Sanctity of Sinatra Center compromised

GOOD MORNING: The American Friends of the Hebrew University number many friends in the showbiz community who are shocked and, of course, saddened by the Arab murder of more innocent Israelites, the latest in the Frank Sinatra Student Center’s cafeteria at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. (A Palestinian terrorist exploded his bomb by calling in to a portable phone containing a detonator hidden in a bag.) The site had been the destination in 1978 for “a caravan” of Hollywood celebrities who accompanied Sinatra to Israel for the dedication. Many of them recalled with me the joy and excitement their arrival occasioned with the students and surrounding populace. They made the flight in a chartered DC-10 to commemorate the further alliance between showbiz and Israel. They told me how Sinatra toured the classrooms, delighting the students in one-on-one conversations in which he urged further education for all of them, his longtime press agent Lee Solters recalls. He was so involved with the university, they told me, because it is an international students’ school. P.S. He also visited the Boys’ Club of Italy site there and ordered that fixed. Gregory Peck and wife Veronique were among the troupe, and she tells me it was memorable as the showbiz bunch were greeted by Mayor Teddy Kollek and Golda Meir. Visited sites included the Wailing Wall and Masada. The group included Tina Sinatra, the Joe Sinays, Harvey Silberts and Ed McMahon, who recalls Sinatra cooking an Italian dinner in the butler’s pantry of the presidential suite in the Jerusalem Hilton.

KIRK DOUGLAS, NO STRANGER TO ISRAEL — he’s been there “10 or 12 times” — is among the longtime American Friends of the Hebrew University who tells me he is deeply saddened by the latest killing. He and wife Anne have supported and created many schools and playgrounds in Israel, for both Israeli and Arab children. “They (children) are the future,” he reasons. “We have to give them all we can so we can have a healthy future.” We regrettably noted the education Arab children are receiving in which they are taught to become martyrs by killing Jewish children . . . Other Hollywood recipients of the Scopus Award from the American Friends of the Hebrew University have included, over the years: Steven Spielberg, Billy Crystal, Jack Valenti, Nancy Reagan, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Carson, Gregory Peck, Dinah Shore, Dolores and Bob Hope, Aaron Spelling and Merv Griffin . . . And the AFHU executive VP Peter Willner reminds the University campus also includes the Barbra Streisand Garden (next to the Harry S. Truman Institute of Peace). And the Nancy Reagan Plaza. Today Willner wings to Israel to learn the full toll of the destruction of life, including one member of the American Friends of the Hebrew University staff from N.Y., Janis Coulter, and of damage to the university. He will then fly to Hollywood to report to a group here. Jeff Rouss is the director of the L.A. office of the Friends.

NEWLY ARRIVED IN L.A. THURSDAY, Richard Gephardt lunched with Warren Beatty at the Grill … Nicole Kidman dined 10 CAAgents at Dan Tana’s . . . Johnny Carson, aboard his new 150-foot yacht, is sailing along the East Coast, now in Kennebunkport, Maine. He looks great, reports Norm Crosby, who saw him in Newport, R.I., when Frank and Arlene Mercedes’ yacht in which Joan and Norm were vacationing pulled up alongside Carson. He came topside to schmooze with Norm. Both men have totally recuped from last year’s surgeries . . . “Too much hitting people,” said Joan Crawford’s secretary of 22 years, Betty Barker, after viewing the preview of “Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star” that TCM launched Thursday night. Barker was talking about the use of movie clips with a pugilistic Crawford. “She did many more tender, dramatic scenes,” Barker reminds. Her favorite, the second “Possessed,” from 1947 . . . The Golden Boot’s 20th celebration launches Sunday with a major art show at Greystone on Monday. Johnny Crawford (“The Rifleman”) and his band perform at the Sunset Strip’s Maxwells in the Argyle. The awards, Aug. 10, are at the Beverly Hilton with a major auction of memorabilia. The night benefits the Motion Picture House & Hospital (the MPTV Fund) . . . Tony and Carmela Soprano’s home gets a glamorous spread in the September issue of Architectural Digest. It is owned by Victor Recchia, who sells copies of the house’s plans through a Web site. To date, 250 replicas have been built. Ah, there’s no biz like showbiz . . . George Stevens Jr., readying the Kennedy Center Honors, was reminiscing about meeting honoree Elizabeth Taylor — it was on the set of “A Place in the Sun” in 1950 at Paramount — Stevens’ dad was directing and George came in from school at Occidental to take Elizabeth to lunch on her 18th birthday.

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