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If newsman Bryant Gumbel was teed off over CBS’s recent decision to cancel his show Public Eye, he made no mention of his disappointment in the 10-page invitation he sent to seven close friends, including his Today show replacement, Matt Lauer, to help him celebrate his 50th birthday on Sept. 29. The invite explained that he wanted to mark the milestone with “the guys who mean the most to me” by playing 50 holes of golf—along with a little poker, some good cigars and “silliness” over a three-day trip to an undisclosed location. I’m also told Gumbel will be the best man in Lauer’s wedding to model Annette Roque this fall.

If you’re wondering why Miramax’s movie 54 focuses on the sins of Studio 54’s co-owner Steve Rubell (played by Mike Myers) and makes no mention of his partner, Ian Schrager, it depends on whom you ask. Miramax cochairman Harvey Weinstein tells me it’s because Schrager (who was convicted, along with Rubell, of tax evasion in 1979) is still alive and capable of filing a lawsuit. Reps for the movie, however, insist that Schrager was left out simply because his presence didn’t work creatively with the script.

ER doc George Clooney bleached his hair blond after the drama wrapped last season because he lost a bet in a basketball one-on-one game, and now we discover that his clean-cut costar Noah Wyle has grown a beard during his summer hiatus. But unlike Clooney, Wyle will be keeping his new look. Much to his surprise, when Wyle returned to the ER set, the producers liked the beard and told him to keep it. No word on whether his fans or his girlfriend, makeup artist Tracy Warbin, like the new whiskers.

And now a bit of news for Emmy watchers before the Sept. 13 broadcast from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. When NBC, which is televising the event, asked each of the nominees to name their favorite TV moments, Jenna Elfman, nominated as outstanding lead actress in a comedy series (Dharma & Greg), confessed that she always watched The Carol Burnett Show “sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for costars Harvey Korman and Tim Conway to crack each other up.” Kelsey Grammer, nominated as best lead actor in a comedy series (Frasier), was on the edge of his seat too, but for a different reason. He remembers sitting “huddled in front of a small black-and-white TV with my sister, terrified as we watched the Cuban missile crisis unfold.” And Eriq La Salle, who is up for the best supporting actor award in a drama (ER), mostly recalls lips. “I can remember watching kissing on TV when I was a kid,” says La Salle, “and it was always the same thing. You’d see those two mouths coming together and you couldn’t cover your eyes fast enough. Kissing was gross.”