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Clinton dinner draws some surprise guests

GOOD MORNING: There were plenty of surprises at the”Evening Honoring President Clinton,” Monday night at Edie and Lew Wasserman’s BevHills home, where $l.4 million was raised for the Democratic presidential campaign. Surprises were some of the guests who attended (at $5,000 apiece), like usual GOP supporter Kevin Costner; Tom Cruise (who had to take an important phone call there), and the rarely-seen-out-these days Johnny Carson, being hugged by Jay Leno — whose TV barbs at Clinton have occasionally raised eyebrows. But then again, Leno’s upcoming HarperCollins book is to be called “Leading With My Chin”… The president’s tablemates were Edie Wasserman, Barbra Streisand and Richard Baskin, newlyweds Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Candy and Aaron Spelling, Berry Gordy, and Occidental’s Dr. Ray Irani. Among the other 225 guests: Clinton friends Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson, the Jeffrey Katzenbergs, Suzanne Pleshette and Tommy Gallagher, Vidal Sassoon, the Neil Simons, Paula Wagner and Rick Nicita, Geena Davis and Renny Harlin, Andrew Shue, Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, Barbara and Marvin Davis, Jenny McCarthy of MTV with Ray Manzella (Clinton’s MTV appearance in the first presidential campaign helped swing the Generation X voters), Rosemary Tomich, Kate Edelman, Ha-Lo Industries’ Ruth and Lou Weisbach, Angela Lansbury and Peter Shaw, Carlton and Peter Morton, Michele and Rob Reiner, Jamie Alexander and Steve Tisch. Jack Valenti, Commerce secretary Mickey Kantor and Lew Wasserman made the intros, with Valenti calling Kantor “The great American Samurai — and protector of American movies.” Clinton called Valenti “tenacious” and said of Lew Wasserman, “He’s always there — steady — I look to him for counsel.” Chasen’s alumnus captain Arli, now running his own catering, served the dinner, which included chilled watercress and pea soup, Caesar salad, cheese toast, chili, veal medallions Perigordine, fresh asparagus, carrot souffle, pommes Anna, and peach Melba. Chasen’s Ronnie Clint and many of his former staff made the evening warm, as they had for many previous presidents. On leaving, guests were given little saxophone lapel pins, T-shirts emblazoned “Re-Elect Clinton in ’96” and pens with the presidential seal. The president continued on to the Smash Box, where Alec Baldwin made his intro.

PIERCE BROSNAN AND KEELY SHAYE SMITH are expecting the stork. A happy Brosnan called from “on top of a mountain” outside Wallace, Idaho (the location of U’s “Dante’s Peak”), to tell me the news. Brosnan, a widower, has three children, “who are very supportive”; it’s the first child for Smith. “We weren’t planning, ” said Brosnan, “but sometimes life gives you wonderful things. We’re both in a state of shock.” Smith is an environmental reporter for “The Today Show,” she co-stars on”Unsolved Mysteries” and has a regular show on PBS. Brosnan will be working on the $100 million volcano-themed “Peak” until November, with Roger Donaldson directing and Linda Hamilton co-starring. Brosnan’s “Robinson Crusoe” from Miramax has an August release — and Brosnan’s due to start the next Bond epic about the time the baby’s due. What about marriage? “Neither of us has discussed marriage. We are very happy the way life is going and she will be a wonderful mother.” And Brosnan’s children have always told me what a wonderful dad he is — and has been during the tragic, fatal illness of his first wife, Cassie … Yup, that was Warren Beatty and wife Annette Bening at the Improv. They were there with Beatty’s “Love Affair” buddy Garry Shandling, to see comedian Suli McCullough (“Terminal Velocity”). Suli is readying a sitcom project with the producers of Shandling’s “The Larry Sanders Show.” Cesario also has an August special on HBO. Shapiro/West has also set client Blake Clark (“Home Improvement”) with a development deal at HBO. And another of their comic clients, Kevin Meaney (“Uncle Buck”), takes his one-man show from Boston on to Chi and N.Y. — and a series? … Meanwhile, Shapiro/West’s ace, Jerry Seinfeld, is back from N.Y. where he took all the series’ writers to soak up atmosphere for N.Y.-set stories (to be shot here) this season. Seinfeld starts off the year engaged to marry — on the show, not in real life, not for a year, that is.

SHARON GLESS HAS SAID YES — AND NO to London producer Bill Kenwright. The “yes”: to extend her stand on London’s boards in Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two” with Tom Conti until mid-July. The “no”: to team with Tyne Daly on London’s West End this fall in Simon’s “The Odd Couple.” (Jack Klugman and Tony Randall will reprise their roles there this summer) … The Sands in Vegas closes at month’s end to ready for a rebuilding …”The Club Aereola” signs atop Vegas cabs are for Jerry Weintraub’s “Vegas Vacation,” shooting there … Arnie ‘Morton’s of Chicago opens its 34th eatery Saturday in N.Y. and one in San Diego at year’s end.

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