Clinton bruises Hollywood egos

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The Independent Online
AT LAST, Hollywood is beginning to get the idea. The inauguration of Bill Clinton was not organised purely to allow the glitterati to strut around centre stage, soaking up the world's applause for helping elect the president. It was not like the Oscars. Ordinary people were there.

This has not proved an easy concept to grasp. The movie business has been seething with debate about who has been invited, who is performing, and who has not received tickets. In this ego-sensitive society, a number of important noses have been left out of joint.

The hiatus was apparently caused by a muddle over tickets. There was no master list. Each official inauguration event is being overseen by a different producer and, in the rush to distribute 200,000 invitations, a number of big names were forgotten.

Bette Midler, Alec Baldwin, Robert De Niro and Ali MacGraw were among those who either did not receive an invitation until very late, or were left out altogether. There are reports that Richard Gere was so miffed by being overlooked that he has decided not to go at all; Robin Williams is said to have booked a hotel room, only to find that no one had asked him.

All this has not gone down well in the drawing rooms of Beverly Hills. Was this any way to treat an industry that had raised millions of dollars for the Democrats? Was this proper thanks for Hollywood's big pre-election attack on Dan Quayle after he condemned a soap character for having a child out of wedlock?

Worse, though it has now done much to sort out the mix-up, the Clinton campaign has not shown much remorse. The television producer, Harry Thomason, chief talent co-ordinator for the festivities, has said that he is pleased that actors were 'treated no differently than a farmer in Ohio'.

For all the battered egos, Hollywood still descended on Washington in force. A special train was organised to deliver 200 stars, including Mickey Rooney, Lauren Bacall and Michael Douglas, to Washington's Union Station. Performers included Barbra Streisand, Sally Field, Richard Dreyfuss, Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and many more. After all, it is the first time a president has been elected who is younger than Mick Jagger. Being there is hip.

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