You would hardly picture Cindy Crawford turning up at a seminar on dating, but that's exactly where her current beau Val Kilmer dropped her off last month—at a two-day event in Long Beach, Calif., conducted by John Gray, author of the bestseller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. ("Cindy loved the book," says Gray.) During a panel on communication problems between the sexes, Crawford volunteered that communication was seriously lacking in her failed marriage to Richard Gere. To illustrate the point, Crawford told the following story: Because of an ulcer, she preferred hot chocolate in the morning to coffee. Gere's beverage of choice was tea. One morning, Gere, thinking he was doing her a favor, brought her a cup of tea. Telling the seminar audience, "Excuse my French," Crawford turned to an imaginary Gere and blasted, "F—k you! Haven't you noticed all this time that I don't drink tea. You do."...

I hear Marlon Brando wants as much as $4 million to play the title role in the six-hour CBS mini-series The Last Don, based on Mario Puzo's new novel about the aging head of the most powerful Mafia family in America. Yes, I know, Brando's been there, done that, both by winning an Oscar for The Godfather (1972), which was also adapted from a Puzo novel, and then in what was essentially a parody of his Godfather role in The Freshman (1990). But the network's interest in Brando and his desire to play the lead in The Last Don are real, and, according to two well-placed sources, both sides are now in serious negotiations. The miniseries will air in May....

Look for Jerry Orbach to team up with Al Pacino in a movie version of Chinese Coffee, a two-character play that Pacino starred in on Broadway in 1992. To accommodate Orbach, I'm told, Pacino will schedule shooting on Coffee around Orbach's regular job on NBC's Law & Order....

Each year, residents of Manhattan's prestigious Dakota apartment building hold a potluck dinner for themselves in the building's inner courtyard. What did some notable residents bring this year? Yoko Ono missed the Sept. 26 picnic, but she sent down platters of sushi. Movie critic Rex Reed says his homemade lemon icebox pie with a vanilla wafer crust "went over well." And Maury Povich and Connie Chung didn't cook, but kicked in money for tables, chairs and place settings....

Ray Walston, antennae-wearing star of TV's My Favorite Martian, has a message for producer Bob Shapiro, who's developing a movie based on the show: If all that's envisioned for Walston is a cameo (Insider, PEOPLE, Sept. 30), the septuagenarian actor says, "Don't bother. I'm not interested." Walston, who as yet has neither seen a script nor been offered a part, says he would consider appearing in the movie, but only in a sizable role....

One of Madonna's exbeaus, actor Tony Ward, and Los Angeles jewelry designer Justin Davis, jointly gave the singer a $300 pink pearl baby bracelet that Davis had designed as a gift to celebrate the impending arrival of Madonna's baby girl, due this month. The bracelet was even inscribed with the name Lola, reported many times now as the baby-to-be's first name. But guess what? Madonna has dropped the name Lola from consideration and will soon pick something else. Sorry, guys.

  • Contributors:
  • Hugh McCarten.