GOOD MORNING: Paramount’s popular Sherry Lansing was toasted all day Wednesday as she readies to enter another phase of her ever-productive life and career(s). At the hand and footprint ceremonies in front of Grauman’s Chinese, Lansing said, “I feel like I’m seeing my life flash before my eyes.” She admitted having rushed to ogle Grauman’s — on her very first day in Hollywood … Johnny Grant called Lansing, “The First Lady of Film” and those on hand to applaud her included Sumner Redstone, Morgan Freeman (who appeared in six pix for Par under Sherry’s aegis), Diane Keaton and Jack Valenti. Keaton praised Sherry for having introduced her to the importance of fundraising for cancer research and Sherry then thanked Keaton for her congressional appearance to get that funding. Other friends on hand to applaud Sherry at the noontime ceremony included Ann Archer (“Fatal Attraction”), Sidney and Joanna Poitier, Jackie Collins, Angela Bassett and Richard Benjamin. Sherry closed the ceremony with loving thanks to husband Billy Friedkin and sons Jack and Cedric. “This is a happy closure and all my memories are good.” At Paramount Studio in the evening, the Sherry Lansing Theater was dedicated in a program m.c.’d by Rob Friedman and Donald DeLine, with praise from speakers including Tom Freston, Redstone and a surprise greeting (on video) by President Carter. She is on the board of trustees of the Carter Center.
MEANWHILE, BRAD Grey said he was readying to move into his Par office March 1. He will be welcomed and farewell’d at a cocktailer hosted by Freston, Brian Grazer and Bernie Brillstein on Feb. 24. Regarding projects set up elsewhere via his Plan B banner, Grey said he’d only be involved with one of them as a producer — WB’s “The Departed” boasting Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon. It starts filming in April in Boston. Plan B (Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston) has 20 others in development. Grey said, “I’ll be completely disconnected on an operating basis with them. I’ll have new challenges. I’m studying material — and getting to know everyone at Paramount. On March 1, I plan on meeting everyone.”
AOL HAS JOINED, as a presenting sponsor, the third annual Night Before Oscar party Feb. 26 at the BevHills Hotel benefiting the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Other sponsors are Ford, Hewlett-Packard, JP Morgan Chase, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Reed Business/Variety and Target. It now looks like the all-star party will raise (at least) $3.8 million, Fund Foundation CEO Ken Scherer tells me … Recent visitors to the MPTV Fund’s Wasserman Campus who have screened their films for the residents include Kevin Spacey, Paul Rusesabagina, Virginia Madsen, Hilary Swank and Leonardo DiCaprio. (He talked with residents who had worked with Howard Hughes). … Not only will the Oscar show have a new look, but the Board of Governors’ Ball will also boast a change. Sid Ganis, who coproduces the ball with Cheryl Boone Isaacs, says the hall will be “a contemporary version of old-time Hollywood glamour” — with a three-tiered room and the orchestra suspended 12-feet above the dancers. As usual, Wolfgang Puck will please the palates.
PRESIDENT CLINTON will be honored tonight by the Ambassadors for Humanity at a Universal gala benefiting the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Afterward, Clinton heads out on a 20-day observation of the tsunami’s devastation. Steven Spielberg, who heads tonight’s fete, is between days-nights shooting “War of the Worlds,” which must be in theaters June 29. Tom Cruise hosts tonight’s program, Robin Williams and Sheryl Crow will entertain … Angela Lansbury broke her right arm and suffered a black eye when she fell while getting the morning newspaper on her front walk. She’ll still be heard, however, via voiceover with the Nine O’Clock Players, in the 75th anni production of “Happily Ever After, After All,” Sunday at the Assistance League Playhouse in Hollywood. Angela says she shot part of the pilot of “Murder, She Wrote” there. … Allan Rich performs his one-man Shakespeare show, “Meet the Bard,” Saturday at the Masquers’ Cabaret in West Hollywood benefitting “We Care About Kids” … Neile Adams returns to the Gardenia Friday-Saturday with her “Let Me Entertain You” show … Betty and Fred Hayman and Placido Domingo hosted a black tie dinner and gala Monday onstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Placido surprised by joining in song with “Romeo and Juliet” stars Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon and Simone Alberghini … “Hitch” director Andy Tennant, on the longhorn following a press confab in Mexico City with Will Smith, reports Smith did the entire gab session in “perfectly fluent Spanish.” Tennant said crowds love him everywhere — they’d also been in Rio and are en route to Berlin, London, Paris, Barcelona and Monte Carlo to sell the B.O. blockbuster. “Will has always believed in this project and that there is a market for it. And we understand the global market and how important it is,” Tenant told me.