Marlo and Phil fill house with cheer

NICEST CHRISTMAS party of the year, or at least the nicest one I was invited to, happened when Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue laid on their annual dinner on 5th Avenue. How can one quarrel when at one’s table sits Alan Alda, playwright John Guare, Nora Ephron and Diane von Furstenberg. Two of my other favorite people were on hand — Walter Anderson of Parade magazine, about to hit Broadway as a playwright, and Jim Bell, the executive producer of “Today,” a man who checks his Blackberry compulsively but still manages a conversation that is unfettered and uncensored. … Donahue has his new co-directed, co-written documentary (with Ellen Spiro) “Body of War.” Marlo is part of the website “Wowowow” (Women on the Web), which will debut in February. I’m on it, too, in case you care.

COMING UP at the Berlin Film Festival, the brilliant documentary made by young Andrew Rossi, all about Sirio Maccioni and Le Cirque. “A Table in Heaven” has already been seen to acclaim in Toronto and in North Carolina. Sirio himself maintains he had no idea he was being filmed for posterity and was just being himself throughout.

‘BETTE DAVIS kept acting, appearing in public, showing up on Johnny Carson’s ‘Tonight Show’ and at awards ceremonies, surviving, too ornery to die, too driven to sit still, too proud to recede into muted seclusion.” That’s Ed Sikov, writing of the fabulous Bette, in his new biography, “Dark Victory.” His book pays astute attention to her career. He is less enamored of Davis the woman, as a likeable, agreeable, sensible person. But he is fulsome with praise of her ambition and drive, no matter its neurotic source. She seemed incapable of working or existing without an enemy. And if she didn’t have one, she’d make one. … Heather McCartney can’t catch a break. She is now about to be sued by her lawyers for $4 million in unpaid fees surrounding her unsettled fight with Paul McCartney. The Lady and Sir Paul go back to court in the spring.

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