Mark Dagostino
September 17, 2001 12:00 PM

Apparently, a cocaine bust in your hotel isn’t bad for business—if Robert Downey Jr. is involved. There is a list of guests eager to reserve Suite 311 at Merv Griffin’s Resort Hotel &c Givenchy Spa in Palm Springs, where the actor was busted last Thanksgiving. Employees refer to 311 as “the Robert Downey Suite,” and business is so brisk that Merv Griffin himself called Downey’s publicist to thank him for the boost.

Is Kathy Griffin getting ahead of herself? A source close to the comic says Griffin recently turned down a $3 million-plus offer to host the daytime syndicated version of NBC’s hit game show The Weakest Link, due in January. Why would she kiss such an offer goodbye? Because, according to the source, Griffin thinks ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is the better show, and she’s hoping to land the Regis role on an upcoming daytime version. The final answer, though, may be no game show: NBC says it never made Griffin an offer.

The Sept. 18 season premiere of Spin City may feel more like Back to the Future, and not just because Michael J. Fox is in the one-hour episode. Along with the show’s former star (who was replaced by Charlie Sheen last season) will be a new recurring character—a judge who is having an affair with Barry Bostwick’s Mayor Winston—played by ’70s TV queen Farrah Fawcett. There weren’t any parties to celebrate Fox’s return, says Spin executive producer Gary David Goldberg, “just a lot of hugs.”

When we typed in “Gary Condit” on the online auction site eBay the other day, more than 100 items popped up for sale. Examples? An original 1983 signed letter, Internet domain names such as “” and mock political buttons reading “I Believe Condit & O.J.,” “Clinton & Condit in 2004” and “Gary Con-did-it” (most under five bucks). Bidding was less than fast and furious, though: Many items closed without a single bid.

In Rock Star, Jennifer Aniston pierces Mark Wahlberg’s nipple with numbing ice cubes, a needle and a shot of whiskey. Aniston tells us that a stand-in’s already pierced nipple was used for that moment, but having to film the intimate, kissy scene early on made the actors squirm. “It was two strangers in a room with a needle and some fake whiskey and the ice cubes,” says Aniston. “We were siting there trying to be comfortable, but it was almost impossible.”

Robert Duvall’s a creature of habit. “While filming John Q with Denzel Washington in Toronto, he ate at the same Chinese restaurant nearly every day for two months. “He is a big Peking duck fan,” says actor Obba Babatunde, who often accompanied Duvall. Since the pair came in costume, Babatunde, who plays the head of a SWAT team, wore military fatigues. “They thought I was his security,” says the actor jokingly.

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