Tom Cunneff
December 04, 2000 12:00 PM

George Clooney got an unexpected bonus when he traveled to Spain last September: a new lady in his life. Clooney just started dating Lisa Snowdon, a British model he met while taping a TV spot for Martini & Rossi in Barcelona (it’s Clooney’s first commercial in a three-year contract for a series of ads to run only in Italy). Lately, I’m told, Snowdon has been spending a lot of time at Clooney’s L.A. digs.

A few weeks ago I told you about The X-Files creator Chris Carter popping up in Las Vegas to see two of his fans tie the knot. Well, it seems this sort of celebrity surprise is becoming a trend. Denzel Washington was in Montreal recently, shooting his latest drama, John Q, when he spotted a wedding party in a nearby park. Washington gave the couple quite a thrill when he strolled up, congratulated them and posed for photos. The stunned group roared with laughter when the actor announced, “Yes, I do weddings!”

When celebrities at a fund-raiser duck out early, it’s not a good sign. So everyone at the Gregory Peck Readings Gala in Beverly Hills on Nov. 14 was shocked when Sally Field, Jack Lemmon, Anjelica Huston, Beau Bridges and Shelley Long, among others, headed for the exit during the cocktail party. It turns out they just needed a few minutes to rehearse the Irving Berlin song “The Old Man” that they rewrote with lyrics about Peck, 84, the evening’s honoree. A sample: “We’ll follow the Old Man wherever he wants to go…And we’ll tell the kiddies we answered duty’s call/With the grandest Irish actor of them all.”

Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, held a fund-raiser for Parkinson’s (Holly’s dad has the disease) at their Beverly Hills home recently, raising $85,000. Almost a quarter of the bounty came from Natalie Cole after the singer vied with another bidder during the live auction for a five-day, four-night Super Bowl package for two that included first-class airfare to Tampa, hotel and, of course, seats at the big game. Cole’s final bid: $20,000. “My accountant is probably going to have cardiac arrest,” said Cole afterward, “but it’s all right. I work for it.”

John Leguizamo is in for a very busy week. Not only will he host the inaugural My VH1 Music Awards on Nov. 30 in L.A., but his girlfriend of three years, estate planner Justine Maurer, is due to give birth to their second child on the same day—in New York City. “If my pager goes off, I’m going off,” Leguizamo says of his plans to bolt the awards, mid-sentence if need be.

While ABC’s The View was shooting in L.A. during the week of Nov. 13, three of the talk show’s five cohosts happily hunkered down at the posh Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. (Meredith Vieira stayed behind in New York City because her husband, television producer Richard Cohen, was facing surgery for colon cancer.) The hotel staff met the every need of Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Star Jones, but Lisa Ling wasn’t so lucky. “Her mom lives here,” Jones explained. “She couldn’t come to town and not stay with her. If my mom lived here, she’d be over at the hotel ordering room service!”

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