GOOD MORNING: How grand a lady is Angela Lansbury? When she was SOS’d at the 11th hour to replace Larry King as m.c. of the Friends of Sheba Medical Center Yitzhak Rabin Award dinner honoring Leah Rabin, the gracious Lansbury simply said, “I’d be proud and honored.” Although it was announced King had been paged to do a Hillary Rodham Clinton interview, King told me Monday the interview with the First Lady is now Thursday or perhaps next Tuesday. But, he explained, “We (I) have an out in every (speaking, m.c.’ing) contract that CNN has the right to call me back.” He reminded of the many (other) dinners he’s m.c.’d on behalf of Israel-associated functions and that he’ll be a co-chair of the Jerusalem 3000 event in July. Among those disappointed by King’s absence, g.f. Deanna Lund and ex-wife Sharon — both of whom were invited there by him (at separate tables, however) … During the emotional evening, Dennis Cole had an opportunity to talk with Mrs. Rabin and to share the story of the death of his son Joey and the organization Dennis has started, Victims of Violent Crimes. And Carol Connors sang “Violence Has No Color,” which she wrote with Eddie Reasoner. Fred Travalena sang the national anthem, Natalie Cole headlined and Hedya Amrani sang “The Song of Peace.” The event raised $2 million for the Yitzhak Rabin International Wall of Peace at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. Rod Steiger delivered a moving poem he had written for Rabin. And Jerry Weintraub read the touching letter from President Clinton. Harvey Silbert chaired … The next morning, Sunday, Rabbi Hier escorted Mrs. Rabin at the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance, where she viewed a photo of her husband and Hier looking at a scale model of the museum before it was built. She signed the guest book, “With all my tremendous pain”… Also during Mrs. Rabin’s Hollywood visit, she was lunched at Morton’s by the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee and the Hollywood Policy Center. She was introduced by Richard Dreyfuss, no stranger to Israel and its needs. Mrs. Rabin made a plea to support the peace process in forging a new relationship with the Palestinians.
MORE SUITES FROM THE PLAZA: Gene Kirkwood made a deal with the historic N.Y. Plaza Hotel, this time as the subject for telefilms set in different time periods — from WWI to today, with historic characters such as U.S. presidents included in the stories. Kirkwood continues bigscreen plans for “What Makes Sammy Run” with director Ben Stiller at WB … Jodie Foster on “Frasier”? Well, her voice will be — as a panicked caller — to Kelsey Grammer’s Dr. Crane. But during her call-in, she is interrupted by her dog, her baby, the arrival in her apartment of her parents, etc. — forcing the harassed Foster to finally hang up on Frasier. Jodie joins this talented list of voice-only guestars on the series: Ray Liotta, Laura Dern, Paul Mazursky, Cyd Charisse, among many others … Sara Gilbert winged down to Mexico City to visit pal Leonardo DiCaprio filming “Romeo and Juliet.” Gilbert spent four days photographing the Mexican scene — photography is one of her subjects at Yale, where she is an A student. She’s now back on campus where she celebrated her 21st birthday (can you believe it!) Monday. She continues to be “Darlene” on “Roseanne” during school breaks … HRH , the Duchess of York, “Fergie,” sent an autographed copy of her children’s book “Budgie the Little Helicopter” to Frank Sinatra for his Feb. 9-10 golf tourney silent auction at Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert benefiting the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center and Palm Springs Desert Hospital. Other donated items include an autographed Cal Ripken Jr. baseball, a Jack Nicklaus golf glove, an “NYPD Blue” script signed by the entire cast. (For info call (800) FS-STARS.) … Quincy Jones takes a brief break from Oscarcast producing to shoot the video for the next single from “Q’s Jook Joint,” the Rod Temperton “Slow Jams” featuring Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Barry White, Portrait and Tamia. Quincy returned from vacation with Gloria and Emilio Estefan in Florida where Jones stood over the baptism of their daughter Emily Marie E. Jones is godfather. Gloria, too, sings on “Q’s Jook Joint” on “Is It Love That We’re Missing”– adding Spanish lyrics.
THE MOST SURPRISED MAN — Rick Pallack — received a phone call from former President George Bush. Although Rick has suited up several politicians (and countless celebs), Bush isn’t one of ’em. He called to thank Rick for the Christmas tie. “It was like talking to an old friend,” said Pallack … The showbiz community is saddened by the death of Judy Shepherd, a member of a historic Hollywood family; her father was Bill Goetz, her grandfather L.B. Mayer. She fought valiantly against cancer … Henry Ronald Bickel was born Jan. 16 at Cedars-Sinai. Papa is CAA’s Glenn B., mom is actress Georgia B. …”Martin” co-star Tisha Campbell and “Down Periscope’s” Duane Martin will wed Aug. 17. The wedding will be “an intimate and elegant event,” says Tisha.