GOOD MORNING: Kevin Spacey not only agreed to wing to D.C. to appear in the Bill Clinton gag reel at the White House Correspondents’ Assn. annual dinner Saturday, he also brought his Oscar for the scene and said to director Phil Rosenthal, “I should put on my tux for the scene” — and he did. “It was like planning a war game,” said Rosenthal, exec producer of CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond,” who not only directed the short, but co-wrote it with his high school pal Mark Katz and Jeff Shefol. Rosenthal spent a week in D.C. with a camera crew of three including his brother, Richard, a Y&R exec VP producer of top commercials. But, the budget for the reel was only — $12,000 — each member picking up his own tabs. And Rosenthal had to get special dispensation from the White House — to delay arriving to work until Sunday — in order to celebrate his 10th wedding anni with his wife Monica (Horan), Amy on “Raymond.” Once in D.C., the Hollywood troupe was also assisted by White House press secretary Joe Lockhart’s staff. But the president could only give them a half-hour one day, another half-hour the next — and on Saturday, the day of the dinner, another half-hour. The reel was edited between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. the day of the event. Rosenthal often was the “stand-in” for the president, setting scenes for the shoot, including in the Oval Office. When shocked visitors saw him sitting in the president’s chair, Rosenthal said, “Come on in, there have been a few changes. While we’re having an Easter egg roll here today — next year it’ll be a Passover roll!” He said this script idea had been in the works for a year. Rosenthal reports the president and the first lady were “gracious about everything. And she stayed to watch his scenes — and he did for hers.” Prior to this extra-curricular stint, Rosenthal wound the fourth season of “Everybody Loves Raymond” with a show in which the ex-wife of Raymond’s brother Robert (Brad Garrett) makes an appearance for the first time since their divorce five years ago. And for the fifth season, “Raymond” goes to Italy for two segs. They’ll shoot in a small town out of Rome because Marie (Doris Roberts) has been saving up for it 45 years. And it’s also to shake things up after four years in the same (studio) set. … The “West Wing” troupe, which was on hand but had earlier taped a special reel on their White House set especially for the press event, agreed that the president had “upstaged us all and that’s as it should be,” said Rob Lowe. He was seated next to Kevin Spacey at the dinner and admitted, “We were amazed at his (Clinton’s) comic timing. I said to Kevin, ‘Maybe we should call up our agents’!” The “West Wing” company remains in D.C. this week to shoot its season finale and while it’s a secret, Lowe allows, “It’s a matter of life and death.” Whose? “Stay tuned.” On a serious, patriotic note, Rob and wife Sheryl drove to the Lincoln Memorial with their two sons (four and six years old) and Rob read the Gettysburg address to them.
FIRST IT WAS BRITAIN’S Anthony Hopkins taking out U.S. citizenship and now (American) producer-director Robert Ginty tells me he’s now an Irish citizen. He’s moved his operation to Ireland along with longtime pal and partner Skip Heinecke. He says they plan to work with Roger Corman’s studio in Galway to produce international TV programs/features including Ray Bradbury’s “Green Shadow, White Whale ” and a female-driven action series, “Robyn Hood.” Ginty claims, “The Irish film deals are better than what is currently available in Canada — with the exchange rate and government subsidies.” … While Poland is declaring its return to normalcy, its TV toppers have turned down airing the Oscar-winning feature docu, “One Day in September” about the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. … Elliott Gould, narrator of the “Voices of the Shoah: Remembrances of the Holocaust,” participates along with 1,000 L.A.-based schoolchildren in today’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Holocaust monument in L.A.’s Pan Pacific Park. … Years of karate workout finally caught up with Bob Barker who undergoes corrective surgery on a knee during a week off CBS’ “The Price Is Right” May 15. He was to have attended the Daytime Emmys, on which he’s a nominee as host and producer of “The Price Is Right.” It’s expected he’ll only require a week to recupe. Barker bounced back after carotid artery surgery Sept. 16. … Vanessa Williams and Rick Fox welcomed daughter Sasha Gabriella Fox, Monday in N.Y. … Gil Cates became a grandfather for the fifth time thanks to daughter Melissa (VP business affairs for MTV in N.Y.) and husband Roger Claman, who welcomed Jordan Matthew Claman April 28.
AMY PASCAL, CHAIRMAN, COLUMBIA PICTURES, will be honored at the 2000 Multiple Sclerosis Dinner of Champions, Sept. 11 at the Century Plaza. Pascal, in addition to her work for the MS Dinner of Champions, sits on the board of trustees of the Rand Corp. and serves as the national chair of the American Film Institute’s Third Decade Council. … A starry night for Irwin Winkler, who was toasted Friday upon joining the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Wolfgang Puck-catered dinner party was held at Margo and Irwin’s BevHills home. There were warm speeches by Ron Meyer, Mort Zuckerman, Rob Cowan and son Adam Winkler. Friends like Don Hewitt winged in from N.Y. to join the group including the Saul Turteltaubs, Rob Reiners, Gareth Wigans, Mo Ostins, Tony Thomopouloses, Howard Weitzmans, Kevin Huvanes, Carl Weathers, Gene Kirkwoods, Rick Nicitas, Bob Bookmans, Bert Fieldses, Donald Sutherland, Larry Cohen, Martha Luttrell, Dan Melnick, Elliott Gould, Val Kilmer, etc.