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February 20, 2002
"TOO MUCH of a good thing is wonderful," said Mae West.

When you ring the David Gest office these days, the soft singing in the background while you're on hold comes from -- but, of course -- Liza Minnelli. I had a little chat with Liza's heartbeat and husband-to-be, the entrepreneur who has turned her life around and is busy arranging the wedding of the decade, his own to Liza!

We spoke of how he was depicted in the new Vanity Fair. Gest complained: "Can you believe they said I plucked my eyebrows? Why, I was born with these very eyebrows!" I said he should simply embrace the article. It seems totally honest, and what do he and Liza care what is written? Haven't they already both survived almost everything the press can think up?

Gest mused, "Yes, well, maybe you're right!"

AND NOW, here's the scoop du jour on the final list of wedding participants. Elizabeth Taylor and Marisa Berenson are the maids of honor. The bridesmaids will be Mia Farrow, Claudia Cardinale, Janet Leigh, Esther Williams, Gina Lollobrigida, ABC News' Cynthia McFadden, socialites and businesswomen Rosemarie Lieberman, Nabila Khashoggi and Arlene Lazare, British musical star Martine McCutcheon, singers Mya, Freda Payne, Chaka Khan and Petula Clark, and New York Post columnist Cindy Adams.

The groom's best men are Michael and Tito Jackson. His groomsmen are Jackie, Randy and Marlon Jackson, James Ingram, Tony Franciosa, Robert Wagner, Nasdaq's David Weild, inventor Allan Lazare, New York's WKTU's Frankie Blue, Grammy winner Michael McDonald, sports agent Dennis Gilbert, American Airlines' Tom Gleason, actor Tristan Rogers, vineyard/entertainment manager Bruce Cohn and celebrity reporter Robert Osborne.

There are already more than 55 famous artists on tap to perform at the Regent Hotel party after, starting with Whitney Houston, Tony Bennett and MGM's singing ingenue Ann Blyth, Robert Goulet, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Doobie Brothers, to name a few. If every star does only one song, this show will last as long as the honeymoon. People will still be singing.

LET ME SEE NOW: While Liza will be a vision in a Bob Mackie gown, her maids will wear black gowns of their own choosing. This may well be the only simplified detail in the entire wedding.

There are stories going around that the National Enquirer has already offered $600,000 for photo rights to exclusive coverage, and it's useless to speculate what People and Hello! are bidding. One wag says to me, "Tabloid star darlings may poo-poo the supermarket rags, but their checks never bounce!" There's also the rumor that Liza and David already struck quite a deal in Great Britain, one that will pay for the high costs of their demanding maids of honor, plus the entire Jackson entourage with private planes, hairdressers, champagne and buckets of Beluga caviar. The wedding will syndicate itself across the world.

THIS OFFICE has received a number of calls from VIPs, asking if we know where Liza and David are "registered" for wedding gifts? As a matter of fact, we do. They are with Tiffany & Co., Lalique and Bergdorf Goodman. Although the latter two aren't on the Web, you can bring up the list of Liza and David's "wants" from Tiffany's Web site at www.tiffany.com. Here, you'll see they could use lots of Elsa Peretti china and silver.

For instance, they'd like 12 platters at $2,900 each. They yearn for 16 of almost everything, from $65 butter spreaders to $250 napkin rings. They could use four tureens, each at $4,000, by Elsa.

But listen, a tasteful single butter spreader is a nice gift, and if they get enough of those, they can trade up to the more expensive items. When newly wed, the Gests, who are already redesigning Liza's fabulous East Side apartment in Manhattan by tearing out walls, redoing and redesigning, obviously plan to give a lot of parties.

I SEE there are two reporters already in the wedding party. So I think I'll opt for the performing list. I could sing "The Eyes of Texas," a very timely tune these days, thanks to our Texas president, and then, let's not forget how Enron has put the Lone Star State on the map. There's always something excessive to be proud of when one comes from Texas. Liza and David don't have a lock on excess.

NATURALLY, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor will be very much together at the coming wedding. But they were together just the other eve at the Laguna Art Museum benefit "Art for AIDS: A Tribute to Rock Hudson." Michael looked pale and frightened. Miz Liz had a curly, new ash-blonde hairdo and was wearing a diamond collar and matching earrings so heavy she needed a neck brace. The event netted $200,000, to be split between the Museum and the AIDS Service Foundation.


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