A LUMINARY'S WORK, IT SEEMS, IS NEVER DONE. WHILE THE rest of America was debating the political correctness of Columbus Day, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Redford and Gérard Depardieu were on the hustings.

On Oct. 5, a très casual Depardieu graced a splashy do after the premiere of his Columbus pic, 1492. Along with director Ridley Scott and costar Armand Assante, he parties 15th-century style at a 750-guest theme gala at L.A.'s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where tables groaned with empanadas and paella.

Four days later, Taylor and hubby Larry Fortensky welcomed guests, including Arsenio Hall, Neil Simon and Donna Mills, to a $50-to $10,000-a-ticket Santa Monica fete featuring performers from Canada's Cirque du Soleil. Under a yellow-and-blue big top, circus goers watched guest clown Randy Quaid practice his pratfalls—and helped la Liz raise $600,000 for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, celebs were helping Redford collect $100,000 for the Natural Resources Defense Council at a Roseland party following the premiere of his A River Runs Through It—a tale about God, family and fly-fishing in Montana. Said benefit cochair Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: "The movie shows why rivers are important...they fuel our culture and give us a sense of the divine."

And the trout shall set you free.