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Wiesenthal Center honors H’w’d

GOOD MORNING: It was an absolute condition: “Keep us the low point of the evening,” Sid Sheinberg told Wiesenthal Center founder/dean Rabbi Marvin Hier before Sheinberg and wife Lorraine Gary agreed to be honorees at Sunday’s tribute dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel. The award to them, nonetheless, was an appropriate finale for an emotional Hollywood tribute dinner, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps. Rabbi Hier led a live and film-highlighted candlelighting ceremony for six super heroes (and their survivors) who had valiantly saved thousands from death camps. The 1,220 teary eyed people in the packed ballroom were repeatedly on their feet with prolonged applause for them. And young (13) Yeshiva student Donny Weltman’s singing of three Holocaust-themed tunes brought more emotional applause, as did the First A.M.E. Cathedral Choir on the National Anthem and “Hatikvah”… M.C. Jack Valenti said he arrived “from the entertainment capitol of the world — Washington, D.C. And I’m not kidding!” He announced that Rabbi Hier’s Oscar-winning docu “Genocide” bows on HBO in April and, in May, HBO airs “In Hitler’s Shadow,” the story of Yoran Svoray’s infiltration of today’s Neo-Nazi groups in Germany … The evening raised $ 2 million — plus an added $ 1 million from Paul Chanin and a pledge of $ 500,000 in Telephone Video of America stock from Thomas Kron … Introducing Lew Wasserman, Valenti said, “If Hollywood is Mount Olympus, Lew Wasserman is Zeus.” Wasserman introduced the keynote speaker, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, who told of the need for personal courage in these times. She told me she hopes the new Texas administration of Gov. George Bush Jr., will continue the film/TV commission, which she says has been effective in getting mucho Hollywood production into that state … Steven Spielberg intro’d the honorees and thanked Sid “for holding ‘Schindler’s List’ in reserve for me” and for “nagging” him to do it. Lorraine Gary Sheinberg’s powerful acceptance speech and plea stressed total tolerance, tying in the evening with the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. And when Sid took his turn, he noted, “Lorraine, it’s time to run for public office.” His remark was greeted with approving applause. Sid spoke of today’s most important “piracy — the piracy of human rights” and thus, the night wound on the right note … Sheinberg and Wasserman had arrived back from Japan talks with Matsushita 48 hours earlier — in time for Sheinberg’s 60th birthday at Spago. He told me there was no change in their status (with Matsushita). And in view of that, I asked Spielberg, where would DreamWorks SKG headquarter? He said they haven’t decided (between U and Playa del Rey?). But a Universal studio-ite at the dinner told me the Amblin building could easily be moved to back acres on the Universal lot! I also asked Spielberg how he, Katzenberg and Geffen chose the order of letters “SKG” for their DreamWorks logo. He laughingly answered, “It’s easier to pronounce than ‘KGS’ or ‘GSK’ or –.”

BILLY CRYSTAL CALLED David Letterman to wish him well as Oscar host. But when I asked Billy, busy editing “Forget Paris,” if he’d attend the Oscars, he smiled , “I’ll go when I’m nominated — or when I’m hosting (again?)” He was at the BevHilton Saturday where Ted Turner was honored as Scopus Laureate of the American Friends of Hebrew U. I introduced the “new act of Crystal & Reiner” whereupon Billy and Rob serenaded Turner with this parody of “Moon River”: “Ted Turn-er/Tonight we honor you/An honorary Jew/You Goy. You deal-maker/You news-breaker/Held onto your foreskin/When you were a boy. Ted Turn-er/You own so many things/The Braves and Larry King/(Rob) And me. You’re married to Jane/Fonda , who/Is also not a Jew/She only eats tofu/Ted Turner, so nu?”

SAD TO SAY ROSEANNE has been having difficulties with her pregnancy and has been ordered by her physicians to stay in bed. And she may tape this week’s show abed. And the future — ?… Identical twins, a set of boys and a set of girls, are sought for the Steve Martin starrer “Father of the Bride II,” in which Diane Keaton (his wife) and Kimberly Williams (their daughter) deliver at the same time. The casting call’s set for Wednesday, 10 ayem, at the Debbie Reynolds Studios in North Hollywood … Sophia Loren’s the hoped-for femme star to join Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the “Grumpy Old Men” sequel … Mark Schiller (Lawrence’s son) is VP of the House of Blues new media division, which had the “I Have a Dream Day” on Internet Monday with Stevie Wonder, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., the Starlights and Charlie Musselwhite among those performing — on screens around the world via the Internet.

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