Insider

UPDATED 12/07/1998 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/07/1998 at 01:00 AM EST

NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz saw to it that costar Jimmy Smits, who made his last appearance in the drama's Nov. 24 episode, won't easily forget his four years playing Franz's partner-in-crime-fighting. In one of their first scenes together, Smits switched the squad car radio from Franz's oldies station, and Franz promptly switched it back. "Got to be oldies, huh?" said Smits. Then "Duke of Earl" came on, and they started to sing together. "It turned out to be one of my favorite little moments of the past five years of the show," Franz says now. So he looked all over L.A. until he found a 1954 Seeburg jukebox, which he gave to Smits at his going-away party. He hid it behind a movable wall, wrapped in a big red bow. Just before moving the wall, he pressed A1. The room filled with "Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl...." Smits "stopped dead in his tracks and came over and started dancing to it," reports Franz. "He said, 'You didn't!' And I said, 'Yeah, thanks for four great years.' We hugged and we danced."

Glenn Close had a surprising escort at the recent American Paralysis Association fund-raising gala in New York City: cochairman of Bosnia's council of ministers Haris Silajdzic. The two met in Sarajevo last August, when Close performed in the play Necessary Targets. "Glenn gave a wonderful performance. We're still talking about it in Sarajevo," says Silajdzic, who was in Manhattan to lecture at Columbia University before flying to Dayton for the anniversary of the Bosnian peace talks. So how did he snare a date with Close? "It's simple," Silajdzic explains. "She called me up and asked me to come."

Actor Stanley Tucci had quite a strong reaction to playing Walter Winchell, the country's most powerful newspaper columnist of the '30s and '40s, in the HBO biopic Winchell. Tucci said the role made him want to write a column. "What he did was so exciting," the actor told me at the movie's L.A. premiere. "He was going 24 hours a day." While Tucci doesn't plan to apply for a job at the New York Daily News, he will soon be making a movie in Manhattan about another noted journalist. Tucci will write, direct and possibly star in a movie about Joseph Mitchell, a staff writer for The New Yorker for 58 years.

One detail not reported about Prince Charles's 50th-birthday celebration: During the party held for him at Hampton Court two days before the main event, Charles and 200 guests were unexpectedly treated to a piano recital by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The composer spontaneously got up as the shindig was winding down and played pop tunes by the Everly Brothers, among others. Everyone gathered around and sang, including ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

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