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Celebs 'Heart' Rosie O'Donnell at Manhattan luncheon

Liz Smith

"When a just cause reaches its flood tide ... whatever stands in the way must fall before its overwhelming power." -- Carrie Chapman Catt, suffragist

The newest "just cause" was embraced this week by people as divergent as Rosie O'Donnell, HBO's creative documentarian Sheila Nevins, superstar Barbra Streisand (out in Hollywood), Revlon tycoon Ron Perelman and 40 other VIPs at a lunch at Michael's on 55th Street.

The occasion was a kick-off for Rosie's "A Heartfelt Stand Up," special that premieres on HBO on Valentine's Day. (You've been seeing Rosie all over the place -- divorcing from her wife Michelle, losing 55 pounds, and saying what looks like a final farewell to TV's "The View." But this is different.)

Rosie wouldn't be Rosie if she weren't heartily embracing a new cause, this one justifiably nicknamed "Ladykiller." She has joined with Streisand and others, like the massively rich Mr. Perelman, to fight against heart disease, which kills more women than all cancers combined; one woman every minute, as a matter of fact.

THE best documentary maker in the country is Sheila Nevins and she glommed right on to the idea of filming the "new" Rosie O'Donnell for the 10 o'clock spot this Saturday night.

So there was a great-looking slimmer Rosie promoting the cause Streisand and Perelman co-founded.

I found myself sitting at the head table with Sheila, Rosie, Ron, Barbara Walters, Cindy Adams, Arianna Huffington and the like. Sheila quipped of the big green kale salad: "The only problem with eating this for health is it's in your teeth after lunch and everyone knows what you had."

I was thrilled to see my own doctor looking blonde and gorgeous -- Holly Andersen, who took me on as a patient, even though she is usually busy saving serious heart lives.

And I made a new friend in Trudie Styler, serious actress ("I never stop going to class!"). She is also a movie producer, as in Julianne Moore's Oscar-nominated "Still Alice." Trudie oversees six of her own and Sting's children and showed me an adorable photo of her new granddaughter.

Trudie is off on a vacation soon to Tasmania, the island off the tip of Australia, and promised she'd bring me back "a Tasmanian Devil." Neither Trudie nor I know what a "Tasmanian Devil" is, but I've decided to wait and find out! So don't tell me.

I saw a lot of others I love and admire at this lunch -- Hearst's Ellen Levine, the fab actor Marlo Thomas, Literacy's Alina Cho, Broadway producer Daryl Roth, CNN's Ashleigh Banfield, etc., etc.

UNHAPPY NEWS about our old friend, Tom Gates, columnist and photographer and long a fixture on the New York scene. Tom is ailing at the Calvary Hospice in the Bronx. We send our best to Tom, his friends, family and loved ones.

WE TOLD you about the terrific new Judy Garland three-CD set, "Swan Songs, First Flights." Well, response to these restorations of Judy's earliest and last recordings, has been so positive, that the men behind this great effort -- John H. Haley and Lawrence Schulman -- are planning to work similar magic with Garland's radio work.

This is good news! Judy, like most of her contemporaries, often appeared on radio. She sang many songs that she never performed again, onscreen or in concert. Real gems. This won't happen for a while, but based on the remarkable results of "Swan Songs...," it'll be well worth waiting for!

Explanations! Uma Thurman has not had plastic surgery or spent any time with a sandblaster to her face. Basically, she just didn't wear any eyelashes the other night, when her seemingly altered face caused a media storm. That's what her makeup artist says. And makeup artists deal in the truth, of course.

Kanye West reveals "the voices in his head" told him to go onstage and semi-interrupt Grammy winner Beck the other night, just as those voices apparently did when he went all the way trying to wrench Taylor Swift's Video Music Award.

As for his comments that Beck should give his Grammy to poor little Beyonce, Kanye says when given a platform to speak, "it's very hard for Kanye West not to be true and vocal to what he feels."

Yep, he hears voices and refers to himself in the third person. It must be fascinating for Kim Kardashian to be married to Napoleon.

P.S. Don't forget to visit And keep in mind Rosie's prescription for when you might be having a heart attack. "HEPPP," which she says stands for "Hot, Exhausted, Pain, Pale, Puke." And, for women, pain down your left arm is not always a sign of a heart attack.

(E-mail Liz Smith at


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