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Peggy Schleiff, Arlene Alda, Alan Alda,
Henry Schleiff, Abraham H. Foxman.

Alan Alda Had An Operation
But Can’t Turn Down His Pal

Story by Nina and Tim Boxer

ENRY SCHLIEFF, chairman of Court TV, was being honored by the Anti-Defamation League and desperately wanted his close friend, Alan Alda, to be by his side.

Alda, who had just returned from a visit to Chile where he had emergency surgery, said he was under doctor’s orders to lay low for a few weeks.

“What??” Henry exclaimed, meaning he’s not taking no for an answer.

“Henry, I turned down CBS on their 75th birthday celebration. How can I go to yours and not to them – they won’t hire me!”

“Don’t worry,” Schleiff said, “they’re not going to hire you—your career’s over.”

Naturally, Alda came to his friend’s dinner at the Plaza Hotel where he told ADL national director Abe Foxman, “You picked the right guy and I’m glad I lived to be here.”

Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons praised Schleiff as a real mensch. “That’s Swahili. It means he won’t steal your tent.”

Regis Philbin, who served as emcee, said he paid the price of fame recently when someone said, “You look like someone on television.”

“You mean Regis Philbin?”

“Not that jerk!”

The highlight of the evening was a thrilling performance by Italian-American tenor Michael Amante. He tore the house down with several magnificent arias, just as he does every Monday at the celebrity eatery Rao’s.

“All the Reform Jews here thought you sang beautifully,” Schleiff said, “and half of them thought you sang in Hebrew.”

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