GOOD MORNING: Whoopi Goldberg and Frank Langella, one of showbiz’s most low-key couples, have quietly and amicably ended their five-year relationship. They intend to remain good and close friends and say they have every intention of working together as well. They met in 1994 on the feature “Eddie” … Fred Astaire will receive a special honor from the Professional Dancers Society at their Gypsy Awards March 12 at the BevHilton. Robyn (Mrs. Fred) Astaire has just OK’d the showing of a 4.5-minute video of his dancing genius. And Robyn will be on hand. PDS chairman Joni Berry had written to Robyn explaining, “We had always regretted that we were not able to honor Fred (before he passed away). We would like to take care of that this year.” Robyn had made a contribution last year in support of PDS’ charitable work. Berry told Robyn, “All our funds go to the Actors Fund of America. Our event is not televised. This tribute is just from the heart and a surprise to all. The honor to Mr. Astaire was not on our invitation nor in any of our publicity, so we have not even used it to sell tickets.” Cyd Charisse is to present the Astaire film clips (all before 1960) and will present Fred’s award to Robyn. The recipients of this year’s awards are Buddy Ebsen (92) and Marge Champion (77) with Carol Channing making the presentation to Champion, and Dick Van Dyke to Ebsen.
IT’S A FIRST for the Flanders Film Festival: Hans Zimmer will perform in concert Oct. 10, opening night of the fest in Ghent’s Kuipken Concert Hall (3,000 seats). The 27th annual fest will follow on Oct. 11, with a tribute to Lili Fini and Richard Zanuck. Fest general manager Jacques DuBrulle and wife Wivine, plus guest officer Marian Ponnet, hosted Hollywood friends Monday night at Le Dome, where Eddie Kerkhofs presented a gourmet Flemish menu — Eddie’s from Belgium. The fest, which honors music in films, will also this year pay tribute to police in movies/TV. One of Belgium’s most popular TV shows stars two policewomen; among Americans in that genre to be honored is “Police Woman” star Angie Dickinson, who was on hand Monday. And to be invited: Gene Hackman, Billy Friedkin, Sharon Gless and the original “Charlie’s Angels.” Guests at the Flanders Fest toasting at Le Dome included Kevin Brodie, director of “Dog of Flanders,” and Richard Gladstein, producer of Oscar-nominated “The Cider House Rules,” who reteams with scripter John Irving (also nominated) on the latter’s “Son of the Circus,” which Irving first wrote in script form, then novelized. A surprise musical moment was supplied by last year’s jury members M/M Jay Cooper, Robert and Kate Forster and Amanda Plummer, singing their lyrics to the Flanders Film Fest’s theme … The always glamorous Angie Dickinson today dyes her hair gray, darkens her teeth and heads to Las Vegas to play the homeless mother of Helen Hunt and grandmother of Haley Joel Osment in “Pay It Forward,” with Mimi Leder directing. Angie admits she tested twice to prove she could convince in the offbeat role … Same night at Le Dome: Jackie and Patrick Terrail, visiting from Atlanta. And Winona and Naomi Judd readying their Friday stand at the Pond … Add musical note: Ray Charles will sing “Nature Boy” as Nat King Cole is inducted posthumously into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf March 6. Ray started his career impersonating Cole … And Patti Page will be guest soloist March 5 at Constitution Hall in a free concert with the U.S. Air Force Band.
NO, HE WASN’T LOCATION-HUNTING, but Rob Reiner has been traveling to all 58 California counties, from San Francisco and Sacramento, San Jose, down to Riverside and San Diego — all in his capacity of chairman of the California Children & Families State Commission, to encourage defeat of Proposition 28 on the upcoming California ballot. The measure, supported by tobacco companies, would repeal Prop. 10, the 50¢ tobacco tax passed by California voters just last year. It brings in $700 million a year in programs such as health care for children, preschool education, smoking prevention aimed at pregnant women and parents of young children, helping children with families with drug and alcohol problems, etc. Reiner is supported in opposing Proposition 28 by groups ranging from the American Assn. of Retired Persons, the American Cancer Society and Heart Assn., Cal. Medical and Nurses Associations, Para Los Ninos Child Development Center and Wu Yee Children’s Services. Reiner was appointed to his two-year post by Gov. Gray Davis; allocations are being made regularly from the tax money garnered from Prop. 10 ciggie sales. Reiner will additionally be involved in fund-raising for Al Gore for president. While he enjoys his involvement in politics, Rob laughingly tells me, “I’d like to get back in showbiz!” … Seguing from showbiz: George Lucas, Christian Slater, Ashley Judd, Josh Brolin are among celebs in the 24th annual Toyota ProCelebrity Long Beach Race, April 15 … SAG prez William Daniels and SAG Foundation chief Mitch Ryan co-host the March 8 Hollywood Entertainment Museum’s Guild exhibit heralding the achievements of the actors’ union. It’s a prelude to the sixth annual SAG Awards, March 12 on TNT … Hugh Hefner’s celebrating the 40th anni of the bow of the first Playboy Club in Chi. March 20 ABC airs “A Tale of Two Bunnies.”