I think George Clooney was more surprised than any of the big stars and Oscar nominees who showed up at the Chateau Marmont last night that this was “George’s party.”
“I told them I’d stop by,” Clooney told me. “I can’t even stay. I have to go to the Warner Bros. party.” But he did stay, and made some remarks about Bono’s One Campaign charity and the plight of children in Africa because, I do think, Bobby Shriver (Maria’s brother) shamed him into it with a warm introduction. But you know, George is a mensch, and after a performance in the Chateau’s rectangular main floor living room by the African Children’s Choir — a group of beautiful, smiley orphans from Uganda and Kenya — Clooney didn’t have trouble endorsing the worthy charity.
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“This isn’t about liberal or conservative,” he said. “I did the 700 Club with Pat Robertson and you can imagine how much fun that was for me.” He reminded the gathered group that Africa goes out of people’s minds quickly. “The next story is about Anna Nicole Smith going to court.” He also made a joke about Paul Wolfowitz, calling him the ‘King of Rock.’
Clooney was preaching to the choir, and not the African Childrens edition. (They were amazing, and you can read all about them on their Web site at www.africanchildrenschoir.com).
Amazingly, with competing parties at the homes of CAA gent Bryan Lourd and ICM’s Ed Limato, Clooney proved to be the hot draw of the night. True, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony were all seen under Limato’s backyard catering tent behind the mansion that all those Lethal Weapon movies bought. (Ed is Mel Gibson’s agent, you know.)
But George, and the idea of Bono, brought in a staggering list: Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener with pal Spike Jonze, Keener’s husband Dermot Mulroney (they’re not divorced but in a ‘transitional’ phase), Dame Judi Dench, Winona Ryder, Meg Ryan accompanied by Robin Ruzan — now the former Mrs. Mike Myers — Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, Russell Simmons, Robert Duvall, Ellen DeGeneres — who did not run into former love Anne Heche with hubby Coley Lafoon — Kerry Washington, James LeGros, Murderball director Henry Alex Rubin and his star Mark Stupak — the latter, wheelchair bound, got a shoulder massage from Terrence Howard — Kirsten Dunst, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Keira Knightley, Dennis Hopper, Adrien Brody — who brought his Chihuahua named Cee-Lo, and ta-da — looking elegant and acting charming, Miss Lindsay Lohan.
Did I miss anyone? Undoubtedly. There were a couple of Olympians, too. So sure, Limato also had Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Billy Crystal, Jon Lovitz, Diana Ross, Shirley Maclaine, Samuel L. Jackson and LaTonya Richardson, Steve Martin with Kristen Davis, Penny Marshall and Garry Marshall, Oprah best pal Gayle King, Ron Burkle, Steve Bing, and all four Hiltons —Paris, Nicky, the parents, and Paris’s boytoy Stavros Niarchos III. But you call that a party?
And of course, our favorite people of a long night that also featured dull corporate parties given by Warner Bros. and Universal, another one for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s sponsors of his nursing home fundraiser — yes, our favorite people were Philip Seymour Hoffman, his significant other Mimi, Catherine Keener and Spike Jonze who parked their rented car in the Chateau Marmont’s $18 valet lot with everyone else, then retrieved it, like everyone else, and drove off into the night, happy foursome. No whining, no assistants text messaging limo drivers, nothing. Whew!