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Paula performs at Liza Minellis wedding

Mar 16th, 2002

Liza Minnelli Weds in New York Ceremony

Sat Mar 16 2002, 6:51 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Entertainer Liza Minnelli on Saturday wed for the fourth time at one of the most ballyhooed nuptials in recent memory, cherishing her new role as a bride after rebounding from injuries that threatened her career.

Minnelli, the Tony- and Oscar-award winning performer and daughter of actress Judy Garland, married concert promoter David Gest before a packed house of celebrities including Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor.

The ceremony, at the 147-year-old Marble Collegiate Church on New York's Fifth Avenue, was the first for Gest, 48, who orchestrated Michael Jackson's tribute concert at Madison Square Garden in September.

"As long as he keeps trying, they will make it," said actor Mickey Rooney on the way in to the ceremony. "Happiness is very elusive and we wish them the best of luck."

Gowned in a white dress designed by Bob Mackie, the slimmed down Minnelli, 56, showed little sign of the hardship that just two years ago sparked talk she would never perform again.

She had undergone back and hip replacement surgery, struggled with weight  problems, viral encephalitis and battled an addiction to pain-killers.

Elizabeth Taylor and actress Marisa Berenson stood as maids of honor and Jackson and his brother, Tito, childhood friends of Gest, were the best men. 

The high-powered bridal party was to include actors Tony Franciosa and Robert Wagner, actresses Mia Farrow, Janet Leigh, and Gina Lollobrigida, and singers Petula Clark and Michael McDonald.

Guests included Diana Ross, Patricia Neal, Luther Vandross, Lauren Bacall and Carol Channing,

Others on the list of more than 200 invited guests included music icon Sir Elton John and Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, actors Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Anthony Hopkins, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and property tycoon Donald Trump.

The wedding will be followed by a reception at the Regent Hotel on Wall Street. Rocking to a 60-piece orchestra, entertainers performing there include Paula Abdul, Ed Ames, Tony Bennett, Roberta Flack, Gloria Gaynor, Robert Goulet, the Pointer Sisters, Shaggy, Dionne Warwick and others.

Minnelli ended her third marriage, to sculptor Mark Gero, in 1992 after 13 years. Her first marriage was to singer Peter Allen in 1967, which lasted for seven years. Soon after they split, she married filmmaker Jack Haley.

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