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HOLLYWOOD — Fans and friends alike were thrown off Wednesday at the premiere of “Dinner With Friends” as Mel Gibson surprised more than a few onlookers with a new coif: He’s gone bald.

“Nobody recognized him,” was one latenight reveler’s exclamation about the star of summer hit “The Patriot.”

After an evening spent inside the Geffen Playhouse observing the troubles of a couple in Connecticut, it was all laughs and hugs Hollywood-style at the onsite party. Cast members Dana Delany, Kevin Kilner, Daniel Stern and Rita Wilson and playwright Donald Margulies were joined by an impressive array of actors in the Westwood theater’s lobby and courtyard.

In attendance were Tom Hanks, Christian Slater, Dennis Miller, Camryn Manheim, Karl Malden, Teri Garr, Samantha Mathis, Laurie Metcalf, Jacqueline Bisset, Kelly Preston, Glenne Headly and Robert Forster. Also attending were Geffen producing director Gilbert Cates, Quincy Jones, Bob Daly of the L.A. Dodgers, Terry Semel, Glenn Frey, Arthur Hiller, Victoria Tennant, Carole Bayer Sager, Lawrence Kasdan, Walter Parkes and U’s Ron Meyer.