"Wheel of Fortune" letter-twirler Vanna White walked into Pitkin County Courthouse in Colorado and bought a marriage license yesterday. White, 33, was wearing a scarf to conceal her face, and was accompanied by her fiance, George Santo Pietro. The couple plans to wed in Aspen in January according to the groom's mother, Catherine Santo Pietro. "I am delighted, very delighted," she said of White joining her family. Santo Pietro, 44, has been married once before and has been dating White for the past year.

A Classic(al) Honor

The Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger has announced the winner of its annual Will Award, given for an individual's outstanding contribution to classical theater. And the winner is ... Kenneth Branagh, whose film adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henry V" wowed them critically and commercially, and whose own Renaissance Theatre Company brought "King Lear" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to enthusiastic audiences in Chicago and L.A. The award will be presented to the 29-year-old Branagh April 20 at the National Building Museum.

Mason to the Rescue

Comedian Jackie Mason has stepped in to save a New York tradition. The annual New Year's Eve ball-dropping ceremony in Times Square was threatened when its principal corporate sponsor dropped out, citing hard times. Mason was upset, saying, "I always say New York without the bouncing ball is like a city without delicatessens." He offered to put up $10,000 and help look for other sponsors of the event, which can cost more than $50,000. Mason said that this year's ball would be red, white and blue, and would be dedicated to the troops in Saudi Arabia.

The Best of Bardot

Reclusive French film star Brigitte Bardot said Thursday she wants to be remembered for a single screen appearance. In a rare interview, she told the newspaper Liberation, "If only one trace of my passage on screen remained, I wish it was in 'La Verite' {'The Truth'} ... where I truly felt I was a real actress." Bardot, whose last film came out in 1973, said, "Everything I appeared in during that period can disappear forever; I couldn't care less." Her exception, "La Verite," directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, is the tale of a woman who kills her lover; it won an Oscar for best foreign film. Wedding Canceled

Johnny Carson sidekick and "Star Search" host Ed McMahon has called off his Jan. 12 wedding to restaurant hostess Joanna Ford, according to his publicist. No reason was given for the cancellation, but the union had been repeatedly delayed by McMahon's drawn-out divorce from Victoria, his wife of 13 years. It would have been McMahon's third marriage and Ford's second.

On the Road Again

Minneapolis Sen.-elect Paul Wellstone (D), who vowed on election night that his repainted, backfiring school bus would take him to Washington, will begin his three-day journey here from his home state in the jalopy today. The political science professor, on leave from Carleton College during his campaign, was the only Senate candidate in the country this year to defeat an incumbent. Wellstone's bus symbolized his low-budget style, but the clunker can't handle speeds of more than 50 mph, so he'd better stay off the highways and stick to the backroads. As long as he makes it in time for his Jan. 3 inauguration.

McCartney's New Tune

Paul McCartney is having his classical debut this June, with a composition called "Liverpool Oratorio." The work, written with conductor Carl Davis, is a semiautobiographical tale of a Liverpool war baby, and will be performed at Liverpool Cathedral. McCartney won't be a part of the production, but it will star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and feature some 200 musicians and singers. The former Beatle assured fans this week that his "tunes" won't threaten the reputations of "Schubert or Beethoven or Delius."