December 10, 2004 10:00 AM

John Travolta and Kelly Preston have one of Hollywood’s enduring marriages, having been hitched since 1991. So, how do they keep their spark? “Sometimes I make him be Bud,” his character from 1980’s Urban Cowboy, Preston told the audience at a special salute to Travolta by the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. “And I’m (Debra Winger character) Sissy.” Hey, whatever works. Also at the event was James Gandolfini, who had this to say about Travolta: “We grew up about 15 minutes away from each other in New Jersey, and his father used to own a tire store. My father used to buy tires from his father. And we’d go in there and there’d be a picture of John, in the white suit and all. And I’m saying, ‘If this man can do this – forgetting that he was like three times better looking than I was – so can I.’ ” Gandolfini eventually got to work with Travolta in 1995’s Get Shorty, in which Travolta “beat the crap out of me.” Others who paid tribute to the star: Oprah Winfrey; Ron Palillo, who played Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter; Grease stars Jeff Conaway and Didi Conn; Entourage’s Jeremy Piven, who claims Travolta’s was the first autograph he ever got; Kathy Bates, his costar in 1998’s Primary Colors; and Kyra Sedgwick, who shared the big screen with Travolta in 1996’s Phenomenon. The tribute airs on the USA Network on Dec. 12.

Like Daughter, Like Mother
Roles are reversing lately in the Hilton household. No, Nicky isn’t going blonde again … rather, mom Kathy is getting advice from daughter Paris – specifically, on how to handle her upcoming reality show, The Good Life. Paris’s insights? “Never trust the producer,” Kathy told us at a recent charity luncheon benefiting P.S. Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring arts education to public schools. “But thank goodness my husband was one of the producers, so I felt good about that.” Anything else? “She said always be camera-ready, yet forget that the camera is there so that you can be real,” said Hilton. “But always try to look your best.” Got that?

Free Association
We asked Blind Date host Roger Lodge for his quick takes on a few hot topics.
Teen stars lip-synching: “Ashlee Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. It’s about time that people are catching up with these frauds.”
Martha Stewart’s new TV show: “Wow, are you kidding me? This is must-see TV.”
The state of Nick and Jessica’s marriage: “I hope they work it out.”
Britney wants to be a mom: “And a damn good one she’ll make.”
What I want for Christmas is …: “All I want is to be in the same room with my wife and my two sons.”]
My New Year’s resolution is …: “To be an even better dad, husband and son.”
Along with the sixth season of Blind Date, look for Lodge on Dec. 11 in ABC’s holiday movie Naughty or Nice, starring George Lopez.

Caught in the Act
Spotted Recently:
Adam Sandler, chatting with two UCLA students about his film Spanglish, outside the Mann Theater in Westwood, Calif.

Ben Stiller, actress wife Christine Taylor and Michael Vartan, dining together at West Hollywood eatery Il Sole.


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