Give My Regards to Norway

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who better to kick off a big Christmas celebration of U.S.-Norwegian relations than the man who -- well, let's just wager he's the only former Must-See-TV sitcom star who's fluent in Norwegian.

Actor Earle Hyman, who flipped the ceremonial switch to light the Norwegian Embassy's 30-foot tree at Union Station last night, is most famous for playing Grandpa Huxtable on "The Cosby Show." But the classically trained Henrik Ibsen fanatic learned the language so he could perform in Norway, where he has spent much of the past 35 years.

"Heia Norge!" the 80-year-old North Carolinian, dapper in a black suit and pink tie, told the crowd after an intro from Ambassador Knut Vollebaek. "Heia USA!" ("Let's go Norway! Let's go USA!")

After a distinguished stage career (a long-ago Hamlet at Howard University, "Driving Miss Daisy" off-Broadway, "Othello" in Oslo, "Oedipus Rex" here in '01) does it bother Hyman to be most often cited for his "Cosby" work? "That wasn't work!" he bellowed. "We were family. It was a wonderful time. They're still showing reruns."

Still, "my heart belongs to the theater, as it belongs to Norway." In fact, he just bought a two-bedroom condo in Oslo. "So you see, 'The Cosby Show' has been a very good thing."

Love, Etc.

It's, like, over: Pop star Hilary Duff and Good Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden have split after dating for two years. Madden, 27, is apparently too old for the 19-year-old teen idol, which means no more star sightings in his home town of Waldorf. "At the moment we're not commenting on his personal life," said Good Charlotte manager Steve Feinberg. "I can tell you that he is single right now."

Pregnant, pregnant: Soccer star Mia Hamm and her husband, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, are expecting twins. Pitcher and catcher? Goalie and forward? Hamm, 34, is due in the spring.

Baby makes five: "Today" co-host Matt Lauer and his wife, Annette, are parents of a new baby boy. Thijs (pronounced "tice") was named by his Dutch mother and joins brother Jack and sister Romy.

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

Brendan Haywood, celebrating his 27th birthday downtown at ESPN Zone Monday night. The Wizards center, in backward cap and long silver chain, rolled in with about 10 friends and devoured nachos, Cajun chicken and four kinds of wings, washed down with Hennessy-and-juice cocktails. No word whether rival Etan Thomas joined the party but guessing . . . not.

Frances Fragos Townsend, reporting for jury duty in D.C. Superior Court Monday. The White House homeland security adviser, in dark pantsuit and heels, spent much of her time in the hallway on her BlackBerry and phone or paging through Sandra Mackey's history book "Lebanon." She got seated for a murder trial, but the lawyers quickly bumped her -- they're never keen on having ex-prosecutors on their juries.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) getting to pre-board a Southwest flight from Louisville to BWI Sunday ahead of all those stand-in-line A, B and C boarding groups. Why? Seems that anyone with special security -- like members of the Senate leadership -- gets to do that.

A pileup of boldfacers lunching at Bistro Bis on the Hill at the same time yesterday -- Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, together; cable gabbers Greta Van Susteren and Tucker Carlson, apart.

Living Well, Remembering Not So Well

So the ever-sassy Joan Collins came to the National Press Club yesterday to plug her play ("Legends!" at the National Theatre), fish for another juicy television role (she adores "Desperate Housewives," hint, hint), show off her handsome fifth husband (40-year-old producer Percy Gibson) and plug her new book about how society unfairly stereotypes older people.

An audience member wanted to know the title.

"It's called -- " Collins frowned, trying to remember. "What's it called? I'm having a senior moment."

Hey, it happens, even to gorgeous 73-year-old actresses. (For the record, it's "The Art of Living Well: Looking Good, Feeling Great.")

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