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While in Tinseltown for the Democratic convention, President Clinton got to test-drive a new hotel. The St. Regis-Los Angeles, which was scheduled to open Oct. 1, put out the welcome mat early for the presidential party—as well as for Christopher Reeve, who was there as a guest of the White House. Although the hotel reserved its finest rooms—the three-bedroom Reagan Presidential Suite—for the Clintons, Chelsea chose to stay-in a separate room.

Kirstie Alley’s kids William True, 7, and Lillie Price, 6, may be too young to see an R-rated movie in the U.S., but their age proved no problem in Paris recently when they accompanied their mom to a risqué, tops-optional cabaret at the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub.

Robert Downey Jr., just out of prison, already has a full work schedule lined up. After accepting a recurring role on Ally McBeal—I hear that he’ll be playing a character all too familiar to him in real life, a lawyer—he is sifting through offers for his next gig. Downey is being courted for a new Robert Altman film, an ensemble piece to be shot in London in February. “I know he’ll do it if he’s not got some big gig that he’s starring in at the time,” says Altman. Maybe Downey could play a bodybuilder. Altman, who directed Downey in 1993’s Short Cuts and 1998’s The Gingerbread Man, says that the actor, who spent a lot of time exercising while in prison, “is like a rock. He’s a perfect specimen.”

When it comes to parking, Oscar winner James Coburn apparently thinks it’s valet or no way. Coburn last week pulled up to a North Hollywood theater where Noah Wyle, Stockard Channing, Kelly Preston, Suzanne Somers and other stars had turned out to see Sally Kellerman’s autobiographical one-woman show, which the actress cowrote. Coburn circled the block four times in search of parking, then waved goodbye to those outside. Kellerman, who played “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H, performed for two nights and hopes to take her act to Broadway.

Fast takes: L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant, accompanied by fiancée Vanessa Laine, was overheard speaking fluent Italian to maître d’ Gigi Delmaestro of Palm in West Hollywood. Both Bryant and Delmaestro were raised in Italy….

I hear Kirsten Dunst is dating Ben Foster (Liberty Heights), her costar in Getting Over Allison, a romantic comedy that will hit theaters in 2001. Dunst’s publicist says the pair are “just good friends.”…

R & B crooner Brian McKnight was dropped from the list of scheduled performers at a Democratic convention fund-raiser after he sang for the Republicans at their confab in Philadelphia….

Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Cap-shaw dined with Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law at Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton, N.Y. Spielberg is directing Osment and Law in next summer’s sci-fi flick A.I.