April 8, 2002

Photo: Associated Press/Wide World

Harry Winston Is a Girl’s Best Friend
Halle Berry doesn’t drink, but she needed a bottle of champagne to get through the Oscars. About two hours before the awards show began, the Harry Winston salon in Beverly Hills got a panicked call from Berry’s handlers: An orange diamond ring worth $3.5 million that it had sent her was too big. Winston rep Dawn Moore was at the starlet’s side within 30 minutes. When they couldn’t find usual quick fixes like string and tape to tighten the ring, Moore spotted an unopened bottle of Veuve Clicquot in one of Berry’s many gift baskets, undid the foil, and wrapped a piece of it – silver side out – around the platinum ring. “You can bet we wanted to make sure it didn’t fall off,” Moore told us. “It fit her perfectly and off she went.” This wasn’t Winston’s only close call. Oscar host Whoopi Goldberg was wearing a $6 million 80-carat yellow diamond on a necklace during one of her appearances onstage (it had originally been sent for Jennifer Lopez, but J.Lo decided to go with pink diamonds instead). But backstage, Goldberg noticed that the bauble was gone. After a frantic search on the floor, a Winston security man informed her that it was in her dress. When Goldberg doubted him, he threatened to look for it himself. Goldberg took a second look and found the diamond in her cleavage.

Nicole Kidman’s Panic Doesn’t Last Long
You’d think anyone who snagged Nicole Kidman for his movie would be bragging about it. Not so when it comes to Panic Room, the new thriller starring Jodie Foster, Dwight Yoakam, Forest Whitaker, and Jared Leto. We’ve learned that Kidman has a small role in the flick, but unless you’re listening carefully, you’re liable to miss it. When Foster’s character, Meg Altman, makes a phone call to her ex-husband and his new girlfriend answers the phone, it’s actually Kidman’s voice on the line. Kidman’s uncredited fifteen-second appearance is an inside joke between her and director David Fincher. Kidman was originally cast to play Altman, but dropped out of the film about three weeks after filming began last year because of knee injuries she sustained during the making of Moulin Rouge.

Sarah Jessica Parker Stays Hungry
Sarah Jessica Parker seems to have it all. A hit TV show, Matthew Broderick as a husband, and a body other women can only dream of. And now comes word that Parker doesn’t even have to watch what she eats. Last week, former VH1 V.J. Robin Dorian gave us a sneak peek at her new Food Network show, After Midnight NYC, in which she chats up Parker and the caterer of Sex and the City, Rich Alfieri. “She’s all over the buffet,” Alfieri reports. Parker is more forthcoming: “I eat fish and steak and pork chops and ham and eggs and macaroni and cheese and chicken soup,” Parker says. She prefers Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to co-star Kim Cattrall’s all-organic diet. “Kristin Davis is more conscientious about her intake, but Cynthia Nixon and I will eat anything.”

Pedicurist Puts Foot in Mouth
Don’t ever mistake Tori Spelling for a daddy’s girl. The former 90210 star turned up at the Ted Inc. suite at the L’Ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills, where an orgy of free pampering and goodies had been set up for VIPs during Oscar week. “She was being so nice to everyone,” says our source, who was there along with Heidi Klum and Irina Pantaeva. But Spelling wasn’t so appreciative of her overly chatty pedicurist. When Spelling mentioned that this was the first time she had been invited to such a suite, the pedicurist suggested that she ask her dad – Hollywood mogul Aaron Spelling – to gain her access in the future. “Why would I ask my father?” she snapped. “I don’t live with him. And I don’t go somewhere if I haven’t been invited.”

Roberta Flack: She’s An Uptown Girl
We hear that seventies songstress Roberta Flack is vacating her apartment in the Dakota. Flack – famous for “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” and “The Closer I Get to You” – just closed a deal on twin 3,800-square-foot brownstones in Bill Clinton’s ‘hood on 126th Street for $800,000. “She wanted something bigger, and she said she couldn’t deal with the co-op lifestyle anymore,” a source close to the deal explained. “The final straw happened when the board started blaming her for a leak that wasn’t her fault.” The four-story townhouses require massive renovations, but after the walls are torn down, Flack will have a 36-foot-wide living room to show off her two grand pianos.

Hamptons update: A source tells us that Manhattan real-estate titan Sheldon Solow – Fortune magazine recently estimated his worth at $850 million – is in final talks to buy the Further Lane estate of the late Dudley Roberts for $18 million. The sprawling fifties pink teardown cottage is set on eight acres of prime East Hampton beachfront property just a few doors down from Jerry Seinfeld and Jann Wenner. Also, Joe Gurrera tells us he will open the East Hampton outpost of Citarella in May in the space currently occupied by Plaza Surf and Sports and Windmill Deli on Pantigo Road.

With Catherine Townsend and Aric Chen.

April 8, 2002