Byline: Aileen Mehle

Vanessa Redgrave, opening Nov. 21 at the Union Square Theatre in "Vita and Virginia," was puffing away on a cigarette at the Russian Tea Room when she noticed Leroy Neiman sketching her from an opposite booth. So when he was finished, she asked him why me? "The way you held your cigarette, your entire wrist exposed," said the gallant Neiman. "To an artist these are signs of vulnerability and emotion." One shudders to think what secrets would have been revealed if she'd rolled her sleeves up over her elbows.
"Vita and Virginia," the two-character play about the real-life love affair between Vita Sackville-West (Vanessa) and Virginia Woolf (Eileen Atkins) is directed by Zoe Caldwell, a wonderful actress who could have played either part magnificently herself.
As for Neiman, he has been commissioned privately to paint Luciano Pavarotti in two of his great roles: "Tosca" and "Pagliacci." All that one has to do is open his mouth and you can see his emotion and vulnerability all the way down to his, well, you know.

It was sort of tit for tat at the hugely successful Carousel of Hope party at the Beverly Hilton, run incomparably by Barbara (Mrs. Marvin) Davis to raise millions for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. The royals on hand, Princess Margaret's son Viscount Linley and his wife, Serena (in a Hervé Leger) and the Duchess of York (Fergie in a Rochas), were knocked out by the big movie stars who sashayed around in their theatrical raiment and big jewels, and the big movie stars were impressed by the royals, especially the Linleys. Barbra Streisand wasn't a bit impressed that California Governor Pete Wilson was invited and didn't try to keep it a secret from Marvin Davis, who tried to make it clear to the politically incorrect singer that Pete is after all the governor of the state and it isn't the done thing to show him the door.
Liza Minnelli looked bouncy and blithe though the chances are she may have to have a hip replacement soon. Nancy Davis, Barbara and Marvin's daughter, was a standout in her white satin and black lace Vera Wang, and the ever-adorable Cari Modine looked ever-adorable in her flouncy Isaac Mizrahi frock. (Husband Matthew is off in Malta making a movie.) Blaine Trump was a standout in red as she chatted with the famous Placido Domingo, who chatted right back. One of the best-looking women in the Beverly Hilton ballroom was Marianne Rogers, whose divorce from country music star Kenny Rogers has been final for about five minutes. She still thinks they'll get together again, but then there's that cute little waitress Kenny's been traveling with, isn't there? Everyone thought the John Travoltas made such an attractive couple, especially now that Travolta has lost most of the weight he put on for his hit role in "Pulp Fiction" and unloaded the three layers of hair extensions that gave him that greasy, grungy look we all love to hate.

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