GOOD MORNING: Every day there’s an incredible new online outlet — and this time it’s a first time teaming between the Cunard Line and Yahoo! Auctions. And it’s for a worthy cause. You’re all familiar with those long, drawn-out auctions at benefit dinners where an auctioneer has to painfully pitch the diners (who would rather be home) to up the bidding on generously contributed trip packages. Well there won’t one of those embarrassments at the Dinner of Champions, Sept. 9 at the Century Plaza, benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society . The Yahoo! Auctions line will be open to all bidders from Monday until Sept. 6 offering Cunard cruise packages on the QE2, the Vistafjord, Royal Viking Sun and Sea Goddess I and II. The auction will be open free to all users. Meanwhile, at the “live” event (already a sellout and the biggest fund-raiser in the history of the Society), honoree Bill Mechanic, chairman of Fox Filmed Ent. is intro’d by Steven Spielberg, and David Landers, Squiggy of “Laverne and Shirley,” receives a special tribute from “Laverne,” Penny Marshall, with other cast members on hand as well. Landers recently went public on his MS.
THEY TURNED OUT FOR BILL and Hillary Thursday night at the Martha’s Vineyard home of (hefty Demo supporters) Mattel chief Bill Rollnick and wife Nancy Ellison. Guests included Carol and Frank Biondi, Glenn Close, Betsy and Walter Cronkite, Ann and Vernon Jordan, Susan St. James and Dick Ebersol, Beverly Sills, Peter Greenough, Bill and Rose Styron, Lisa Birnbach and Stephen Haft, Prince Andrew, and Barbara Lazaroff and Wolfgang Puck who are on their way to their first vacation — in Italy. Lisa Birnbach, who just signed on to be a regular on the Bryant Gumbel show, is writing the text to a book on “Barbie,” which (photojournalist) Nancy Ellison is shooting. Although her husband, Bill Rollnick, is chief of Mattel (“Barbie’s” home), Nancy had to go through the normal channels to get Mattel’s OK to shoot the book — with color and glamour. As for the dinner menu last p.m., the President must be watching his cholesterol: He asked that his crab enchiladas be made sin queso (that’s without cheese, amigo).
JACK VALENTI IS NUMERO UNO in Washingtonian mag’s list of “Top 50 Association Heads.” The mag calls him, “the oldest (77), wisest and most highly paid lobbyist (over $1 million a year — and he earns it!) in Washington, he is still the best. His industry gets blamed for just about everything, including the nation’s moral decline, but Valenti parries critics’ attacks with the aplomb of Errol Flynn.” Valenti is weekending at his late boss’ home, the Lyndon B. Johnson ranch in Texas … Robert Evans, readying a new slate of productions, is vacationing at brother Charles’ home in Southampton on Long Island … The amazing Osmonds go on — and on. “The Osmonds” (Jimmy Jay, Merrill and Wayne) celebrate their 40th anni at the Riviera tonight (and Saturday). They have returned from London, where I’d earlier spoken with the youngest, Jimmy (36), as they’d completed filming a docu and were celebrating the success of a single “Crazy Horses” as well as the revival of Jimmy’s “Long-Haired Lover from Liverpool,” which he’d plattered when he was 10 years old! “And they won’t let me forget it,” he laughed. Meanwhile, brother Donny also had been in London winding the taping of the videocassette for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” — taped on the James Bond Pinewood stages. Donny also returned to the U.S. this week, and immediately headed out on personals with sister Marie in advance of resuming their syndicated daytimer, Sept. 20., and cohosting the Miss America pageant Sept. 18 in Atlantic City for ABC. By the way, the rival Miss USA pageant will air on CBS in Feb., live from Branson, Mo., where the Osmond freres (but not Donny or Marie) perform at the Osmond Branson theater — 200 shows a year! … Andy Williams’ new Branson lakeside home will be featured in the December issue of Architectural Digest. It’s Andy’s fourth A.D. home spread — L.A., N.Y. and his “Moon River” theater in Branson. His digs in the latter are something to see.
NEIL SIMON’S NEW PLAY, “The Dinner Party,” bowing at the Mark Taper Forum Oct. 19, adds Rita Wilson to the cast that includes John Ritter, Henry Winkler and Veanne Cox … Andrew “Dice” Clay comes back at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood tonight and Saturday when he’ll also record a new album during the shows … Comedienne Marilyn Martinez, on her Wednesday night gig at the Comedy Store, told of her guesting earlier that day with Roseanne — who will have to be bleeped in order to air … On the G-rated scene, ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney” Sunday previews its “Annie” holiday special with a behind-the-scenes look … Emmy-winner Fyvush Finkel wings in from N.Y. to m.c Sunday’s Chabad “L’Chaim to Life” telethon airing on KCOP (13) … “The Spy Who Shagged Me’s” Mini-Me (Vern Troyer) is “Mini-Hef” at the Playboy Mansion photo session where he’s lensed in full Hefner regalia — including smoking jacket and silk pajamas — for a Jan. 2000 Playboy pictorial in which he’s surrounded by “celebs” shot from his perspective — so, only their knees show.