GOOD MORNING: King Abdullah of Jordan is no stranger to Hollywood — or appearing before cameras. But earlier this week he was in Hollywood trying to encourage shooting (movies, that is) in Jordan. He personally conducts a taped tour of Jordanian sites that could be attractive to moviemakers. I have spoken to him a couple of times during his Hollywood visits, on Dec. 11, 1995, I wrote, “Jordan’s (then) Prince Abdullah Bin-Al-Hussein, son of King Hussein made a walk-on last Friday on Par’s ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ series playing a (costumed) medical officer. The prince, 33, en route home from a Far East visit, told me he was sure his father wouldn’t mind. ‘He’s relaxed about that sort of thing’.” The king was the honored guest at a private luncheon hosted by Jack Valenti and Jim Wiatt at the St. Regis where guests included Sherry Lansing, Les Moonves, Tom Hanks, Chris Tucker, John Travolta, Michael Milken and Peter Bart. Also, at a private dinner at the home of Rick Nicita and Paula Wagner. Among those there: Annette Bening and Warren Beatty, Rhea Pearlman and Danny DeVito, Margo and Irwin Winkler, Kevin Costner and fiancee Christine Baumgartner and Stephen Rivers. Nicita said it was strictly a “social evening.” While he did cancel a White House meeting with President George W. Bush, the King did take time to visit with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver at their L.A. home … Arnold’s endorsements and encouragements of the use of hybrid and hydrogen-powered cars is music to longtime proponent Dennis Weaver. His non-profit Institute of Ecolonomics asking for contributions of $100 per mile in Weaver’s Hydrogen Drive 2004 drive from Mexicali to Vancouver, Canada, June 28 to July 13. All cars in the drive will be hybrids. Contributors can “buy” by phoning 866-DENNISW. … Calendar note: President George Bush, pere, celebrates his 80th birthday June 12 and plans to make his annual parachute jump in Bryan, Texas on the 13th.
A RARE TRIBUTE TO a rare gentleman in the biz: Norman Brokaw, who celebrated his 77th birthday Wednesday, and his 61st year at the William Morris Agency, was toasted Tuesday night at the Regent Beverly Wilshire by an SRO house as he received the Steven S. Cohen Humanitarian award from the Heart Fund. The $1.1 million raised, benefits Cedar-Sinai’s Dr. P.K. Shah’s heart disease and research program. In November 2002, Dr. Shah detected a change in Norman’s tests and performed triple bypass surgery. “He saved my life,” Brokaw says. Bill Cosby, who generously performed (almost an hour) for his agent and friend of more than 40 years, recalled how William Morris’ Lou Weiss observed, “Norman couldn’t stop crying after the surgery. Hocum? He discovered he had a heart!” Cosby brought the showbiz-wise crowd to repeated applause, guffaws and a standing ovation telling his story of boy to man to husband to father to grandfather. Cosby’s wife, Camille, smiled knowingly throughout it all, and laughingly admitted she’d never heard this routine before — “but I’ve heard of it!” We were at the table with the Cosbys, Brokaws and Kim Novak, as beautiful as ever. She has been a client of Norman’s for 47 years and would return to work in something worthwhile(!). She made the presentation to him. Walter Zifkin, chief executive officer emeritus of the WMA office, made the opening remarks. The room was filled with friends and clients, including Priscilla Presley and Berry Gordy, the honorary dinner co-chair whose 12-part NBC bioseries is being readied by Suzanne De Passe. Mary Hart, who femceed, has been a client 25 years, A biofilm showed Brokaw clients including Marilyn Monroe, Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, President Gerald Ford, Danny Thomas, etc. Cosby arrived at the dinner from Paramount’s backlot where Philadelphia streets were re-created for his “Fat Albert” movie (for 20tth). He scripted, exec produces with wife Camille and will appear for two days in front of the cameras. John Davis, who produces, also arrived from the set. Parents Barbara and Marvin were also on hand.
TODAY I BECOME a nice Jewish girl,” Anne (Mrs. Kirk) Douglas enthused to me prior to her completing her conversion to Judaism today, complete with mikveh (immersion). Rabbi David Wolpe of Mt. Sinai Temple officiates and will also officiate when Anne and Kirk marry, for the second time, on the 50th anniversary of their first wedding in Las Vegas at the Sahara where “Honest” John Lytel officiated. The current (second) wedding invite notes, “When ‘Honest John asked Anne to repeat ‘I take thee Kirk as my lawful wedded husband’, Anne, recently from Paris replied, ‘I take thee Kirk as my awful wedded husband’.” When I asked Anne if they were registered anyplace, she laughingly answered, “Cartier, Harry Winston, Tiffany’s–” … NBC’s “The Restaurant” series partied its second season bow at — Matteo’s in West L.A. with monitors around the party room for guests and creators to view and chew. On hand were exec producers Mark Burnett, Jamie Bruce plus Kate Hall and Jay Kannold, Ben Silberman and Howard Owens. Jazz Eckenberg of Burnett Prods. planned the bash.
OPENING NIGHT AT THE THEATER is exciting — and the opening of a theater is even more exciting But even more exciting is to be present at the site of a theater-to-be. That was the setting in the courtyard neighboring the Geffen where the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater will soon break ground. All the attendees at the “Backstage at the Geffen” night Tuesday posed for a group picture taken from the scaffolding of the Kenis to mark a historical moment in L.A. theater. Gil Cates received congrats from all — including an emotional one from longtime friend Karl Malden (91), the honoree of the “Backstage” program evening. He received his award from Tom Hanks, who even did a remarkable imitation of Malden — to his delight. The show opened and closed with Sharon Lawrence singing … Same night downtown, it was Salon XII at the Taper, this year toasting lyricist Sammy Cahn. Police chief William Bratton and wife Rikki Klieman co-chaired. The show boasted Michael Feinstein, Barry Manilow, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Jack Jones, Tony Danza, Gogi Grant, Wesla Whitfield, Rodney Gilfry, Tami Tappan Damiano, Niki Harris, Teri Bibb, Karen Culliver and Lisa Vroman — and a surprise guest, Robert De Niro who intro’d the Kirk Douglas-Burt Lancaster 1958 Cahn parody, “It’s Great not to be Nominated” … The busy week also saw Ivana Trump partied by Nikki Haskell and Richard Weisman. Guests here included Tony Curtis and wife Jill, in from Las Vegas, Bob Evans who brought his own crystal decanter of cosmopolitans, and Jacqueline Bisset, who joins Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn and Adam Brody in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Haskell, the “Star Caps Queen,” also showed her new invention, the Star Cruncher exercise belt she’ll launch at the GNC franchise convention in June in Las Vegas.