SMOKE SCREEN

Byline:

Hardly a week seems to go by without some dinner honoring Steven Spielberg. The latest, the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award dinner in Los Angeles, brought out a crowd with more glitter than usual.
Jack Nicholson, Lew and Edie Wasserman, Warren Beatty, Jack and Felicia Lemmon, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Clint Eastwood and Sid and Lorraine Sheinberg were among those who gathered in the Beverly Hilton Grand Ballroom for the event.
“I’m a cinemaniac,” Spielberg — who, at 47, is the youngest person ever to receive the AFI honor — told the crowd. “I’m scared to death of the dark, except in a motion picture theater.”
“I want to meet Jim Carrey,” said the director’s wife, actress Kate Capshaw, all curves in white satin Richard Tyler. She did and seemed duly impressed.
Meanwhile, the usual level of California health-consciousness meant a smoke-free ballroom. The result, of course, was a ladies’ room that was mobbed with nervous nicotinos and thick with smoke.
“I’m going through a divorce and I thought it was better than mainlining heroin,” said producer Suzanne de Passe, snapping open her Judith Leiber purse to extract a cigarette.
Back in the ballroom, Ellen Barkin thumbed her nose at political correctness, lighting up and sending plumes of smoke skyward.
After dinner, Nicholson and Beatty debated whether to attend a liquor company’s reception for Spielberg in the hotel’s Versailles Room.
“Is it yes or is it no?” asked Nicholson.
“We pay our respects for one second,” said Beatty firmly. “Then we go.”

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