HBO documentary chronicles Iraq war

GEORGE LOPEZ has been in Manhattan promoting “Balls of Fire.” He stopped off one night to dine at the famous Patsy’s restaurant (Frank Sinatra’s fave) and told owner Sal Scognamillo that his eatery was the first place he ever chowed down in N.Y.C., back when George was a struggling up and comer in 1985. Patsy’s remains a celeb-watchers dream. On the same night Lopez was there, Frankie Valli popped in and so did Rachel Smith, Miss USA. (Smith was not wearing her winner’s sash, but everybody recognized her.)

THE OSCAR world — or should we call it “the pre-Oscar world” — is rocking with uncertainty as to where Vanity Fair magazine’s Academy Awards party will be held this year? Mortons has had its very expensive lease, where they doubled the rent, taken over by the Manhattan private club Soho House. Arguments are going on as to what the outcome will be for Oscar night.

ONE NIGHT Toots Shor was talked into going to see John Gielgud in “Hamlet.” At the intermission he was in the lobby saying, “I’ll bet I’m the only bum here who don’t know how this turns out.” Sunday, the long-awaited “Toots” documentary kicks off with Tom Brokaw, Drew Nieporant and Frank Gifford hosting at the Tribeca Screening Room. I first wrote a full column on this historical film back in April 2006. Pic is being widely released on Sept.14.

YOU OWE it to yourself and to every service man and woman who has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan, to tune in our old friend, actor James Gandolfini, when he airs his HBO documentary, “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq.” It bows on HBO Sunday.

(Email Liz Smith at

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