Murdoch holds Idol charity gala

RUPERT MURDOCH and his wife Wendi gave a party at their hilltop Beverly Hills house last week that helped, along with many other events, to raise $65 million for the “American Idol: Idol Gives Back” event to fight hunger in Africa and the U.S.. Someone who was at this gala, attended by 50 of the rich and famous, reports it was “both subtle and sexy with candles lighting the way and wonderful food — mini quesadillas and filet mignon on skewers.” Peter Liguori, Michael Linton, Peter Chernin, Chris DeWolfe, Tom Anderson were there rubbing elbows with Tom Cruise, Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi. What does Tom Cruise ask for at a party where champagne is flowing? Why, he wants a Diet Coke.

DAVID BROWN is recovering from a broken hip under the watchful eye of his wife Helen Gurley Brown. He is plotting five or six new movies from his bed … In London’s Belgravia section, two-time Oscar winner Luise Rainer (“The Great Ziegfeld” in 1936 and “The Good Earth” in 1937) was selecting her own grapefruit at an elegant greengrocer, without any assistance. She is 98 … Onstage at the Music Box, you won’t want to miss Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes taking screamingly enthusiastic bows in “Deuce.” While they wise-cracked Terrence McNally’s lines from the stage, about lesbians in tennis, they also lauded Billie Jean King who happened to be in the audience. This is a delightful theater outing for fans of these famous ladies who play a pair of tennis doubles champs.

ONE OF tycoon Barry Diller’s pets among his growing assortment of Web site companies is titled VeryShortList.com and it’s the talk of the cognoscenti — a space where unusual books, movies, TV and anything else is recommended. Last week the VSL told about “The Bayeux Tapestry for the Xbox Generation.” This is described as a “must see” Internet video which turns the actual 230-foot long Middle Ages tapestry into the equivalent of a popcorn blockbuster. (The tapestry depicts the Norman Invasion of William the Conquerer and is physically located in a museum in Caen, France.) A British designer named David Newton animated a tracking shot of the tapestry for an education project when he was 21. This labor of love scrolls across the surface of the tapestry showing the way people made war back in the 11th century. It has subtly animated and enhanced sound effects and you can watch it on Youtube.

IF YOU happen to be in Hungary, the Czech Republic or Slovakia this summer, you might beg a ticket to see George Michael as he proceeds on his European stadium tour. George, will also perform in Holland, Denmark, Italy Belgium, Germany, France and — most impressively — he will be the first artist to perform at Britain’s brand new Wembley Stadium on June 9. For a while it looked like George was never going to get his groove back. But — as his famous song lyric goes — “You gotta have faith.” … SHE IS an all-time great singer, and a one-time Psychic Network mouthpiece, so could Dionne Warwick have predicted that her “secret” relationship with Isaac Hayes would be revealed? Well, she’s in show biz; she knows the drill. Hayes, in Memphis not long ago, picking up an award at the “50 Years of Soul” celebration, revealed, “I went out with Dionne about six or seven years.” Hayes is now married to a Ghanaian princess, but says of Dionne, “We’ll be friends for life” (past present and future) …

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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