Sidney Poitier was surprise birthday-partied on his 80th Tuesday night. His two eldest daughters decided to treat him to a new, younger wardrobe–from top to bottom! When they brought him home in the new threads to surprise wife (of 39 years) Joanna, he was surprised to find his four other daughters, four grandchildren, a great granddaughter, his ex-wife (“we’re very friendly,”) and “the lady who raised my four older daughters.” Joanna had flown them in from around the country for the family-only birthday celebration. And Wolfgang Puck had departed Spago and Food & Wine global gourmet menu’d pre-Oscar party to prepare Poitier’s party at home.
Sidney has already taped a segment interviewing with/by Jamie Foxx for Oprah Winfrey’s pre-Oscar special. The Poitier-Foxx interview is not about “Dreamgirls,” Sidney would only reveal. And when I asked if this showbiz return might mean Poitier’s planning further appearances, he said no. “I’ve had a great experience-and I plan to treat it with respect and dignity.”
On Stage, Ellen
Ellen Degeneres tested the Kodak’s Oscar stage setup for the first time Wednesday. She was happy to learn there were no steps for her (repeated) entrances and exits. She has no plans for a gimmicky opening routine or props. She’s expressed admiration for Steve Martin’s method. Nor is a flamboyant costume in her agenda. So far, she’s approved four wardrobe changes-tuxedoes. She’ll be supported by her writing crew of 10, plus six of the Academy show’s staff, including Carrie Fisher and Bruce Vilanch. They’ll all assist in immediately created comedy after each segment. And they will surely avoid references to Britney Spears or Anna Nicole Smith.
Gung Hay Fat Choy
There was a bright golden hue warming the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Monday night. The light, sounds and sweet aroma wafted from the verandah of the Peninsula Hotel where the Year of the Pig, the Chinese New Year, was under full sway. Hosts Donanne and Ali Kasikci welcomed the international guest list with a non-stop menu of China’s exotica. Many of the ladies donned appropriate silks–and makeup–to accentuate the holiday. And a pot-belly’d piglet in the decked hallway contributed his voice to the sounds of China within.
From the world of sounds (music): Mike Stoller and Corky Hale, Hal and Eunice David, Ginny Mancini, Carol Connors, Bobby Elliott, and show biz’s George and Jolene Schlatter, Oscar show associate producer Mike Seligman and Teresa Cusick, Judi and Gordon Davidson, Judy Henning and Dick Rosenzweig, Annie and Gary Gilbar, Judy Krantz, BevHills Mayor Steve Webb and wife Bonnie, the universe’s Buzz Aldrin and wife Lois and benefactors of the new BevHills theater, Elaine and Bram Goldsmith.