Showbiz stalwart Stuart gets SAG honor

GOOD MORNING: “I was in tears,” Gloria Stuart told me Monday after she received a call from the Screen Actors Guild saying they will honor her at their awards ceremonies. Stuart added, emotionally, “Bill Paxton will introduce me, which makes me happy — he was so helpful to me” while they were filming “Titanic.” The ever-beautiful Stuart (87) plays “Old Rose,” the modern-day disaster survivor who is portrayed by Kate Winslet in the 1912 scenes. Stuart was on hand at Sunday night’s gala preem at Mann’s Chi-nese, along with members of the cast and creators led by Jim Cameron. (All were there except Winslet, who had flown to London to attend the funeral of a young friend who died of cancer) … It’s a doubly gala week for Stuart, who is represented at the Getty Museum with one of the books she has printed on her press with her own handmade paper, type and art work! It is Robinson Jeffers’ “Inspiration at Tor House.” Stuart’s life story is as dramatic as any movie role: back in 1939 she was so disappointed in her career, she burned all her stills and scripts and went on an around-the-world cruise with her husband, writer Arthur Sheekman! To look 101, she underwent an hour and a half latex makeup — and an hour to remove it … “Titanic” producer Jon Landau said all the actors on board were consummate professionals. Asked about Winslet’s nude scenes, posing for artist Leonardo DiCaprio, Landau said it was one of the first they shot; her agreeing to do it was evidence of the confidence she had in director Cameron, who also was the artist who did all the drawings supposedly by artist Jack Dawson (DiCaprio). The movie next opens in Japan (where it preemed at the Tokyo film fest last month), and England, France, Malaysia and South America following tonight’s preem in D.C. and a reception at the Al Gores’ home … .A giant model (44′) of the Titanic, one-twentieth scale, which was created and used by Digital Domain on screen, greeted post-preemgoers in the giant tent behind the Chinese, where Along Came Mary catered shipboard fare. In addition to studio execs from both Par and 20th Fox on hand (see p. 14), the star turnout (and applause) proved how much the biz anticipated and welcomed the launching. Among those on hand: Mel Gibson, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Dustin Hoffman, Rod Stewart, Gary Sinise, Ray Liotta and Fran Drescher. Nathan Lane and Christine Baranski, who’d teamed in “The Birdcage,” were talking with David Hyde Pierce (on whose “Frasier” Lane had guested). Mace Neufeld, no stranger to epic pix, described “Titanic” as “the film of the decade.” He was accompa-nied by Pat McQueeney, also an expert on epix — she manages Harrison Ford. Other filmmakers there included the Arnold Kopelsons, John Singleton, Brad Krevoy, Freddie Fields, John Davis plus parents Barbara and Marvin D. The preem was also a benefit for the Fulfillment Fund, and the event raised $230,000 for its youth education programs — thus making the evening and “Titanic” an even greater contribution.

ADD B’WAY DOINGS for Pierre Cossette and Bill Haber (currently at the Minskoff with “The Scarlet Pimpernel”): They are prepping Ernest Thompson’s “Amazons in August” for a spring start. Cossette’s next musical is “The Civil War,” with music by Frank Wildhorn who has both “Pimpernel” (a terrif show with its new additions and subtractions) and “Jekyll And Hyde” on B’way. “Civil War” opens Sept. 16 at the Alley in Houston followed by a national company to tour a year pre-opening at B’way’s Jujamcyn. Cossette was birthday-partied Monday night at Sam’s, patronized by B’wayites. Among those on hand were “Pimpernel” co-stars Douglas Sills, Christine Andreas and Terrence Mann plus Alan Greenberg (chairman Bears Stearns), William E. Simon, Donald Trump, George Steinbrenner, Lee Iococca, Jimmy Nederlander — and Jonathan Tisch. Tisch was surprised-birthday’d last week, on his 44th, at Brio Forno; those there included Jeff and Caryn Zucker, Matt Lauer, Michael Merman, plus Andrew, James, Tom, Laurie, Bob and Joan Tisch. Cossette, by the way, didn’t admit how old he is, but he’d tell you what kind of guy Abe Lincoln was.

THE TABLOIDS WILL NO DOUBT have fun with this: Regis Philbin will kill Kathie Lee Gifford. It’s all for an upcoming “Diagnosis Murder” seg, to be filmed here early next month. The duo will play talkshow cohosts — not themselves, natch, since they still love working together, Regis assured us when we visited with him and wife Joy during our N.Y. visit last week … On our return, we were saddened to learn that Harry Gelbart, 90, Larry’s dad, had died in his sleep at home Dec. 13. The burial services were held Monday. The well-loved Harry had been barber to countless celebrities including JFK — and Larry has a clipping of his Presidential locks … Barbara and Marvin Davis have set Oct. 23, 1998, for their Carousel of Hope, to again be held at Merv Griffin’s BevHilton with Jay Leno set to emcee … Chasen’s famous chili, frozen, is now available in 24 Costco stores in addition to Gelson’s. Dave and Maude Chasen’s pix are on the label. The original Chasen’s eatery site is buzzing these days with holiday parties. Among ’em are Carsey-Warner, William Morris, Disney Animation, ABC, New Wave, Polygram, and the “Wag The Dog” post-preem bash. Meanwhile, the plush new Chasen’s on Canon has become a new favorite … Olympia Dukakis joins the celeb food brigade with her Olympia Dukakis Greek Dressing, with her pic hugging the bottle neck. Now working in the low-budget feature “Better Living” shooting in Yonkers, Olympia tells me her son Ron (Zorich) created her salad dressing. She agrees that Paul Newman’s Own is “wonderful, but if you want a Greek dressing –” Guess whose.

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