By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 26, 2001 01:00 PM
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Though she is appearing on big screens nationwide amid the razzmatazz of Las Vegas in “Ocean’s Eleven,” Julia Roberts is taking a decidedly less glamorous route for her next project. The Oscar winner, 34, will host a documentary called “Old Friends” for the A&E network, according to Variety. The program, which is currently in production and expected to air late next year, focuses on the enduring friendship of Chicago natives Mildred Mulligan, Helen Klipinger and Ann Pritchard, who have been pals since meeting in grade school in 1906. Last month, Roberts and her film crew attended Klipinger’s 103rd birthday in the sleepy L.A. suburb of West Covina. The program will reportedly include interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds on what it means to be a friend, and Roberts’s production company, Shoelace, will produce it. Meanwhile, Julia finds herself topping a national Harris Poll list of 2001’s favorite movie stars — a roster, just released, that also included one late legend who still stands tall. Following Roberts, the Top 10 stars are, in order: Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Sean Connery, John Wayne (who died of lung and stomach cancer in 1979), Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams and Sandra Bullock.