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City of Angles

Still the Charmer in Chief

April 03, 2001|ANN O'NEILL

Elbowing A-listers and Secret Service agents aside at a Beverly Hills charity bash Sunday night, we finally got close enough to former President Bill Clinton to check out those rumors that he's scouting Westside real estate. Our table mate, Raiders quarterback Rodney Peete, a Clinton pal from his days with the Washington Redskins, provided expert blocking. We were in.

"What's your name?" Clinton asked, and we experienced firsthand the man's flirty charisma. Focus, girl. Ah yes, the question: Regarding those rumors you're setting up digs in the Palisades, Mr. President? "I wish it were true," he responded. "Maybe someday." Clinton pointed out that right now he's tied up with payments for two houses and another semester at Stanford for Chelsea.

Even in a room full of celebrities, Clinton was the It Guy at the second annual "A Family Celebration" benefit at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, where luminaries carted away honors for their good deeds. Clinton collected an Award of Merit from Elizabeth Taylor and was swarmed by people who usually are too cool to swarm. The evening's highlight: a jam session with Clinton on sax and blues legend B.B. King on guitar.

"Can you see Bush doing that?" Peete asked his stunning actress wife, Holly Robinson Peete. Hollywood Square Whoopi Goldberg gave Clinton a bear hug and said, "There are very few men who can get me out of my house on a Sunday night. I miss you." Taylor also cooed over Clinton. "He's wonderful, isn't he?"

Clinton shared a table with Taylor, prolific television producer David E. Kelley, and Kelley's wife, actress Michelle Pfeiffer, co-chairs of the benefit. Meanwhile, at the next table, Larry King and wife Shawn Southwick-King dined with former President Gerald Ford and his first lady, Betty. King later awarded the Fords. Other honorees included Sylvester Stallone, the cast of "Ally McBeal," Bob Newhart and the boy band 'N Sync. The event raised nearly $1.5 million, and featured performances by 'N Sync, Marc Anthony, Dwight Yoakam and Ray Charles. Nearly $1.5 million was raised for a smorgasbord of charities chosen by the honorees.

Tad Gets a Nod

Tad Daley, one of a dozen Democratic candidates for the late Julian Dixon's 32nd District Congressional seat, is claiming endorsements from three actors who have played American presidents. Jeff Bridges ("The Contender"), Martin Sheen ("The West Wing") and Michael Douglas ("An American President") are backing Daley, who is married to Kitty Felde, a host of "Talk of the City" on KPCC-FM (89.3) in Pasadena.

Bridges backs the candidate at the suggestion of his mother, Dorothy. Sheen threw in his support after meeting Daley on the steps of a Santa Monica Catholic church where both have been parishioners for years. Douglas, who met Daley through the late U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston, was won over by his stance against nuclear weapons.

Daley, 44, is a former international policy analyst for Rand Corp. and was Cranston's deputy. He hopes the endorsements will raise his profile in a tight race that includes former state Sen. Diane Watson, (D-Los Angeles), Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden and state Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Baldwin Hills.)

John Waters Confesses

Offbeat Baltimore filmmaker John Waters finally got to meet two of his favorite famous women, Pamela Anderson and Bjork, on Oscars night. Waters said he's fascinated by Anderson because she's "the white Lil' Kim." Bjork, he said, is "a fashion terrorist." Perhaps they'll get to follow in the footsteps of previous Waters pets.

Publishing heiress Patricia Hearst, who has appeared in three of Waters' films, was with him as he hosted the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica recently. "I'm secretly jealous because she's the only person that can be on the social page, the crime page and the movie page all in one day," said Waters, who also remains close to "Hairspray" star-turned-talk-show-host Ricki Lake. "Hairspray" debuts on Broadway later this year. Maybe Bjork and her swan dress are available.

The Good Life

Barbara Fairchild, editor in chief of L.A.-based monthly food bible Bon Appetit, celebrated her 50th birthday in style with a week of wining and dining in Paris. Thirty friends and relatives from New York and Los Angeles gathered at the Four Seasons George V Hotel, and our esteemed colleague, Al Martinez, was lucky enough to join them. "Two big bistro parties, quiet drinks and a soft snowfall over the city of light. It was lovely," Martinez reports. (Look for the magazine's special Paris issue in May.)

Fairchild also celebrated at two of her favorite L.A. restaurants, La Cachette and Cafe des Artistes, joined by foodie goddess Julia Child. "I call these events Birthdayfest 2001," said Fairchild, who actually wanted a yearlong party. "If you have to turn 50, this is a great way to do it."

Sound Bite

"I don't think about Oscars. That's a real mystery to me. My job's done, you know? It's none of my business anymore."

Never-been-nominated Johnny Depp at the premiere of his latest, "Blow." Depp brought shock rocker Marilyn Manson as his date.

*

Times staff writers Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column. City of Angles appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

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