It had to happen - Howard Stern got slugged in the mouth during his morning radio show Tuesday. It came during his yearly pre-Grammy show in Los Angeles when he buttonholes recording artists. Stern kept yelling for comedian Elayne Boosler to come over for an interview and calling her an ungracious name. Enter Steve Gerbson, Boosler's boyfriend and producer, who upped and gave Stern a knuckle sandwich. Boosler said even if it results in a lawsuit, the moment made her life. "You know, it was like one of those great old '40s movie comedies where your guy defends your honor," she said. "I loved it."
British physicist Stephen Hawking, historian and diplomat George F. Kennan, economist Paul K. Samuelson, naturalist Jane Goodall and art historian Ernst Gombrich were each given a $25,000 award from Encyclopaedia Britannica yesterday in New York for "excellence in the dissemination of learning for the benefit of mankind." Hawking, whom many consider the best mind in theoretical physics since Einstein, took the occasion to bad-mouth the so- called "Star Wars" defense system, which he called a "deliberate fraud" that stands in the way of U.S.-Soviet cooperation. Picking up the theme, Kennan said U.S. misinterpretation of Soviet policy has led to decades of ''fighting imaginary wars against an imaginary adversary. . . . If we had not over-militarized, the whole concept of our relationship with the Soviet Union - what has been happening in the last three or four years - might well have happened 20 or 30 years ago."
A concert led by Placido Domingo at Manhattan's Carnegie Hall Tuesday night raised $350,000 for relief of victims of the Armenian earthquake. The opera star sang, played piano, introduced fellow artists and conducted the audience in the show's finale - the drinking song from La Traviata. "It's probably the first concert ever organized in 10 days," said James D. Wolfensohn, chairman of the Carnegie Hall board. "There are no parties, there is no dinner. All the money goes to Armenia."
Oprah Winfrey's new Chicago restaurant, the Eccentric, opened to the public yesterday, serving up such dishes as grilled veal chops, English fish and chips, steak tartare and the TV talk show host's top diet food - Oprah's mashed potatoes. At a grand-opening party Tuesday night for 1,500 invitees, she said she knows nothing of the eatery business but hopes to be at the restaurant as often as possible to greet diners. "It's not another celebrity restaurant," said Winfrey. "I just wanted to have a place where I could come in with my friends and be comfortable and dance."
Robin Williams was his usual manic self as he accepted the traditional brass pot and a rainbow-colored, double-tassled stuffed bra as the Harvard Hasty Pudding Theatrical's Man of the Year in Cambridge, Mass., Tuesday. ''Thank you - this is so cheap - thank you," the comic actor said. Then extending the cup in begging fashion, he added: "The country's only a trillion dollars in debt. Please help." When he got the bra he said: "Thank you, Lord. I forgive you Jim Bakker," and strutted about the stage wearing the underpiece over his black formal suit. Williams noted that former recipient Steven Spielberg told him what to do with the pot. "If you cook in it, it collapses," he said. "So I think I'll try to sell it." He referred to members of Hasty Pudding, the nation's oldest undergraduate stage organization, as "comics of a lesser god."
Linda Gray, 46, will leave the cast of TV's Dallas, at the end of this season, her publicist announced Tuesday. The actress will "pursue other various things that she had in the works." No word yet on whether there'll be a new Sue Ellen or if she'll be bumped off.
Brigitte Nielsen said she might marry Mark Gastineau July 15. And she might not. "It's a little touchy with the date," she said. "But really as soon as possible. I mean it's like we're married, but we definitely would like to have a wedding and do it right." Right.
Lawrence Rainey, a former sheriff of Philadelphia, Miss., sued the makers of the movie Mississippi Burning Tuesday, saying the racist sheriff depicted in the movie "is referring to me." A spokesman for Orion Pictures declined immediate comment.
HERE AND ABOUT
Duran Duran will play the Tower Theater March 12, on the third leg of the group's five-month tour. The goal of the tour is to perform in the "great art deco and Greek Revival show places of the country."
Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary, will perform at a benefit buffet for the Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility March 8 at the Penn Valley home of Marjorie Margolies and Ed Mezvinsky. Tickets are $100.