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George Rush grew up in a small Midwestern town, and then went on to Brown University, followed by Columbia University, where he received his master's degree in journalism. He wrote articles on weighty topics for national magazines, and a book, "Confessions of a Secret Service Agent." But after meeting Joanna Molloy, a fifth-generation New Yorker, Rush soon straightened out his life and began writing a gossip column with her. The couple, who have been married since 1992, have a little Rush.


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Oscar prep: Hissing and making up

Lindsay Lohan
HOLLYWOOD The Academy Awards are two days away, but the usual suspects are already in training for the Oscar parties.

Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Heather Graham, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen piled into the bash that L.A. club queen Amanda Scheer-Demme and New York club queen Amy Sacco hosted at Teddy's Lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel.

Lindsay, who had a frosty face-off with Mischa Barton the other night at the General Motors fashion/auto show, showed only slightly more warmth toward Paris when the hotel heiress sauntered in. That may have had something to do with Lindsay's sitting next to Mary-Kate, who has made no secret of her disdain for Paris after the way Hilton appropriated Olsen's shipping-heir boyfriend, Stavros Niarchos.

Unfazed by the visual knives shot over from the Olsen table, Paris quickly set about making herself the center of attention. She handed the deejay her new CD and told everybody, "It's my song! It's my song!" Soon enough she was on the dance floor with get this Rick Salomon and Brandon Davis. Davis, you may remember, is the oil heir who told the National Enquirer that Paris routinely used racist epithets in his presence. Salomon is the ex-boyfriend who humiliated Paris by selling their homemade sex tape. Their current friendliness makes you wonder about Paris' claim that she made no money off the tape.

It just shows that even Paris' fiercest foes can become friends again. Maybe Mary-Kate will be dancing with her before long.

Elsewhere around town: Demi Moore, Nicollette Sheridan, Josh Hartnett, Teri Hatcher and Rose McGowan have all been entertaining at the L.A. outpost of Soho House. Designer Tom Ford celebrated his collaboration with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter on the mag's cover with a party, where Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson wore quite a bit more clothing than they did while posing with Ford for the pic. (By the way, HuffingtonPost blogger Tom Teicholz reminds us he coined the term "Tommywood" long before Ford came to town.)

Meanwhile, Bryce Dallas Howard, who used to have red hair, has gone platinum for "Spider-Man 3." Despite her new 'do, the actress braved a downpour for the party that Paper magazine publishers Kim Hastreiter and David Hershkovitz threw for their Los Angeles issue. It features an eye-popping menagerie of gang members, porn stars, wrestlers and "sexy vegans," most of whom showed up for the bash.

Natalie Cole arrived at the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Women's Cancer Research Fund benefit wearing a black chiffon arm sling covered with Swarovski crystals. Cole had it made after her fall last week while taping "Grey's Anatomy." Also there were Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, who saluted Melissa Etheridge, a breast-cancer survivor. Emcee Ellen DeGeneres, who had an ovarian-cancer scare last year, introduced Dr. Anna Barker of the National Cancer Institute, joking that she'd been opened by a doctor, but had never opened for a doctor.

Cruise-ing for info on PI

Tom Cruise definitely has a cameo in the legal noir drama of private eye Anthony Pellicano, we're told. FBI agents approached the actor two weeks ago to discuss the shamus accused of illegal wire-tapping, according to journalist John Connolly. Back in February 2001, we reported that Cruise's divorce lawyer Dennis Wasser had hired Pellicano to do battle with the PI's nemesis, Gavin de Becker, who was said to be working for Nicole Kidman.

Cruise's then-spokeswoman, Pat Kingsley, denied Pellicano was sleuthing for the actor. "It's totally without foundation," she said at the time. "It is inconceivable." Cruise's current rep, Paul Bloch, said yesterday he had "no knowledge" that the FBI had talked to Tom, "but I don't know."

Meanwhile, the family of Joran van der Sloot, who has been linked to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, has hired hotshot New York defense attorney Joe Tacopina. The Holloway family hit the Van der Sloots with a civil suit last month when they visited New York to appear on "Good Morning America."

Tacopina, who was part of Michael Jackson's criminal defense team and whose clients include Foxy Brown and Bernard Kerik, tells us: "Three countries have investigated this disappearance and three countries have not found one shred of evidence that points to Joran. This kid is a victim too. He is an 18-year-old kid and his life has basically been ruined."

Similarity has stars crossed

"Sopranos" star Edie Falco has never seen an episode of "Desperate Housewives," but she's often confused with one of its stars, Oscar-nominee Felicity Huffman. "People have actually come up to me and gone, 'Felicity!'" Falco tells Entertainment Weekly. Falco admits, "I've seen pictures of her and thought, 'Oh my God! Oh wait, that's not me.'"

The makers of "Brokeback Mountain" may owe a small debt of gratitude to the gay-themed 1982 film "Querelle," starring the late Brad Davis. Davis' best friend and confidant, trainer Neil Bell, happens to be "Brokeback" star Heath Ledger's uncle and personal assistant. Private investigator Paul Barresi, who recently spoke with buddy Bell, says, "Neil himself never made the connection, but he said he tried to provide a good gay role model for both Brad and Heath."...

Tony Curtis recently knocked "Brokeback," saying, "This picture is not as important as we make it. It's nothing unique." He may get an argument from daughter Jamie Lee Curtis: Jamie is "Brokeback" co-star Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother. So far Jamie is holding her fire.

Side Dish

NBC White House correspondent David Gregory was NOT tipsy when he called into Don Imus' show yesterday from India, says a rep for the network. The usually serious reporter got a case of the giggles. "Remember that movie 'Arthur' with Dudley Moore where he just thinks funny things and that's what was going on," said Gregory during the show as he searched for "a sheet" with phrases in Hindi. Imus diagnosed Gregory as "clearly drunk." An NBC spokeswoman insists Imus was joking. John Gotti Jr.'s defense team is getting good marks from, of all people, former federal prosecutor Marc Mukasey. Now a defense lawyer himself, Mukasey is a partner with original mob-buster Rudy Giuliani at Bracewell & Giuliani. His father is the no-nonsense Michael B. Mukasey, U.S. district judge of the Southern District. But the younger Mukasey tells us Gotti's lawyers "are doing a good job. They've used the bold strategy of saying their client was in the Mafia but not when he's alleged to have committed these crimes. They also have a judge who's given them a lot of leeway." Mukasey cautions, though, that "the government prosecutors have a strong case and they're marching it right in."

With Jo Piazza and Chris Rovzar

Originally published on March 3, 2006

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