Douglas speaks his mind at award presentation

GOOD MORNING: It was a different Michael Douglas in the BevHilton’s International Ballroom than most were accustomed to seeing and hearing. The handsome, dashing leading man — son of “Spartacus” (Kirk Douglas) and husband of the screen’s most beautiful leading lady (Catherine Zeta-Jones) — was his own, offscreen, serious, yes even controversial, self Monday night as the recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance Humanitarian Award. And he also ruffled some feathers in the obviously pro-Israel SRO crowd when his urging of Israel to be “a light among nations” shadowed the continued terrorism from which it is suffering. Perhaps it is because of his status as “ambassador of peace” for the United Nations that places him in that role, suggested Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Wiesenthal Center. But Douglas reminds he is a lifelong supporter of Israel. Douglas also criticized Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) for “trying to destroy” the planned international criminal court. Douglas urged everyone to support the court. Ron Meyer, among the evening’s co-chairs, announced $1.15 million had been raised by the event. Other co-chairs were the Jonathan Dolgens, Jeffrey Katzenbergs and Jim Wiatts. Chairman Merv Adelson made the introduction of Douglas. The Oscar-winning star is the narrator of the museum’s (two-time Oscar-winning Moriah Films’) “In Search of Peace” docu that will preem at the Hollywood Film Fest. As for Douglas’ movie career — he and wife Catherine still plan to costar in I.E.G.’s “Smoke and Mirrors” and he is talking to Mimi Leder (“Pay It Forward,” “Deep Impact”) about directing … A preview of a seg of the Moriah banner’s next film was shown — the incredible heroism of (the late) Pichas Rosenbaum who saved hundreds of Hungarian children. Two heroes on hand to receive standing ovations were Judy Feld Carr and Shula Cohen. Antonio Villaraigosa received the center’s public service award. Bob Saget, who m.c’d, said “The Simon Wiesenthal Center budget needs money so Kelsey Grammer volunteered a week of his new salary.” He also said we need the center because there’s so much hate — and just in this room!” (big laugh). Willie Nelson and his quartet generously performed a mini-concert. And a touching musical note was the duet by teens Thalia Ostein and Amy Turner of the national anthem and hatikvah. Rabbi Meyer May welcomed the group. The heavy ad book contained a page with the line: “Congratulations!” from “Michael Douglas’ father” … Male guests received a small bag sample of “Michael for men” cologne with an enclosure: “I hope you enjoy my first men’s fragrance, (signed) Michael.” It’s not Michael Douglas’! But he laughingly grabbed as many of the souvenir bags as remained on the dais. As everyone readied to depart the ballroom, someone at the rear shouted, “What about the Indians?”

WARREN BEATTY SAID DAUGHTER Kathlyn, (9) is already a Democrat. It was at Sunday’s “Wake Up Democrats; Take Back the Country” conclave at the Wilshire Grand Hotel. Beatty stayed from 9 ayem until the lights were turned off. More than 1,000 participated in the event by the SoCal Americans for Democratic Action. The speakers also included Hollywood’s Rob Reiner, Bill Rosendahl, Ed Begley Jr. well as the politicos Sen. Gebhardt, Robert Reich, Hida Solis, Henry Waxman, Jesse Jackson Jr., Maxine Waters, Antonion Villaraigosa, videos from Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer. Screenwriter-producer Lila Garrett heads the group … Tuesday night in N.Y., readying to go into the Ziegfeld theater preem of ‘A.I.,” Sam Robards, who plays the adopted father of Haley Joel Osmont, told me that he and Frances O’Connnor, who plays Haley’s adopted mother, marveled at Haley. “‘He’s amazing,’ we’d say to one another between takes. He’d come to the set completely prepared and then amaze us with his (acting) choices. And still he’s also a wonderful kid — and beat me regularly at video games.” Robards, who has three children, attended the preem with his wife, their 11-year-old son — and Robards’ mother, Lauren Bacall. Sam said “it was an honor” to be in Steven Spielberg’s film — “He is so supportive of the actor.” Robards, who is actually a “heavy” in the film, is also the unfriendly neighbor to Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas in Irwin Winkler’s “Life as House.” He also recently co-starred with Julie Andrews’ in CBS’s “live” “On Golden Pond.” And now the busy Robards is off to the Williamstown Playhouse to star in Arthur Miller’s first produced play, “The Man Who Had All the Luck,” with Chris O’Donnell and Jennifer Dundiss. Scott Ellis directs; the play opens July 19 … Michele Lee, Tony-nominated for “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” has signed to stay on through Dec. 31. Tony Roberts, who co-stars, has also re-signed. Linda Lavin’s role will be picked up by Valerie Harper. Lee was birthday-partied Monday night at N.Y. China Club’s new rooftop garden. Lee, with vacation days coming, birthday-parties with family in L.A. this weekend … Ned Beatty in England to start “Cat an a Hot Tin Roof” plays Big Daddy to Brendan Fraser’s Brick. Beatty’s re-creating the role he played in summer stock when he was 20 years old. … Eva Marie Saint and Jeffrey Hayden are SRO at the Ogunquit Playhouse in “Love Letters.” They first played there in “The Rainmaker” in 1955 in which Hayden directed Eva. They’ll next play a special “Love Letters” performance at the Motion Picture and TV Country House, July 11 … The town was shocked to learn that Matthew Ansara, 35, only son of Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara, was found dead early Tuesday morning at a gas station in Monrovia. Eden had been helping prepare his Sept. 1 wedding to Leanna Green.

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