Daniel Schorr, Doing 90 in a 30 Zone

Scott Simon, Dan Schorr and Kevin Klose
The NPR commentator with Scott Simon, left, and Kevin Klose. (Jacques Coughlin -- NPR)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, July 20, 2006

Daniel Schorr -- perhaps the only man in America who could call both Frank Zappa and William Safire his friends.

So noted colleague Scott Simon yesterday at a luncheon honoring the legendary National Public Radio commentator on his upcoming 90th -- yes, the big 9-0! -- birthday. As if a print, TV and radio career covering pretty much every war, election and scandal of the past six or seven decades wasn't toastworthy enough.

"People have joked with me that the average employee at NPR is one-third my age," the former Edward R. Murrow protege told our colleague Paul Farhi yesterday. "As a result, they treat me as history walking around. Every once in a while, someone asks me if the Korean War or the Vietnam War came first."

NPR yesterday named a studio after Schorr (actual b-day Aug. 31). While flattered, the newsman told Farhi that 90 is just a milestone, not a stop sign. Except for the arthritis in one knee (which has slowed his tennis game), he feels great and intends to keep on keeping on as NPR's senior news analyst. "I don't think at all about retirement," he said. "For me, puzzling out what's happening in Iraq or with Hezbollah is more fun than playing checkers." Meanwhile, NPR prez Kevin Klose said at the luncheon that Schorr is welcome to stay as long as he wants.

Or so we're told : The news organization barred outside reporters, saying the fete was "an NPR family event." Nice irony, considering the honoree, an alumnus of the Nixon "enemies list," is a lifelong free-press champ. "It's absurd!" Schorr roared when apprised of the policy. "I don't want to start an argument with NPR, but I regret that. And I apologize."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Diane von Furstenberg , lobbying on Capitol Hill against fashion piracy and in favor of copyrights for designs (though first, we guess, they'd have to catch those guys selling knockoff handbags on the street). The wrap-dress pioneer breezed into the offices of Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) yesterday wearing (yes!) a brown wrap dress, suede jacket and cork platform slingbacks. Pryce, in tribute, wore a DVF wrap shirt.

· Pat Boone shopping for pins, perfume and ties at jewelry designer Ann Hand's Georgetown shop with wife Shirley . The 72-year-old crooner was in town for the seniors lobbying group 60 Plus (he's their celeb spokesman).

· That guy who won "The Apprentice" and that woman from cable's E! News -- hang on, the names are on the tip of our tongue -- Bill Rancic and Giuliana DePandi , dining at Cafe Milano in Georgetown Tuesday. The dating couple (he in long, untucked shirt and jeans, she in a pink dress) were with her parents, who live in the Maryland suburbs, celebrating their anniversary.


· Suri sighting! Or so claims sitcom actress Leah Remini to People magazine. The Scientology pal of Tom Cruise told the mag she recently visited with him and fiancee Katie Holmes and saw the 3-month-old, whose low profile is generating a slew of conspiracy theories. But now there's a witness: "She's a beaming baby," said the "King of Queens" star, adding that "she's just beautiful," that TomKat are "great parents," and that "everything's fine." You hear that? Move along now! Nothing to see!

John Roberts, Admitted to the Bard

Now that the Supreme Court is in summer recess, John Roberts has time to visit the neighbors. He and wife Jane stopped by the Folger Shakespeare Library -- kitty-corner from the court building -- for lunch with Director Gail Kern Paster and board chairman Karen Hastie Williams, a former clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The chief justice got a VIP tour of the Folger's vault, home to some of the most valuable 16th- and 17th-century books and the world's largest collection of Shakespeare First Folios. "We always try to tailor the tour to the visitor," says Paster. In November, Britain's Prince Charles saw rare gardening and architecture books. The Robertses eyeballed 400-year-old English lawbooks, notably a copy of "Les Tenures" by Sir Thomas Littleton, published in 1586, and contracts of indentured servants in Maryland from the late 1600s.

And Antonin Scalia ? He was at Tuesday's farewell party for Peruvian Ambassador Eduardo Ferrero Costa and wife Veronica . Scalia joined the couple for a farewell party at the residence, where he downed ceviche and pisco sours -- the national drink of Peru and a favorite of Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling.

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