betty Porter; and Gloria Zigner with husband Irving Goldberg.
The couple are honeymooning in Tahiti.