GOOD MORNING and goodbye Spago — Hollywood, that is. Spago BevHills continues, along with 11 other “fine” Spago restaurants, 48 cafes and other smaller, monickered eateries, and 20 Wolfgang Puck food products including soups, pizzas and entrees. “But one Spago (in L.A.) is enough,” said Wolfie. “And one wife is enough,” Barbara Lazaroff, his wife of 17 years, chimed in between exercises Thursday ayem at their home as they readied for that night’s final celeb party; Spago winds Friday and Saturday open-to-the public, then a Sunday private party — and finito. He’s come a long way from chef’ing for Patrick Terrail at Ma Maison: $500 a week “and 80 hours!” Puck added. The 20-year-old Spago on Horn Ave, on the Sunset Strip has grossed $100 million. Investors (limited) got back their $15,000 before one year, noted Barbara, “with interest.” Next month they wing to Osaka to open another site, and a second Spago in Tokyo. Their restaurant in the Hollywood-Highland building housing the Kodak theater, the new home for the Oscars, will seat 120 and may open in late Fall. The name? “Something with Wolfie’s name included,” Barbara insists. He’s writing a book, “My First 50 Years” (He’s 51). The fondest memory of Spago? “One week after we were open, Billy Wilder came in with Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier and 10 people. I never thought they’d come back. And then Swifty Lazar came in and I asked him ‘Why don’t you do your Oscar party here?’ He was doing it at the Bistro. I’ll give you the same deal. I was so shocked he said ‘yes.’” Puck assured me that Lazar did pay — for the labor of the parties, which brought so much publicity to Spago. “And the next day he would come by with a box full of cash, to pay the tips for the staff!” Talking about tips, one of the big spenders over the years was wealthy Saudi Omar, whose presence was always signaled by the exotic cars in the parking lot. Just a few days ago he was in town and dropped by Spago, Beverly Hills. He asked Puck how many employees he now has. “200,” said Wolfie; Omar took out $2,000 from his pocket, and told him to “give everyone $10″ … Among the many other affluent regulars was Dodi Fayed, who dated some of the most beautiful in L.A. before meeting with his Princess. Presidents Carter, Ford and Reagan were among the U.S. royalty who supped at Spago. The list of celebs at Spago over the years is endless. I never came away from a dinner there without an item or more. Among those at the No. 1 table at Wednesday night’s party were Warren Beatty and wife Annette Bening. At one of the earlier Swifty Lazar Oscar parties I sat next to Beatty, who had Madonna on his lap. This time, we talked about the four Beatty-Bening children … Also at this table Wednesday were the Bob Dalys, Jerry Perenchios, David Foster. And next to them, Spago supporters Barbara and Marvin Davis, Aaron Spellings, Sidney Poitiers, Mo Ostins, Don Rickles, Ed Limato and Wendy Stark. Nearby, the Larry Gelbarts, Fred Haymans, Ginny Mancini, Jacqueline Bisset with Victor Drai, Angie Dickinson, the Milton Berles.
“WHAT A GREAT GOING-AWAY party for us,” said Leslie Bricusse as he and wife Evie arrived at the Wednesday dinner party (totally hosted by Wolfgang and Barbara). Bricusse delayed his trip to London in order to attend. “All it needed,” said Bricusse, “was for Swifty to walk in and say ‘Sit down! And shut up!’ ” as he’d shout constantly during the noisy, irreverent Oscar TViewings. In London Bricusse meets with Jim Henson Co.’s John Stevenson to ready a musicalized “Noah’s Ark.” The Henson company did such a great job for Bricusse’s “Dr. Dolittle” on London’s boards; the show’s headed to the U.S. next year. They’ll have 200 animals in “Ark” and costumes nothing like Julie Taymor’s “Lion King” creations, Bricusse promises, while praising her amazing “animals.” Leslie is also working with Frank Wildhorn (“Jekyll & Hyde”) on a musicalized “Cyrano de Bergerac,” a lifelong dream of Leslie’s. He and Quincy Jones are determined to wind their B’way-bound “Sammy” for an October 2002 bow. They’ve written 12 tunes and will use five Sammy Davis goldies. Casting? Sammy at ages, 4, 8, 12 and adult … Among other longtime Spago supporters invited: the Tisch family (Bob, Jonathan and Steve), Carroll O’Connors, Larry Hagmans, Irwin Winklers, Bob Stacks, Les Moonveses, Warren Cowans, Marty Erlichmans, Grant Tinker, Alan Bergmans, Sydney Pollacks, Norman Jewisons and Giorgio Moroder whose idea it was to name the eatery Spago: “It’s Italian slang for non-ending string.”
TODAY IS THE 20TH ANNI of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan; I talked to Oliver Stone, who’d just seen the first cut of “The Day Reagan Was Shot,” which Showtime airs in Aug. He promises that the vidpic, which he produced with Dan Halsted, is “as relevant today because it shows the breakdown in the system then, just as it broke down in the election of 2000.” Cyrus Nowrasteh directed his script … Lisa Marie Presley and John Oszajca are no longer engaged, but remain good friends … Jack and Felicia Lemmon drove to the March 24, San Ysidro Ranch wedding of daughter Courtney to Peter McCrea, son of Joel & Frances Dee McCrea. Dee was also on hand … Melissa Joan Hart and boyfriend Bryan Kirkwood lead the parade of celebs and their pooches March 31 at the “4 Paws For a Cure” dog walk at Tenescak Canyon Park at Pacific Palisades.