Tom Cunneff
May 26, 2003 12:00 PM

George Clooney turned 42 on May 6 and celebrated the big night with 11 longtime friends—guys only—at Matteo’s restaurant in West Los Angeles. The Italian eatery used to be one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite haunts and is now a preferred spot for Clooney, who usually picks up the tab. But Clooney’s Eleven pitched in this time to pay the $l,000-plus bill. They also gave the star small gifts like a homemade humidor. And what would a night with George Clooney be without a practical joke? When the candle-topped tiramisu cake arrived at the table, the gang sang “Happy Birthday”—to Rande Gerber. Cindy Crawford’s husband—and Clooney crony—had celebrated his 41st birthday the week before.

Robin Williams made creative use of his time while waiting for his 13-year-old daughter Zelda at the Frédéric Fekkai hair salon in Beverly Hills. When Fekkai stepped away from a client for a minute, Williams saw an opening and took it. Talking a mile a minute in a mock French accent, Williams picked up a hairbrush and began styling a woman’s hair. No word on whether Zelda was as amused as the surprised client, but Williams, who couldn’t figure out how to turn on the hair dryer, had the place in stitches.

Debbie Allen was holding open auditions recently at Manhattan’s 42nd Street Theater for Fame, her upcoming NBC reality series. Unbeknownst to Allen, among the hordes of unknowns hoping to make it to the big time were two not-so-unknowns. By coincidence, Benjamin Bratt and Julianna Margulies had been rehearsing on another floor of the same theater for their new Off-Broadway play, Intrigue with Faye. For fun the actors queued up and surprised Allen—when they got to the stage, the duo even performed an impromptu tap routine. A tickled Allen couldn’t stop laughing. By the way, the stars didn’t make the cut.

Fast Takes:

Julia Roberts just expanded her 50-acre Taos, N.Mex., ranch by four acres after buying the home of her neighbor, L.A. artist Frank Romero. She’s enlarging her property so she can ride her horses without having to cross any roads….

For a promotional appearance for Dream Angels fragrance, Gisele Bündchen borrowed several hundred thousand dollars worth of baubles from Beverly Hills jeweler Martin Katz. Bündchen became enamored of the $35,000 diamond necklace—so much so that she wrote a check for it on the spot….

A few hundred invitations just went out for Prince William‘s 21st-birthday party at Windsor Castle on June 21. Grandmum Queen Elizabeth is throwing the bash, and the cardboard invites are shaped like elephants. Why? The soiree will have an Out of Africa theme. Among the invitees: Wills’s roommate Kate Middleton…

Leonardo DiCaprio recently popped into the Manhattan nightclub Suede with rap star Q-Tip and a few other pals. No sooner had they sat down at a private table when a bottle of Cristal champagne appeared, compliments of former New York Yankee second baseman Chuck Knoblauch. A Yankee fan, DiCaprio leaped up and introduced himself to Knoblauch, and the pair chatted for nearly an hour.

Additional reporting by Hugh McCarten

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