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May 01, 2002
"VIOLENCE, SEX, money, kids, animals!" These are the five ingredients for success as stated by a onetime tabloid editor.

And divas, let's not forget our divas. They are the sixth ingredient.

Let's take Cher, the hardest-working woman in show biz. After four decades in TV, film, on Broadway, in books, concert performances and records, this pop-culture phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down.

She was the only musical guest on Jay Leno's prime-time 10th anniversary show, which aired last night on NBC. And last weekend, she was the big hit of CBS' 50-year celebration. Every time she appeared onscreen, we just wanted her segment to go on and on.

Friday, the Oscar and Grammy winner will appear on Oprah. She'll sing some songs from her hit album, "Living Proof." She'll sing an homage to New York, "Song for the Lonely," her No. 1 dance chart hit.

Not only will Cher divest herself of song, she'll divest herself of opinions on a variety of subjects. She'll also give us a peek at her fantastic Malibu mansion, as it appears on the cover of the July issue of Architectural Digest.

Don't be surprised if you hear something also about Cher announcing her farewell tour to Oprah in person. We say, "Say it isn't so, Cher!" But to take away the sting, we can wait for Cher on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand's 50th ... a Celebration" Friday night on ABC.

Let's just place the cherry on the sundae by adding that Cher will play God in the season finale of "Will & Grace" May 16.

And, of course, she will star in VH1's "Diva Show -- Live from Las Vegas" May 23.

About that farewell tour: Cher are you kidding, girl? We aren't about to let you wave bye-bye.

SPEAKING OF DIVAS, Barbra Streisand's 60th birthday certainly came and went quietly. Her actual birthday was last Wednesday, but manager extraordinaire Sandy Gallin gave her a bash earlier last week at his new Beverly Hills mansion. It was not a surprise party. One doesn't surprise Ms. Streisand. But I hear she was pleased with the buffet-style dinner and the ambience. Nobody toasted her officially or dared sing that terrible song, "Happy Birthday," but Barbra still had a swell time, and someone who was there said, "She never looked more in love."

Here are a few of the stars who shone for Barbra -- John Travolta and Kelly Preston; Warren Beatty; Christine Peters, who is said to be the woman who first introduced Babs to hubby James Brolin; songwriters Marilyn and Alan Bergman; Kenny G., and Richard Baskin, onetime Barbra beau.

There were gorgeous roses all over the place and candles everywhere. And Barbra's sister, Roslyn Kind, was also on hand.

Then, I hear, there was another beach party tossed for the great one in Malibu last weekend at the home of Mo and Evelyn Ostin.

BACK IN 1945, MGM cast all of its biggest stars in a movie called "Weekend at the Waldorf." Now, the hotel will star again in the new Jennifer Lopez movie, "Chambermaid," which has already started filming. (In this flick, however, the Waldorf will be called the Beresford Hotel.) A rose by any other name, etc.

So Waldorf guests shouldn't be surprised to see the sexy Jennifer attired as a maid from the Bronx, who toils in the top-line hotel and meets a high-end politico, played by Ralph Fiennes. The storyline is described as "Pretty Woman Meets Working Girl."

Here's some fresh casting news from "Chambermaid." Natasha Richardson, Stanley Tucci and Bob Hoskins are now also in the movie, which is being produced by Revolution Studios and Shoelace Productions. We'll see the finished product at Christmastime, just the moment Santa fills Jennifer's stocking. Or is it already filled?

PHOEBE SNOW just taped a PBS special with the singing operatic cop, Daniel Rodriguez. She's the one who wowed folks at Liza Minnelli's wedding bash.

Now the girl who killed us softly with "Poetry Man" back in 1975 will showcase her new self at The Cutting Room on Sunday. She is shopping a new album of songs, some of which she wrote with former Fugees hip-hopper, Wyclef Jean.

Phoebe says her fans shouldn't expect laid-back jazz. "I sing rock and roll," she says. Bruce Springsteen agrees. When they sang together last fall at a fireman's benefit, the Boss kept Phoebe onstage with him all night.

Record execs all snivel that their biz is in trouble. How about featuring a real singer, not just someone who lip-synchs and swivels his or her hips? It would be revolutionary!

HOTTEST TICKET of the week was yesterday's Boys & Girls Harbor lunch at the Waldorf with Katie Couric, and Jayni and Chevy Chase presenting awards, and 600 people cheering them on. The worthy Tony Duke founded this Long Island charity for needy kids 65 years ago. The only duke missing was the Duke of Earl, as in the old '60s song.


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