Insider

updated 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

A HIGH FOR LOWE
An A-list crowd helped ring in Rob Lowe's 40th birthday at L.A.'s posh L'Orangerie restaurant March 13. Lowe's wife, Sheryl Berkoff, had helped transform the restaurant into "Club L'Amour" for the night by hanging disco balls and projecting a photo of the Moulin Rouge onto a large screen. Among the partygoers: Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Martin Short, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. Kenny G did a saxy serenade with David Foster on piano, prompting Lowe to jump onstage and join them on saxophone. But the most touching performance belonged to Lowe's kids, John Owen, 8, and Matthew, 10, who led the crowd in a round of "Happy Birthday."

CARAT TOPS
Oliver Hudson asked his longtime girlfriend, actress Erinn Bartlett, to marry him Feb. 19. But not before agonizing for months over picking an engagement ring from L.A. jeweler Neil Lane. First the actor brought along mom Goldie Hawn to teach him about diamonds. Then, week after week, he took friends like Katie Holmes to the store to see the ring he'd chosen. Finally Oliver's sister Kate gave her approval on a 3-carat diamond set in a platinum band. He must have made a good choice. I hear the ring was too big, but Erinn, unable to part with it, wore the band wrapped with Scotch tape for weeks before taking it in for sizing.

LOONEY TUNES
The performances on Karaoke Night at Hollywood's Ivar March 10 may not have been noteworthy, but the performers were. David Arquette, who hosted the benefit for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, kicked off the evening with a rendition of "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," followed by Wayne Brady ("My Girl"), Bachelor Bob Guiney ("Wanted Dead or Alive"), Christian Slater ("Come Fly with Me") and Tia Carrere ("We Are Family"). Courteney Cox Arquette cheered from the audience, which included Matthew Perry, Rose McGowan and Laura Dern. Bachelorette-runner-up-turned-Extra-correspondent Charlie Maher even goaded singer Ben Harper into his first-ever karaoke performance ("Purple Rain"). The event raised $55,000.

FAST TAKES

Halle Berry may be an Oscar winner, but she's not above doing a made-for-TV movieā€”at least when Oprah Winfrey is producing. Berry will star in Their Eyes Were Watching God, adapted from the book by Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston, which begins shooting in April....

Drew Barrymore turned 29 Feb. 22, but the celebration continues: Her producing partner Nancy Juvonen threw her a party at her Hollywood Hills home March 14. Well-wishers included George Clooney and Owen Wilson....

Minnie Driver is working on her first album as an alternative-country singer/songwriter. "It's hard for people to take actresses as songwriters seriously," she says, "but I'm stoked!"...

SPOTTED: Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford splitting a bottle of wine and a dozen oysters before downing two 3-lb. lobsters at L.A.'s Down-town Palm restaurant....

Christina Aguilera standing in line for the ladies room at the premiere of Dawn of the Dead held in the Beverly Center mall....

Sean Penn leaving Naomi Watts alone at their table to hug Dan Aykroyd at Elaine's in Manhattan.

From Our Partners