Showbiz guests get lengthy visit with Clintons

GOOD MORNING: Barbra Streisand was among the few locked in with President Clinton, Hillary and Chelsea in the Staples’ VIP Room when unrest broke outside following Monday night’s convention opening session. (Barbra had been a guest in the president’s box). The Secret Service wanted to delay the president’s departure until it was deemed safe. Others getting a chance to schmooze lengthily with the Clintons were Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jimmy Smits, Rob Reiner, convention producer Gary Smith and Marty Erlichman. (Jim Brolin is in Calgary starring in CBS’ “Hard Rain”). The auspicious Clinton evening also gave Barbra a chance to check the center where she will be performing Sept. 20-21. (She had seen it once before — at a Laker game with Brolin). Erlichman, of course, had examined it carefully previously — including the concert by Cher. The arena will, of course, have a different look when Barbra performs — with a 65-piece orch before 12,500 — with her stage at the far end of the hall. Thursday, she will be accompanied by a much smaller orch for her three song-stint at the Shrine fundraiser for Al Gore … There was unexpected drama just before Hillary Clinton went on stage. Producer Smith got a phone call informing him his wife Maxine had been in an auto accident. Her car went out of control on Coldwater Canyon and she was rushed to Century City Emergency. Luckily she is OK — but wearing a neck brace as she attended Tuesday night’s session … President Clinton’s dramatic, lengthy approach to the podium via the vast passageways of Staples was staged by his longtime friend Harry Thomason. And Harry gave credit to his wife Linda Bloodworth-Thomason for the powerful film history of Clinton. Linda had also prepared the filmed history of Hillary for her announcement to run for the Senate.

NOW THAT I HAVE ONE (OSCAR), I don’t have to borrow Kevin Spacey’s anymore,” laughed Clinton after receiving the “Best Performance” award from Gov. Gray Davis at the Par party Monday night. Clinton was referring to the hilarious filmed seg by “Everybody Loves Raymond’s” Phil Rosenthal shown at the White House Correspondents Assn. annual dinner earlier this year. As I reported, Spacey not only agreed to appear in the seg, but donned tuxedo, and schlepped his Oscar from L.A. with which the prez posed in front of a mirror and declared, “Ever since I was a little boy I always wanted to be a real actor!” Earlier Monday, Clinton recognized Rosenthal at the St. Regis hotel and shouted — “There’s the man who made me famous!” At the Par party, showbiz celebs paying tribute to Clinton: Kevin Pollak, Alfre Woodard, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Bolton, Gary Busey. And spotted at the Chaya Brasserie booth: David Hyde Pierce, Edward Herrman, Noah Wyle, Tess Parker, Valerie Harper, Martha Plimpton. The president spent time chatting with the celebs backstage before leaving the party after midnight. Joachim and Christine Splichal, who have recently dramatically changed their Patina Melrose Ave. eatery, have also been busy catering many of the Demo events like the Pacific Capital Group and Wells Fargo Bank bashes … And Arli, formerly of Chasen’s, pleased the gourmet tastes of the senators (and 500 others) at the Lew Wassermans’ party … Tuesday, David Geffen lunched 40 senators and their spouses at his home. They included the Joseph Liebermans, Joseph Bidens, Tom Daschles, Edward Kennedys, Dianne Feinstein, Robert Kerrey, Charles Robbs, John Rockefellers. And from Hollywood: DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn, Andy Spahn, Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye-Smith, Michael Douglas, Norman Lear, Richard Lovett, Haim and Cheryl Saban, Jim Wiatt and Jonathan Dolgen were also there. Steven Spielberg had just returned home from vacation with his family.

JOHN PODESTA, PRESIDENT CLINTON’S CHIEF of staff, hosted “The West Wing” President Bartlett’s chief of staff, John Spenser, at Monday night’s convention. Spenser segued from shooting on the White House set at WB in time to join Podesta in his private box at the Staples Center and to sit in the company of Jesse Jackson, Joseph Biden — and Cher … Mary Wilson was at Tuesday night convention session as guest of Al Gore, then performs for the DNC today at the House of Blues. She next heads to N.Y. to perform at B.B. King’s Blues Club Aug. 19 and then returns to L.A. to perform at the Sunset Junction street fest Aug. 27 … Mixed politix: in the middle of the Demo doings, John McLaughlin and his wife Cristina were welcomed to town by Barbara and Warren Cowan at Trader Vic’s in (Republican) Merv Griffin’s BevHilton. But Merv swears most of his friends are Democrats, “because Democrats are more fun.” Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and Ted Kennedy are staying at his hotel — as did JFK many times (before Merv owned it). And Rose Kennedy guested on Merv’s show twice! … Also there, Democrat Shirley MacLaine, who once dated McLaughlin. She was escorted by Australia’s Andrew Peacock. Steve Allen, Milton Berle and Red Buttons “roasted” McLaughlin … Macon, Ga. Mayor C. Jack Ellis and newly formed Macon Film & Music Commission, Georgia Film and Video Office toppers, all here for the convention, hosted a party at the home of Norm Nixon (Macon native) and Debbie Allen with Little Richard, Michael MaGuire, Loretta Devine and Disney’s Bonnie Arnold and producer Stratton Leopold among the showbiz welcomers.

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