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LOPEZ AMONG THE MOST LOVELY

"A beautiful woman who is pleasing to men is good only for frightening fish when she falls into the water," goes the Zen saying.

But does marriage make a man become less attractive? Well, it appears that it does, at least in the pages of People en Espanol magazine. In its "50 Most Beautiful" issue coming next week, Mrs. Marc Anthony, a.k.a. Jennifer Lopez makes the cut. So does the former Mrs. Anthony -- the beauty queen Dayanara Torres.

But Marc himself is absent. Some of the publication's masculine love magnets include Javier Bardem, Wilmer Valderrama, John Leguizamo and "Desperate Housewives" leading man Ricardo Antonio Chavira. (Hey, I have to ask, where is Antonio Banderas? They left him out! The mag's PR rep says, "But he's been in before!" What can I say; Antonio should be a perennial.)

This marks Jennifer's fifth appearance in the annual issue that claims to tell us who is the fairest of the fair, Latin style. Married, single, or just "thinking it over," she's always a knockout.

Recently, I spoke of seeing the great actress Eva Marie Saint in Los Angeles at the L.A. Times Book Fair at UCLA. How's this for a coincidence? Eva Marie and her old friend Marlon Brando won Oscars for their roles in "On the Waterfront."

Much later, Marlon also played the father of "Superman" (Chris Reeve) in the original movie.

Eva Marie has just returned from Australia where she played Martha Kent, the adoptive mother of Clark Kent in Warner Bros. new "Superman Returns." Bryan Singer directed this one and it stars Brandon Routh as the new Man of Steel.

Not too long ago I raved about Eva Marie's turn as a small-town librarian in the delightful movie "Because of Winn-Dixie." And this amazing actor has also co-starred with Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange and Tim Roth in Wim Wender's "Don't Come Knockin'. " This one, being released by Sony in October, bows at the Cannes Film Festival any minute.

Here's a late overheard from the big Jack and Suzy Welch book party two weeks ago from Dan Rather: "I do not think Walter Cronkite was too critical of me. My respect for Walter has no bounds. You will never hear anything critical of Walter from my mouth. We have had a private conversation about it, but I would rather keep it private."

My friend Dan seems nicely recovered from his public set-to with the Bush administration that hastened his stepping down from the CBS News anchor spot. I have seldom seen him in such a rare good humor as when I dined with him and his Jean down in Austin only a few days ago. Believe it or not, Dan appears to be on top of the world.

I ran into the gorgeous Elizabeth Hurley on "The View" recently. Noting that I had a new book about food and eating, Liz reminded me that she and I once had a fabulous breakfast together in the St. Regis Hotel. She was in town pushing her new beachwear and this was Ms. Hurley's advice: "Never, ever point out your faults to anyone. Once you've wailed, 'Just look at my hideously fat thighs,' no one will be able to look at them again without hearing your voice." Elizabeth Hurley can make any comment she likes about fat thighs; hers aren't.

Liza Minnelli knocked 'em out in Biloxi, Miss. She was also a smash in Dallas. Now she's heading for L.A. to pick up an award from GLAAD, on Saturday at the Kodak Theater. Liza keeps on keeping on -- an inspiring tornado of energy, optimism and show biz pizzazz!

When I was in L.A. last week hustling my new book "Dishing" at the L.A. Times Book Festival. It was a happy occasion for me, as I'd just received a rave review from that newspaper's critic. This was especially welcome because the Times dropped my column two weeks ago to what seems to be the anguish of my fans in L.A. (Darlings, there's always the Internet, bring up Liz Smith or the New York Post!)

At the festival, I rubbed shoulders with Maureen Dowd of the N.Y. Times, Ken Auletta of the New Yorker, Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair, Jack Welch of Boston, Peter Bart of Variety and Arianna Huffington of all points. And many others, including some very talented writers such as Ved Mehta, Anne Lamott, Alice Hoffman and Walter Mosley, just to name a few. The highlight for me was to find, at one of my talks to an SRO crowd, the fabulous Eva Marie Saint sitting in the front row, applauding and cheering me on!

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