Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
World heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali was married Sunday in a civil ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The bride was his companion of three years, Veronica Porche.
Joe Louis was Ali's special guest, and the best man was Howard Bingham a professional photographer. Porche's sister, Diane, was her maid of honor.
Ali, 35, was dressed for the event in white tails, white gloves, a white ruffled shirt, and white shoes. His bride wore a white gown with a long train, and all the ushers wore white tails. The wedding clogged foot traffic in the chandeliered hallways of the posh hotel here.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Billy Mills performed the ceremony in front of more than 200 guests who watched from ringside seats in the hotel's Le Grand Trianon Room.
On hand were Los Angeles Mayor and Mrs. Tom Bradley, former Ali sparring partner Jimmy Ellis, and longtime prize fight manager Dick Sadler.
Ali's career as a movie actor and product endorser was indicated by the presence of John Marshall, who produced the filmed version of Ali's life story, "The Greatest"; Chip McAllister, who played the youthful Ali in the movie; and Larry Messier, who said he is representing Ali in promotional deals involving the endorsement of vitamins and food supplements.
The couple was married on a raised platform under a metal canopy decorated with fresh white carnations and sprays of baby's breath. They walked down an aisle bordered by four trees containing the same flower combination. Two white cages supported by alabaster cherubs, and each containing a pair of white doves, were set on either side of the flowered canopy, but the doves were not released to fly, as was previously announced.
Ali, who has dominated American prizefighting since the early 1960s, was previously married to Sonji Roi and Belinda Ali, the mother of his three children.
Last year, Ali and Porche celebrated the birth of their daughter, Hana Yasmeen Ali. Sunday's wedding was the first for Porche, 21, a fashion model whose father is a retired Los Angeles builder.
After the ceremony, at 3:05, Ali came out on the mezzanine balcony in the marble-walled hotel lobby and waved to photographers and hotel guests standing beneath him. Later the couple cut a five-tiered wedding cake. The couple will live at Ali's Michigan estate, after a honeymoon in Hawaii.
Unlike other events involving Ali, including all of his heavyweight title fights, and his promotion for his movie biography, the wedding ceremony was marked by efforts to downplay publicity and keep the press away from the wedding party.
Ali's usual retinue of hangers-on, bag carriers, go-fers, and assorted friends was noticeably missing. His long-time personal bodyguard Pat Patterson, a former policeman for the Chicago police department, was one of the few Ali regulars on hand.
Other guests included John Y. Brown, owner of the Buffalo Braves baseball team and former owner of the Kentucky Colonels basketball team: Al Patton, a promoter with Pro Sports Inc., a Los Angeles firm; and actress Jane Kennedy. Actors Warren Beatty and Eddie Albert had to push their way through the crowds at the hotel early in the day. Beatty lives at the hotel, and Albert was in the building on other business, he said.