Never too late for a wedding date

Duane and Jan King, left, married after 20 years together-long after their families stopped asking them when they were going to walk down the aisle. Paul Mantee and Suzy Davis Mantee both thought they would end up living alone the rest of their lives-until they met each other. Devon Meyers / TMT

Two Malibu couples

say 'I Do' at last.

By Kim Devore / Staff Writer

Ten years ago, at the ripe old age of 50, Suzy Davis had resigned herself to a life alone. Let's face it, Time magazine reported that women of a certain age were more likely to get kidnapped by terrorists than meet and marry Mr. Right. Davis had been divorced for more than 20 years and pretty much given up on dating.

"These psychics would tell me I was going to meet someone and I just thought they were full of it," Davis recalled. "I thought, 'I'll do my own thing and try to be as happy as I can.'"

Sixty-seven-year-old actor Paul Mantee didn't have any great expectations in the romance department either.

"I felt I was going to live alone and that's the way it was going to be," the longtime Malibu resident said. "You want to make sure you put things in a place where you can reach them."

The actor had been dating but no one clicked.

"You'd go out to dinner and know by the cherry tomatoes whether the evening was going to be good or not. It usually ended with a walk to the car and a peck on the cheek," he said. "I was at the point where the world bachelor thing wasn't playing so well. I didn't ever think I would have a life companion at this age."

All that changed one day at the Malibu Post Office.

"We were standing in this long line and Suzy was the only one who laughed at my jokes," Mantee said.

"I found him funny and familiar," Davis explained. "When he left, I asked who he was and we ran into each other again a week later."

Before you could say "huevos rancheros," Davis and Mantee were enjoying Mexican food and each other's company at La Paz restaurant.

"She wasn't interested in meeting anyone, especially an actor," Mantee said. "But we just hit it off and laughed and laughed. If you can laugh yourself into bed, well, it doesn't get any better than that."

Apparently, Davis' psychics turned out to be right.

"It never dawned on me it would happen like this," she said. "It's like a light bulb went on and I said, he's the one."

Although Mantee felt an immediate connection, commitment was something else. "Christ, I had been married three times," he said. " And I always got married for all the wrong reasons. Marriage scared the hell out of me."

Slowly but surely, Davis began to feel more at home.

"She moved in here tooth bristle by tooth bristle," Mantee said. "But life around her got so good, I said to hell with it."

Eight years later, Mantee took a bigger step and married the woman he describes as "all legs and all heart."

"I felt the full commitment is something she deserved. I also figured I've got to get this girl before someone else does."

The Mantees weren't the only longtime Malibu loves to recently tie the knot.

Soon to be 60-year-old Duane King and his 50 something girlfriend decided to make it official after 20 years together.

"We started out as good friends who saw each other through numerous relationships," Jan King explained. "Then it just evolved. We thought, what are we doing with other people when we just wanted to be with each other?"

As years passed, friends and family stopped asking about a walk down the aisle.

"We figured, it wasn't broke why fix it," the newlywed explained. "I had been married before and I didn't need to be married again. We had talked about it, but it was always, 'someday.'"

Life for the longtime couple was about to take an exciting new turn when King finally popped the question at Saddle Peak Lodge.

"He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him," Jan King recalled. "I was crying and said, 'I love you' and he said, - 'Well, what's it going to be?'"

The wedding took place at their Washington vacation home with 90 people, a string quartet and a waterfall in the background.

"It was just like a fairy tale," Jan King said. "It had been raining but the skies cleared, there were all these puffy clouds and it was just so romantic."

The Mantees went for a lower-key affair-cruising into the Malibu Courthouse followed by lunch at Geoffrey's.

Despite their cautious approach to wedded bliss, both couples say their relationships are better than ever.

"We are really best friends and have the same outlook on life," Jan King said. "It's very warm and endearing."

Today, the cherry tomatoes at the Mantee household are being prepped by the Mrs., who cherishes her role as sous chef.

"I treasure our relationship and feel very blessed to have him as a partner," Davis Mantee said.

As for her husband, "I am delighted I made the right decision," he said. "With marriage, the intimacy got even deeper."

Both stories seem to have a lesson-that no matter what your age, you never know what will happen and when.

Said Paul Mantee, "I was fully prepared to go on with this solitary existence and then bingo! It's like I had been waiting for her all my life."

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