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Sacha Baron Cohen ready to ‘Party’

Father-to-be wants to remake 1968 cult comedy

SACHA BARON COHEN and Isla Fisher are likely new parents as we speak. So, congratulations! But the other bit story is that Sacha is hot to remake the Blake Edwards/Peter Sellars cult comedy of 1968, “The Party.” The plot seems perfect for Cohen. A bumbling Indian extra named Hrundri V. Bakshi, attends an over-the-top Hollywood bash and totally disrupts everything. Producer-director Edwards and Cohen recently met at a screening of “The Party” in Santa Monica. They talked a long time.

BILL CLINTON was in the Book People store in Austin pushing “Giving.” He decided he’d buy something for Hillary and Chelsea, Charlotte Chandler’s Ingrid Bergman biography and the fresh paperback of her classic Groucho Marx bio “Hello, I Must Be Going.” This re-issue celebrates Groucho’s 117th birthday — which is today. Not long before Groucho died in 1977, I was invited to meet him at the home of Burt Reynolds. Burt worshipped Groucho. The two friends climbed into a big double bed together and made fun of one another, cracking jokes while the cameras rolled. I wonder whatever happened to that film; it was priceless.

HERE’S WHAT the veteran Tom Brokaw told AARP when asked: “Do you think the high expectations for Katie Couric as anchor at CBS were unfair to her?” Tom: “No, I don’t. Katie went there with her eyes wide open. It’s a very competitive business, and they made a big investment in her and in the concept they wanted to put in place. And it has not achieved the results that she or CBS would like to have. But that’s the nature of the business. There are no free passes in television news.” … Marlo Thomas has just returned to NYC from filming an episode of “Ugly Betty” in L.A. Marlo says it’s “hilarious.” She was also at the Toronto Film Festival with husband Phil Donahue for the premiere of his new documentary “Body of War.” Phil co-directed this and audiences gave it a standing ovation.

TONIGHT AT 6, Chita Rivera will read a proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. re-naming West 47th Street “Forbidden Broadway.” The show of the same name is still going strong, killing people with laughter as it sends up the immortals of each theater season … Fund-raiser for the Walden Woods Project finds Billy Joel performing in the Allen Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center on Thursday with Don Henley joining. Tom Freston, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Altman, Andrew Lack and Sony are big backers. Call 781-259-4740. Christie’s is auctioning off a Walden Woods Steinway with a $500,000 reserve price. Would that please Henry David Thoreau? Never mind. … … Entertainment lawyers Kevin Yorn, Paul Nadel and Kevin Morris of Barnes Morris are putting together the “Bridge” conference Nov. 14 conference in their West L.A. headquarters. They hope to create a “bridge” between storytellers (actors, writers, directors, comedians, musicians) and put the creative ones in touch with decision makers in the worlds of old and new media.

RITA WILSON has created a short film for Glamour magazine, based on a reader’s submitted story, that can be seen online Oct. 15. Called “The Trap,” Rita’s star is Jeanne Tripplehorn. Log in at glamourreelmoments.com. Rita will warble an original Diane Warren composition, “Lessons Learned,” over the credits of “The Trap.” Wilson also writes nifty pieces for Harper’s Bazaar — her last was called “A size 8 in a size 0 World.” … Judy Kuhn, who created the role of Cossette in “Les Miserables” on Broadway 20 years ago, will return to the show next month, playing Cossette’s mother, Fantine. Kuhn is also appearing at Joe’s Pub beginning tonight, singing numbers from her new CD, “Serious Playground,” a tribute to Laura Nyro. Call 212-967-7555.