Ask Mark Spitz
about his place in the world today and he replies, with characteristic
bluntness, "I'm a commodity, an endorser." Raise the matter with Norman
Brokaw, the Los Angeles talent agent under whose care Spitz is amassing a
fortune to match his Olympic fame, and you receive an answer rather more
elaborate. " Mark Spitz performs services for several major companies,"
Brokaw says. "He's an instant star. He's the greatest hero since
In the busy days
before Spitz was once again decorated with gold—this time a wedding band on his
tanned left hand—Brokaw's assessment seemed hardly overdrawn. When Mark and
fianc�e Suzy Weiner (see cover) drove off one morning to pick up their wedding
license, they kept their mission secret only to find, as they did almost
everywhere else they went, newspaper photographers lying in wait at the Santa
Monica courthouse. Sketches of Spitz' honeymoon wardrobe ("yours for
cutting and folding") wound up in the local papers, and the Hollywood
Reporter called a Spitz-Weiner wedding invitation the hottest ticket in town.
Taking time out from writing thank-you notes for the silver trays, chinaware
and other gifts that were pouring in, Suzy joined Mark one afternoon aboard his
new 39-foot racing sloop Sumark 7.
As the boat sailed
into the Pacific, Instamatics clicked alongshore, other vessels reconnoitered
for a better view of the famous skipper and a small girl aboard a cabin cruiser
jumped up and down at the sight of him. "Look at that," Spitz said
happily. "She sees me."
Spitz' days were
darkened only when the Los Angeles Times suggested that he was being
merchandised like "a chunk of plastic livestock" and characterized him
as peevish and inarticulate. When Mark drove Suzy in his Mercedes 450SL to a
steak house named Monty's, the parking attendant sympathized, "They really
did a job on you, Mr. Spitz." Entering the restaurant, Spitz caused his
usual sensation, although Suzy, in low-slung bellbottoms and with her blonde
hair flowing, could have turned heads by herself. Suzy has modeled for national
TV commercials, and she has the wholesome, dimpled prettiness one routinely
expects of every UCLA coed—which is what she was before meeting Mark Spitz.
She was already
showing a willingness, moreover, to stick by her man in sickness as well as
health. "That story in the Times was demeaning," Suzy said. "It
made me so mad."
are just going to hate me, and I don't know why," Mark said. "I guess
you can't win them all." He was interrupted when the hostess approached
with a problem. Mark and Suzy had arranged to hold their rehearsal dinner in
the same restaurant later in the week but in the excitement of landing so
prestigious a booking the management had forgotten that the private room the
couple reserved had been taken by the local Kiwanis club. "This is very
embarrassing," the hostess said.
But the confusion
was soon cleared up, the rehearsal dinner went smoothly and, finally, in a
Sunday-afternoon ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Mark Andrew Spitz, 23,
and Susan Ellen Weiner, 21, became legend and wife. Curiosity-seekers and
paparazzi were kept at a comfortable distance while 300 guests gathered in the
Crystal Room, which was festooned with pink and white chrysanthemums and roses.
The room was cheerful, if less lavishly decorated than it had been for Dean
Martin's wedding reception a few days earlier, a party said to have cost
$60,000 for flowers, another $20,000 for food.
Mark's Aunt Katie
and Uncle Paul were there, as was Cousin Sherman, the best man. They rubbed
elbows with Spitz' old swimming teammates from Indiana, former coaches and with
the lawyers and press agents who oversee his affairs. Also present were Mark's
parents; Arnold Spitz recently lost his job with an Oakland scrap metal firm
and now is a paid consultant to his son.
The menu included
Chicken Polynesian and California champagne. But first Mark and Suzy exchanged
vows beneath a chuppah—wedding canopy—in a traditional Jewish ceremony that
included a reading of e. e. cummings poetry selected by the bride and
for you are and i
am and we are (above and under all possible worlds) in love