Debi Mazar Remembers Her Friend Keith Haring and Madonna’s Unforgettable Wedding Weekend

On Friday morning, actress Debi Mazar saw a familiar photo in her Instagram feed: a shot of herself and her late friend, artist Keith Haring, taken by their friend, artist Maripol.

 In the picture, a young Mazar peers at the camera as Haring, more clearly in focus, looks on behind her.

Mazar shared the photo on her own account immediately. “I was like, ‘Aw, Keith,’ ” she told Vanity Fair on a phone call Friday. “I think of Keith all the time, because his work is so present, and being much a part of what is so present and current in today’s climate—in terms of equality, immigration, sexuality, so many things.”
As she looks more at the photo, though, Mazar said she also thinks of the weekend in 1985 that it was taken, which happened to be the weekend of her friend Madonna’s wedding to Sean Penn in Los Angeles. Those few days marked Mazar’s first-ever trip to L.A.—and a memorable one, at that.

We kind of had a whole weekend planned, where the wedding was one day, and another day we went to restaurants and different activities, she said. “That particular day, we went to Mr. Chow’s,” she said, recalling the site of the photo with Haring.

That stop at Mr. Chow’s was only one highlight of the weekend. The wedding itself was Mazar’s first experience with a high-profile event of that magnitude. As she and her friend Lance Loud tore down the Pacific Coast Highway on their way to the ceremony, Mazar said she marveled at the beauty before her. It wasn’t long, though, before she noticed the buzzing of helicopters overhead, making a beeline toward Madonna and Penn’s wedding: “I thought the helicopters were chasing us, even though they weren’t,” Mazar recalled, chuckling.

When she and Loud arrived at the wedding, Mazar quickly learned that she had not been given a plus-one. Mazar had to leave her friend to enter the nuptials—which boasted a guest list that included Cher—alone. Her entrance to the ceremony was less than graceful:

My poor friend dropped me off in Malibu, at Johnny Carson’s house, and I teetered on down the driveway—alone—and I got to the wedding, and my heel got caught into, like, the wood deck, and I basically tripped into the wedding,” she said.

After the wedding, at which Mazar said she could hardly hear a thing with the helicopters roaring overhead, she got into a limousine with a host of her artist friends: Haring, Martin Burgoyne, Andy Warhol, and Steve Rubell. Then, to top off the eventful day, Rubell vomited all over Mazar’s brand new pair of Manolo Blahniks. Mazar, who was making her money as a makeup artist at the time, said they were the first pair of shoes she had ever bought with her own money—which was scarce.

I basically probably had my electricity turned off just to buy these shoes, and Rubell vomited on them,” she said.

The memory of that weekend was one of many in Mazar’s friendship with Haring, who died of AIDs at the age of 31 in February of 1990. She told Vanity Fair that she’d known Haring even before she met Madonna, the two having come up together in New York City.

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