November 16, 2001 03:37 PM

To demonstrate their appreciation of their stalwart leader, New York’s stars gathered on Wednesday night at the Sheraton Hotel to pay tribute to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. CNN talk show honcho Larry King was the emcee for the event, which featured performances by famous local residents such as Bette Midler, Joel Gray, Debbie Gibson and Heather Hedley, reports PEOPLE. The Divine Miss M, who got her start performing her bawdy burlesque show in downtown New York in the ’70s, sang a spoof of the standard “How About You?,” altering the lyrics to reflect on her hometown hero: “He’s got a heart of gold and b—s made of steel” and “No mayor in the U.S. looks better in a dress.” While such a tribute would have been unusual three months ago coming from a celebrity known for being more politically left-of-center than the mayor, recent events have garnered effusive admiration for Gotham’s chief. Joan Rivers said: “Of course, you come out for Rudy. He led our city out of the rubble. Look at us. We’re thriving, prospering. It’s all because of him. He stepped up to the plate and batted 200,000.” Other stars who paid homage included Regis Philbin, Muhammad Ali, Danny Aiello, Jerry Orbach and CNN’s Paula Zahn.

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