The Reliable Source

Alito is Sworn In
Samuel Alito is sworn in (again) by Chief Justice John Roberts as his family watches. From left, President Bush, Alito, wife Martha, son Phil, daughter Laura and Roberts. (Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, February 2, 2009; 12:00 AM

The Bride Wore Priscilla Of Ebay

How's this for a 50th anniversary present: Seeing your wedding gown worn by Hollywood actress Kyra Sedgwick.

That's exactly what happened to Rockville's Judy Schlecht, whose Priscilla of Boston dress is showcased tonight and the next few weeks on TNT's "The Closer" as Sedgwick's character, Brenda, prepares for her nuptials.

Back story: In June 1959, Schlecht walked into a Saks Fifth Avenue in Detroit, bought the floor sample for less than $100 and was married in it a month later. The ivory gown was packed away in its original box and stored in her mother's attic for decades. After her mother's death last year, Schlecht sold the dress for $25 to a local antiques dealer, who then listed it on eBay.

Enter costume designer Greg LaVoi, who selects all the clothes for Sedgwick on the show. LaVoi often dresses the character in vintage clothing to distinguish the Southern deputy police chief from the hipper crowd in Los Angeles, where the show is set. When the show's writers decided it was time for Brenda and her live-in boyfriend to tie the knot, LaVoi started searching eBay for vintage pieces. He bought 13 wedding dresses; Schlecht's was the last one -- he was the only bidder and paid the minimum asking price ($29).

"I needed to find the quintessential 1950s gown," said LaVoi, who wanted something Brenda's mother might have worn. "I really loved it. It had the gentle boat neck, beautiful sleeves, drop waist and just a touch of lace." He says Sedgwick had the same reaction: "When she put on Judy's dress, I do believe her eyes filled with tears, as did mine." The gown was in almost perfect condition and barely had to be altered for the size 0 actress.

Curious about the gown's history, LaVoi contacted the antiques dealer, who put him in touch with 70-year-old Schlecht, who will celebrate her 50th anniversary of her marriage to husband John this summer. The former Realtor and the costume designer have become pals, and "The Closer" has a new fan.

"I didn't used to watch it, but I do now," she told us. "And I like it."

At A-List Dinner, a Campaign Reunion

The Sarah Palin charm offensive took McLean by storm Friday night, when the Alaska governor reunited -- for the first time since election night -- with running mate Sen. John McCain.

Palin, in Washington for Saturday's Alfalfa Club dinner, was among about 30 dinner guests at the home of Marlene and Fred Malek, who served as McCain's national finance chairman during the campaign. The VIP crowd included Dick Cheney, Alan Greenspan, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and campaign manager Rick Davis -- plus Democrats Madeleine Albright, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. John Dingell of Michigan.

All that talk that the McCain and Palin camps can't stand each other? May be true -- but the running mates looked delighted to see each other, according to a guest.

Super Bashes (Or Not So Super)

Best Super Bowl parties? Not in Tampa, where a few bored Hollywood celebs (Lindsay Lohan, girlfriend Samantha Ronson, Benji and Joel Madden) posed for bored paparazzi. Redskins Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss and Marcus Washington made the scene, as did two local Purple Heart recipients from Walter Reed Army Medical Center -- Staff Sgts. William Hisghman and Michael Kacer -- who were flown down to Florida on the Redskins plane and spent the weekend partying with team staff. (At least they got to see the game --Portis missed it flying to Hawaii for next Sunday's Pro Bowl.)

Leading the primo parties was President Obama's bipartisan bash at the White House last night with Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter and Reps. Charlie Dent, Mike Doyle and Patrick Murphy, and Arizona Reps. Trent Franks and Raul Grijalva among those invited. Veep Joe Biden held his own celebration at the Naval Observatory. The guest list included former Senate colleagues (Max Baucus, John Kerry, Chuck Schumer) and Reps. Jim Clyburn and Steny Hoyer.

Hey, Isn't That . . . Rahm Emanuel

drinking a bottled beer Saturday night at the Kennedy Center. The casually dressed White House chief of staff skipped the black-tie Alfalfa Club dinner and waited in the crowd for the doors to open for the Mark Morris Dance Group performance, then ditched the brew before taking his seat.

© 2009 True