Back lit by fireworks and suspended by pulleys and cables, Larry King reminded us of a flying Elvis as he dangled over the stage in a glittery costume at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Monday night. The stunt opened a star-studded benefit for the Larry King Cardiac Foundation that included musical numbers by Kenny Loggins and Natalie Cole, as well as tributes to Viacom czar Sumner Redstone and producer George Schlatter.
"It's good to be the King," the talk-show host announced to the assembled show business royalty. King launched the foundation in 1988--a year after his quintuple bypass--to provide state-of-the-art cardiac care for the financially challenged.
The event was a real schmooze fest. We grabbed face time with Gary Busey, Goldie Hawn and Aaron Spelling. Busey said he was not disturbed by reports that he was among the celebrities to appear on the radar of Robert Blake's slain wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. Busey said he never met Bakley. Such is the price of fame, he said. "It comes with the dinner."
Hawn looked and smelled fabulous in a sky-blue sequined gown and a spicy, hippie-chick scent. Ah, but this is one upscale hippie chick: "You can get it at Neiman-Marcus," she said of her Vicky Tiel perfume.
Spelling told us he's puzzled by the lawsuit filed recently by a security guard who claims he stumbled into a hole on the grounds of Spelling's Holmby Hills estate. "If I had a hole on my property," said Spelling, "I think I would have noticed."
The guest list included Gloria Allred; Wes Craven; Dom DeLuise; Jackie Collins; Marvin, Barbara and Nancy Davis; Pam Dawber; Bob Evans and Christine Peters; Larry Flynt; Berry Gordy; Suzan Hughes; Sherry Lansing; Richard Lewis; Les Moonves; Judge Judy Sheindlin; Robert Shapiro; Dick Van Patten; Charlene Tilton; Michael Viner and Deborah Raffin.
Celebrity eyebrow artist Anastasia was pounced on by Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw at a recent Dolce & Gabbana party. The power couple coveted her "Star Plucker" T-shirt. "I'm a Star Plucker too!" Spielberg said. "That is fantastic. Where did you get it? I need one of those T-shirts!"
And so, Anastasia is having a silver-studded "Star Plucker" T-shirt and baseball cap custom-made for Spielberg and a "Wife of Star Plucker" shirt for Capshaw.
Shop Talk on the Red Carpet
It's no secret that John Travolta loves his chow. But every once in a while the actor has to lose the love handles for a role. "You can't play a fat spy," Travolta said Monday night at the premiere of his hacker-spy-explosion film "Swordfish," which opens Friday. To slim down, Travolta took boxing and yoga classes, and cut his meals in half. "It was hard. You need distractions," he said. "I'll distract you," spouse Kelly Preston cooed.
Halle Berry, who bares her breasts in the film, also seemed body-conscious on the red carpet. Hard to believe, but even Berry, a perfect size 1, has been reluctant to flaunt her flesh on film.
"I was insecure about it," she said. I think I've matured and I've realized it has been limiting me in the parts that I may want to play.
As I'm getting older, I can't keep playing kids. I have to become a woman."
She credits husband Eric Benet with boosting her confidence.
Actor Tom Cruise is determined to snuff out those rumors. On Monday he filed yet another $100-million lawsuit against someone he says is spreading false stories about his sex life. This time, the defendant is Michael Davis of Los Angeles, whom Cruise accuses of sending e-mail to at least a dozen news organizations offering to sell a gay videotape of the actor.
The defamation suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Cruise's longtime attorney, Bert Fields, charges that Davis sent the "unequivocably false" e-mail on May 29. "No such videotape exists or has ever existed or could ever exist," the suit states, adding that the e-mail was a publicity stunt "calculated to cause [Cruise] harm both personally and professionally."
Last month, Cruise filed a $100-million defamation suit against an "erotic wrestler" who allegedly told a French magazine that his affair with Cruise broke up the actor's marriage to "Moulin Rouge" star Nicole Kidman. Cruise denies knowing the grappler, Kyle Bradford, whose real name is Chad Slater. Bradford denied participating in the report and vowed to help Cruise find the person responsible for planting the false story.
City of Angles runs Tuesday-Friday. Louise Roug and Gina Piccalo contributed to this column. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.