Garfunkel to sing for Presidential dinner

GOOD MORNING: President Clinton was photo’d at the VH1 “Rock and Roll President Special” holding up an Art Garfunkel album and now Garfunkel will sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (and other tunes) for the President, Hillary C., Al and Tipper Gore at Saturday’s Presidential dinner on Georgia’s Amelia Island. The $50,000-a-couple evening is hosted by the Democratic National Committee. As part of his giant Far East tour in February, Garfunkel will concert in Beijing and Hong Kong — maybe he can get a few tips on Chinese music tastes from the President, who is meeting this week with President Jiang Zemin. Also performing for the President at this weekend’s big Demo doing$ is Billy Porter. After Porter sang Denise Rich’s hit tune “Love is on the Way” (from “The First Wives’ Club”) at a previous Presidential Gala, Clinton said if he had a voice like Billy’s he wouldn’t be in politics! … On the Nov. 7 weekend, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will be hosted at the LBJ Ranch with Lady Bird, at $20,000 a person. Showbiz participants here to be announced.

MEANWHILE, REPUBLICAN Gov. Pete Wilson’s Conference for Women today in Long Beach will have a hefty representation of femme showbiz players keynoting and seminar’ing. Six thousand are expected to attend the event, whose theme is “The Search for Balance.” One of the keynote speakers is Janet Leigh; she was once invited by Lyndon Johnson to be ambassador to Finland, but because of her then-recent marriage to Bob Brandt, she could not accept the offer. She did speak for the State Dept. on South American assignments. Her Conference for Women gig follows last night’s speaking stint at the launching of the Alfred Hitchcock stamp. Leigh starred as the AFI put its stamp of approval on the Hitchcock stamp in the U.S. Postal Service’s “Legends of Hollywood” series. The occasion was celebrated at the AFI’s Film Fest-ivities at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum, followed by a Mann’s Chinese screening of “Psycho” and a subsequent reception. The AFI’s Jean Firstenberg, Hitchcock’s daughter Pat and the Postal Service’s Allen Kane topped the celeb list. Leigh is no stranger to “Psycho” screenings: she travels regularly for American Movie Classics showings of the pic around the country. She admits, “I’m lucky to have been a part of a movie that has lasted 37 years and a legend that will last forever.” Wherever Leigh speaks on “Psycho,” she says, audiences are curious to learn if she did “the” scene in the nude. “No,” she reminds, “you couldn’t show nudity in those days — and you couldn’t even show graphic violence. You never even see the penetration of the weapon. Hitchcock believed imagination is more powerful. In that way, the audience becomes a part of the creative process.” As for working with Hitchcock, she says, “It was such a pleasure. He was so relaxed; he knew exactly what was happening, there were no frantic last-second decisions. He was prepared — and expected everyone else to be.” I remember what Doris Day said after working for him in “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” She called him “The most hands-off director I have ever worked with.” When I asked Hitchcock what made him choose movie subject material, he told me, “You’ve got to make “Get them out-of-the-kitchen movies.’ ” … Leigh said she is now working “Harder than I ever did when I was young.” She guests in the Nov. 19 “Touched by an Angel,” next starts the CBS vidpic “In My Sister’s Shadow” and is writing another novel (for Mira-Harlequin). In an upcoming “Angel” seg, Carol Burnett co-stars with Rita Moreno and Tim Conway is a surprise walk-on. Kenny Solms scripted.

KATHIE LEE GIFFORD HAS a tryst with an older man — Ed McMahon — in “The Tom Show,” to air Nov. 9. “She plays a bitch; won’t the tabloids have a field day with this?” says McMahon. He adds the Tom Arnold series will continue with celebs playing in roles opposite their public image … Quincy Jones gets a breather from “Vibe” to receive accolades (and how) Nov. 1 at the Pasadena Civic, where ABC tapes “Q.J. — The First 50 Years.” The lineup includes Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Yo Yo, the “Stomp” ensemble, Little Richard, Chaka Khan, Nancy Wilson, Lesley Gore, James Ingram, Bernadette Peters, Smokey Robinson, Halle Berry, Salt-N-Pepa, etc. Jeff Margolis is exec producer and director … Kevin Anderson didn’t have time to don black tie so he arrived at the BevHilton’s American Ireland Fund Gala wearing his Father Ray garb to honor Thomas S. Murphy … Marlene Dietrich’s four grandsons — Michael, Peter, Paul and David Riva — on the eve of Sotheby’s preview of the Dietrich auction to be held Nov. 1, recalled, “She was either always either packing or unpacking dozens of suitcases, great places for us to play hide and seek” … “This Is My Father” with the Quinns, actors Aidan and James, director Paul and d.p. Declan, is getting such hefty word of mouth, distribs are asking for an early look see at their indie Irish fable.

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