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The Insider

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PLAYING TELEPHONE

It may not mean a thing, but our sources tell us that Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland have been talking on the telephone.

Considering that Roberts, in chronological order, became romantically involved with actor Jason Patric less than a week before she was to marry Sutherland, had her agent break the news to Sutherland that the wedding was off, escaped to Ireland with Patric, celebrated Patric’s 25th birthday with him in Los Angeles, spent the extended Fourth of July weekend with Patric at his grandmother’s apartment in New York City and, in the words of a source, is “practically living with Jason now,” communicating with Kiefer at this point in time, even on the telephone, is no small event.

What did they discuss? Our sources haven’t told us—yet.

RONSTADT-ASHER SPLIT

Call it a breakup of sorts. Peter Asher, once half of the ’60s duo Peter and Gordon and for many years Linda Ronstadt’s personal manager and record producer, will from now on function as the singer’s manager only.

Sources close to Ronstadt and Asher say the step-down occurred during a recent recording session in northern California.

“They were working on another contemporary album, the follow-up to Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind [1989], and it just wasn’t happening musically,” says one source. “So the project was scrubbed.”

We’re told that Ronstadt will shift gears again and record a second album of songs in Spanish.

DESIRE AT DAWN

Picture Elizabeth Taylor, circa 1977 (and married to future Virginia Sen. John Warner), standing in front of Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial at 2 A.M. in freezing temperatures. She’s wearing a mink coat over a nightgown and reciting the Gettysburg Address, with tears in her eyes.

Taylor’s husband wasn’t with her, but fashion guru Halston was, according to author Steven Gaines, who recounts the scene in Simply Halston, his biography of the late designer, due from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in September.

The pair next laid a bouquet of flowers for “the boys” in front of the locked gates at Arlington National Cemetery. “Finally,” Gaines writes, “with the sun nearly coming up, they directed the driver to find the nearest White Castle hamburger stand and go in and get them doughnuts and hamburgers and coffee. When Taylor unwrapped her order in the back of the car, something was missing, and she and Halston decided to go into the deserted White Castle and get it themselves…. ‘Pardon me,’ the [counter] girl asked, ‘are you really Elizabeth Taylor?’ ”

Taylor said, ‘Yes, I’m ——ing Elizabeth Taylor. Now, where’s my ketchup?’ ”

Taylor’s rep had no comment on the story.

MORE ON LIZ:

Father of the Bride, a remake of the 1950 comedy that starred an 18-year-old Liz, has just wrapped at Disney. This time Steve Martin stars as Dad, Diane Keaton as the bride’s mother and newcomer Kimberly Williams in Liz’s part as the bride. On a copy of the original Father script given by the remake’s producers to their director, Charles Shyer, Taylor wrote the following: “I hope you have as much fun on yours as we had on ours.”