Beatty honors Sherak as ‘Champion for Children’

GOOD MORNING: It was touch and go for Warren Beatty to make it to the bursting-at-the-seams Beverly Hilton Hotel Saturday afternoon where Beatty was skedded to present the “Champion for Children” award to Tom Sherak at the Fulfillment Fund’s Achievement Awards. Beatty admitted to me that he was taken ill while on vacation with wife Annette Bening and their (four) children in Hawaii. And up until the time he actually arrived backstage, he was still unsure. And as Warren told me of his illness, Dr. Gary Gitnick, chief of the Division of Digestive Disease at UCLA’ s School of Medicine — also founder and chairman of the Fulfillment Fund — quickly produced a pill and told Beatty to take it. Warren was able to make his presentation of “friend” Sherak whom he called “the most socially responsible man as any I’ve known” — and enumerated the many charities with which Sherak has been associated. “He gives to the community as his own family,” Beatty noted. Beatty also confirmed that he will indeed make the presentation Sunday to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich at the “Wake Up Democrats! Take Back The Country” ADA conclave at the Wilshire Grand Hotel. But Beatty smiled when I asked if he’d give any indications of his political aspirations in the next Presidential election … And when I asked Rob Reiner, another upcoming speaker at the ADA event, if he has any plans to seek office, he answered, “Not if my wife has anything to say about it.” Reiner’s main efforts continue on the education front. And while it has taken up much of his time he still has four projects in development for Castle Rock where he says their “Hearts in Atlantis” starring Anthony Hopkins “is as good as anything we have done” at Castle Rock … Tom Sherak’s charitable life was extolled in a film after which he acknowledged “Dr. Gitnick is my hero.” Gitnick told the young audience, “Reach for the moon — and even if you miss you’ll still be among the stars.” Sherak told em , “Never give up trying” — and reminded, “You have to give back.” His tribute to wife Madeline brought tears to their friends and family in the audience. She just retired after 30 years in the teaching profession and now joins the Sherak family in film production — she has a family film in development with the Arnold Rifkin Cheyenne Banner for Revolution … .The full afternoon award show boasted Paul Rodriguez as m.c.. He proved that comedy is the most powerful messenger for meaningful messages. KTLA Charities shared the event.

BILL CLINTON AND JACK NICHOLSON TEAMED at Riviera in a foursome with Roger Clinton and filmmaker Rudy Durand. Nicholson says “We played well — and we won” But Durand winked at me. He reminded that the president had just visited 17 countries and is next off to Argentina. And at week’s end, Nicholson is off to the Moscow Film Festival with Sean Penn and “The Pledge.” It’s Nicholson’s first visit to Russia. Afterward he may stop in Paris to see friend Roman Polanski and then on to Wimbledon. Nicholson just wound “About Schmidt” after filming 12 weeks in Omaha. He says the pic is a major change of pace for him. He studied many stars of silent pix. Nicholson says he was in the right place — Omaha — for that, reminding that Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon and others hailed from there … Durand is winding “The County” script in which Nicholson would, it is hoped, play a redneck sheriff and Will Smith a former high school football hero. “It’s a la ‘In The Heat of the Night’,” says Durand.

PASSION” AND “DRIVEN” WERE his by-words, Sumner Redstone revealed as he was toasted by Aaron Spelling at the BevHilton on publication of his “A Passion to Win.” Simon & Schuster’s David Rosenthal brought on Spelling whom, Redstone writes, “has become one of my closest friends. Notwithstanding the mansion in which he lives with his beautiful wife, Candy, Aaron is a gentle, compassionate and laid back man who doesn’t take himself too seriously — all characteristics that appeal to me.” … Father’s Day was a big night at Matteo’s: Bob Newhart’s clan took over the banquet room to salute him. Downstairs we were surrounded by these dads and their families: Gil Cates Sr. and Jr., Norm Crosby, Marty Erlichman, Ron Clark with daughter Melissa whose children’s series “Braveface” bowed on Fox Family channel, and daughter Jennifer who sings Friday at Highland Grounds and July 28 at Genghis Cohen. … Joely Fisher and Christopher Duddy welcomed daughter Skylar Grace Fisher-Duddy Thursday at Cedars-Sinai. Happy grandparents include Connie Stevens and Eddie Fisher … Renee Taylor lectures on comedy writing at the Lee Strasberg Institute June 28. She says Lee taught her everything about comedy. Taylor and husband Joe Bologna B’way-bow their “If You Ever Leave Me , I’m Going With You” with previews July 17, opening Aug. 6 at the N.Y. Court … His friends are happy to see Bernard Erpicum, alumnus of Spago and Eclipse, is now general manager at the cheerful Encore restaurant in the new St. Regis hotel on Avenue of the Stars in Century City. The hotel’s general manger, Arash Azarbarzin, hosted a gala soiree for particular palates and oenophiles with dinner by the Encore’s chef Bruno Davaillon and guest chef James Boyce of Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenician in Scottsdale.

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