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Sinatra kids absent from Vegas gala

GOOD MORNING: In case you wondered, as I did, howcum Frank Sinatra’s children were not at the Las Vegas celebrity weekend and gala (a fundraiser for the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center in Rancho Mirage), here’s the answer I received from Tina: “We weren’t invited, but had I been, I would have gladly gone.” Meanwhile, Tina says that his children “are re-creating the Frank Sinatra Foundation to renew contributions to the charities he supported” during his lifetime. She further clarifies matters (printed elsewhere) of his will saying, “the legacy is ours — the music and records — and marketing of his likeness.” While the Sinatra offspring were not in Vegas last weekend, she adds, “There will be some nice dedications to him up there in the future.” … Meanwhile, the media frenzy for photos of Sinatra is unending. F’rinstance, photog Phil Stern has to date earned over half a million-$ for reproduction rights to pix he took of Frank Sinatra dating back to the early ’50s. Vanity Fair had paid him an advance “holding fee” for Sinatra pix, which will now be published in the July issue. They include shots taken by Stern during a 10-day stand from an office window on the then-Goldwyn lot as Sinatra and others made their way across the street to the Formosa Cafe. … More L.A. street scenes: Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, newcomers to the Hancock Park area, knocked on the door of controversial resident/musician Norwood Young — who has 18 David statues on the front of his property. The ladies were not there as art students, but to return Young’s pet poodle they found roaming the neighborhood. Young is about to release a single, “Stand Up for Something.”

WAS I IN THE WRONG PLACE? For a moment I thought I was at the Friars, but it was the BevHills Museum of TV & Radio, where Milton Berle was being honored on the 50th anni of his “Texaco Star Theater.” Museum director/VP Steve Bell opened the evening in the SRO’d John Mitchell Theater with a 20-minute screening of an early Berle show guestarring the then-young (and smashing!) Frank Sinatra. Steve Allen took over m.c. duties; he recalled Berle (then 16) babysat him during a vodvil show when Allen’s mother, Belle Montrose (also on the bill), took off for the neighborhood bar with a magician. Among those toasting/roasting Milton were longtime friends Art Linkletter and Norm Crosby, who toured with Berle. Rich Little admitted Berle was the only one he could never imitate, nor could anyone. Buddy Hackett, in a serious moment, noted, “If it hadn’t been for you, Milton, there would be no reason for this building” (the museum). Larry Gelbart asked, “Why is it we only think of the John Waynes as the best and real representatives of this country? Why is it that the West is supposed to say ‘America’ to people? To me, Milton Berle, with his Eastern cheekiness, his resourcefulness and his courage — all right, his chutzpah — is as American as stage Mom and apple pie.” … Red Buttons segued from comedy to thank Berle for having parodied “Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long.” Said Buttons, “It gave me a career.” … Milton, who will be 90 July 12, was as sharp as ever. He opened with, “This honor tonight is without a doubt — (long pause) — the most recent!” He thanked all, including his writer of 52 years, Buddy Arnold, and gave an emotional thank-you to his wife of eight years, Lorna. He closed with his parody of “That’s Entertainment”: “Those years, how quickly they flew/Ev’ry one, so refreshingly new/And though I’ve spent over 80 with you/I’d give 80 more/As long as it’s for your entertainment.” Berle receives a lifetime achievement award on “Comic Relief’s” RCMH June 14 show starring Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. On his real 90th birthday, July 12, Berle will be toasted at the BevHills Hotel. And on Oct. 5 he’ll again be honored, this time at the Plaza in New York at Denise Rich’s gala benefiting the G&P Foundation.

MARLON BRANDO AND SEAN PENN were cooking up a pic project while dining at AGO. Garry Shandling joined ’em at the eatery, whose owners include Robert De Niro, Harvey & Bob Weinstein, Tony & Ridley Scott, Meir Tepper and Chris Walken with chef Agostino Sciandri. … Robert Evans is out of the hospital and recuping at home. … “It was the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my life,” admits Billy Friedkin, home from Florence, where he directed his first opera, Alban Berg’s “Wosseck,” with Zubin Mehta conducting in the Teatro Communale — to rave reviews and standing ovations. … It’s no longer a mystery: the ratings, including all demographics, proved CBS was right in taking “Unsolved Mysteries” from NBC. … O.J. Simpson is off the links at Riviera, but there’ll be smiles there as Arnold Schwarzenegger is now applying for membership.

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