updated 09/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
If you're having dinner in Carmel, Calif., and the wine steward looks familiar, it could be actor Jason Priestley. At the invitation of an old friend, chef Francesco Soldá, the Beverly Hills, 90210 star became a partner in the new La Gondola Ristorante, which has a 16th-century Venice motif. Priestley, an oenophile who has some 3,000 bottles in his private collection, helps buy wine for the restaurant. On opening night the actor pitched in by uncorking more than a dozen bottles for surprised customers.
The Halloween episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, starring Melissa Joan Hart, offers a trick and a treat. In the episode titled "Good Will Haunting," Sabrina's aunt, played by former Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In star Jo Anne Worley, takes Sabrina and her other aunts to what they think will be a ho-hum party. The trick? They find themselves trapped in what looks like a lunatic asylum. The treat: The inmates are Worley's former Laugh-In castmates Ruth Buzzi, Alan Sues and Gary Owens.
Diagnosis Murder star Dick Van Dyke, 72, won't find as many actors his age on the set this season. In an effort to show "a more realistic cross-section of people" (translation: younger), Murder's producers didn't rehire a group of elderly performers who had played patients, doctors and nurses on the show. "We're not turning it into Bay watch," says William Rabkin, one of the drama's executive producers. "We just want to see all sorts of people." "It's all about demographics," says erstwhile extra Flo Goldfarb, 80. "They want to get more young people to buy the products being advertised."
Before the Academy Awards, designer Kathrine Baumann made a Titanic-shaped handbag, covered with 15,000 crystals and semiprecious stones, as a gift that she hoped Oscar-nominee Gloria Stuart would hold during the awards ceremony. The actress, however, opted not to carry the purse, which was valued by the designer at $30,000. So Baumann held off, waiting for the right moment to give it to Stuart. As luck would have it, the designer happened to be carrying the handbag when she ran into Stuart at a 90th-birthday party for Milton Berle. At first the actress told Baumann she was reluctant to accept the pricey purse, but then she took a closer look, kissed it and started crying. "This is the most beautiful bag I've ever seen," said Stuart. "I'm going to keep it."