GOOD MORNING: A little insider info on “The Insider” from Christopher Plummer, who just won the L.A. Film Critics’ supporting actor nod for his portrayal of Mike Wallace. Plummer revealed he and Wallace were to have lunched during the filming. But, for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. After the movie was in release, Plummer allowed, it didn’t look like lunch would ever happen. I met the ever-charming Plummer in the White House Blue Room after we had made our way through the receiving line where we were warmly welcomed by Hillary and President Clinton at the Kennedy Center Honors weekend. (The news of “Insider’s” wins was then unknown but controversy between the “60 Minutes” group and the film’s creators still hovered.) … Talk of millennium celebrations on New Year’s Eve was everywhere on everyone’s lips. Amazing how many are planning “at home” celebrations, like Whoopi Goldberg and Frank Langella. He also was in D.C. for the Kennedy Center Honors while Whoopi was winding “Hollywood Squares” in L.A. Langella said they’d be New Year’s eve’ing at home in upper New York state, strictly family-style … Patrick Stewart and fiancee Wendy Neuss were making New Year’s plans to film again with Robert Halmi, this time on “Faust.” They also have “Boss Lear” in the works, hopefully with Gregory Peck. Stewart returns to the stage next year in Arthur Miller’s “Ride Down Mount Morgan” … When in N.Y. en route back to L.A., we dined at Le Cirque in the Palace Hotel with longtime friends Regis Philbin and wife Joy. At the next table were the Dan Rathers. Dan was so pleased with Reege’s new success he said, “If I were Regis, I would never sober up!” As Philbin starts the next round of “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire,” he’s talking with his William Morris agent about changes in his ABC pact. He deserves ’em! … Also dining at Le Cirque was a man who knows the creme de la creme: Frank Klein, president of the Ritz Hotel of Paris … At Elaine’s I met up with George Greif, whose short story “Time Step” is being B’way-musicalized by Leiber & Stoller with new music. Greif said his story is set on B’way and Harlem. Also at Elaine’s, William McNamara, young star of “Beggars and Choosers”; while awaiting word of a pickup, he is starring in the indie feature, “License To Kill” set in a brokerage house. Also at Elaine’s: Bobby Zarem, who has initiated a lawsuit vs. the City of N.Y., re a sidewalk accident in which Bobby suffered a broken ankle, sidelining him for months. Also in N.Y. was Mary Hart — at Stuart Weitzman’s shoe showroom, setting her tootsies in the newest footwear to kick off the new millennium.
THE 23-HOUR ABC New Year’s global show — 5 ayem-4 ayem — has just added Elton John. Gary Smith will tape him a day earlier at the Mack Arena in Las Vegas, so Elton can be seen at primetime during the New Year’s Eve show. Billy Joel will be live from Madison Square Garden. Also live: Faith Hill from Nashville, Barry Manilow from Foxwood, Phish from the Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida, Blondie on the beach in Miami. Enrique Iglesias will be taped Thursday in Madison Square Garden … On the eve of pre-taping segs of RP Intl.’s “Eyes of Christmas” (starts airing 1:30 ayem Christmas Day on KCOP), Helen Harris’ husband of 27 years, Bob, died Dec. 10 at Northridge Hospital. The funeral will be held 2 p.m. Thursday at Pierce Brothers Valley Oak Cemetery, Westlake Village. Helen says, “Bob’s greatest joy would be to see the end of Retinitis Pigmentosa through funds for medical research and TheatreVision donations” (P.O. Box 900, Woodland Hills, Ca. 91365) Their sons Jim and Richard have RP, as does Helen.
SANTA CLAUS ARRIVED EARLY in Beverly Hills, for his annual visit to Carroll & Co. on Canon — in the person of Brady White, who winged in from his appearance at Cartier in N.Y. Would you believe there was no room at the inn — any hotel — in the bursting-at-the-seams N.Y.? Brady, a longtime friend of the Hiltons, called Cathy and Rick Hilton at their home in the Waldorf and they put Santa up in one of the suites they keep for a nanny, who was moved to another room! Dick Carroll, son John and staff were also celebrating the 50th anni of the store that was started by Dick, a onetime WB press agent. He showed a video of past-present customers. They include Fred Astaire, Lew Wasserman, Ronald Reagan, the Duke of Kent, Jack Lemmon, Gary Cooper, Vin Scully, George Stevens Jr., David Wolper, etc. etc. … It’s also Louis Vuitton week in BevHills as the new, giant shoppe opens (on the site of the former Fred Hayman’s). Last night’s Vuitton dinner at the Chateau Marmont was preceded by Saturday’s party at Spago in tribute to all those who are part of Yanou Collart’s massive coffee table book, “Rebonds.” International celebs from all walks of life are lensed holding a signature Vuitton soccer ball. All proceeds go to UNICEF and 70,000 copies are already sold in worldwide Vuitton stores; four more will be added promptly, said chairman-CEO Yves Carcelle, who was on hand as well as Jean Marc Loubier and Marc Jacobs … Merv Griffin’s Christmas Tree Lane at the Beverly Hilton will be broadcast on the Internet (eStar.Com). Featured are trees of Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Lemmon, Ricky Martin, Sharon Stone, Mel Gibson. Silent auction proceeds benefit the Young Musicians Foundation. The trees remain on display all week.