Douglas on peaceful mission

GOOD MORNING: While one actor is readying to head to Sacramento, another is in D.C. today. You know who the former is. The latter’s Michael Douglas, one of the United Nations’ Messengers of Peace. Today he appears twice, first at the United States Institute of Peace where he’ll screen “Child Soldiers,” the moving docu he shot in Sierra Leone that aired on Showtime. Later in the day, he addresses members of Congress at Raeburn Hall on behalf of the House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation — on the need for greater international cooperation in regards to nuclear weapons for global security. I learned all this from Michael during his stay in L.A. to escort wife Catherine Zeta-Jones to U’s “Intolerable Cruelty” preem Tuesday night. He also brought his mom, Diana Douglas, and her husband Don Webster. Catherine and Michael continue on to their home in Bermuda and she then makes a turnaround to star in Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal” with Tom Hanks. She plays a flight attendant. A replica of N.Y.’s JFK airport has been built in Palmdale where much of the filming will be done. Spielberg started filming Wednesday … I asked Michael when he and Catherine would reteam again in a film. “I don’t think the public is interested in seeing us do a Ben and J.Lo,” he laughed. However, he didn’t discount working in an “adversarial” story. While Catherine’s working for Spielberg, Michael’s developing projects including “Blood Hiway,” which will get a new title … The divorce-themed “Intolerable Cruelty” preem was also “family night” for co-star George Clooney, who brought his mom and dad, Nina and Nick Clooney, who winged in from Cincy. George C. is also in D.C. this week — to work on his HBO series, “K Street,” which he and Steven Soderbergh exec produce and on which George also operates a camera. He will direct a seg and Clooney’s ex-wife, Talia Balsam, also guests on the series on which her husband, John Slattery (“Ed”), is a regular. … And now for some news on another Clooney, Rosemary. Concord Records is releasing a two-CD collection of her major hitunes from a 25-year span, “The Best of the Concord Years” … And while on the subject of divorce, Halle Berry, in the November cover story in the Ladies’ Home Journal, explains why she did the (awful) movie “B*A*P*S”: “I was going through a divorce. It was either do ‘B*A*P*S*’ or hang myself in the shower. Hanging myself in the shower was not an option. So acting saved my life.”

THERE ARE SO MANY STARS heading to N.Y. from L.A. for the live, three-hour CBS 75th anni show, the web has chartered three planes to get ’em there and back for their Coast shooting skeds. The show, at the Hammerstein Ballroom, will be a seated dinner — with three TV monitors at each table so those attending can watch the show. Gil Cates is exec producer, Dennis Doty producer, Louis J. Horvitz directs — and Les Moonves is very involved … Annette Bening, Brendan Frasier, Kimberly Williams, Howard Hesseman and Francis Guinan are at the Geffen Theater today reading Richard Vetere’s new play, “Friction.” And Friday, a model of the new Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theater at the Geffen is unveiled, along with renovations for the Geffen itself in the $17 million plans … A very happy — and excited Liza Minnelli called to tell me of her excitement in playing four — “for now” — segs in the Fox sitcom, “Arrested Development.” And tonight, she subs for Elizabeth Taylor at Macy’s Passport AIDS-benefitting fashion show at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Liza will also sing to close the show sponsored by “Liza for MAC,” her new cosmetic line. Liza said she’ll also fly to Dallas Saturday to join Mathilde Krim at another AIDS fundraiser. I asked Liza if she’d attend the B’way preem of “The Boy From Oz,” the story of her first husband Peter Allen. “No,” she said, “I’ll be working on the series.” Further, she said she’d not been told any of any the show’s content in which she’s portrayed — as is her mother, Judy Garland … Liza’s now signed with CAA.

AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE, I’ve been getting many calls from Academy members complaining about the K.O. of screeners. While most note the inability to find enough time to catch all the potential nominees, others reminded that members who are physically unable to go to theaters will now be deprived of their right. I reported on seeing/buying pirated DVDs and tapes earlier this year right in L.A. on the popular “Alley” shopping center on Santee Street. These weren’t Academy screeners — just your average stolen movies — from some films not yet in theatrical release … Don’t call me, call Jack Valenti at (202) 293-1966. Or fax him at (202) 452-9823.

THE AGUA CALIENTE TRIBE of Cahuilla Indians bows its new Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs with a $2.5 million one-night extravaganza in a 4,100-seat outdoor theater starring Natalie Cole plus a cast of 50-plus. The VIP event is created and produced by Dick Taylor, who segued from p.r. to produce spectaculars like the one he did last year at Ford Field in Detroit. He says future events are also planned for the $90 million Palm Springs Spa Resort Casino. And with other casinos planned along I-10, the Vegas-ization of the area is under way … The Friars Club in Gotham roasts the Smothers Brothers at a luncheon, Friday at the Hilton on 54th St. Susie Essman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) m.c’s. Some of those skedded to skewer the Smothers are: Alan King, Dominic Chianese, Gilbert Gottfried, David Cone, David Dinkins, Dick Cavett, Mark Linn-Baker, Bill Dana, Jack Carter, Freddie Roman … Geraldo Rivera and Rita Katz, the investigator who disguised herself to infiltrate phony U.S.-based charities funneling cash to terrorists, were set by Rabbi David Baron to speak on the legacy of their fathers at the Yom Kippur services of the Temple Shalom for the arts at the Wilshire Theater … The Laugh Factory on Sunset opens its doors for its annual High Holiday services to comics, seniors, artists and those away from home — for free. Reservations suggested … David LaBiosa, Gomez on “24,” and a Hispanic spokesman for the Boys and Girls Club of America, celebrates his birthday at the BevWilshire Saturday … “Fridays With Art: Insiders’ Accounts of the Early Days of TV” (Parrot Communications) reveals some of the behind-the-scenes tales told at the Friday lunches hosted by (the late) Art Greenfield and the top studio and sales execs. The “names” unveiled include Lucille Ball, Burns and Allen, Liberace and Richard Nixon … CBS’ Dan Rather and “Friends” Kevin S. Bright, David Crane and Marta Kauffman will he honored by the Museum of TV & Radio’s BevHills annual gala, Nov. 10.

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