Comedian Bob Hope and his troupe of fellow holiday merrymakers had to make a pit stop yesterday and never made it to their engagement at the remote U.S. air base in the Azores. The Air Force plane carrying the group, which included actresses Barbara Eden and Connie Stevens and the Super Bowl Dancers, was diverted to the Rota naval air installation in Spain because of high winds. Hope said he was sorry to miss playing Lejos Air Base in the Azores, the islands off Portugal, because the airmen there had been preparing for the show for a week or more. The highlight of Hope's around-the-world tour, which began last Monday, was a Christmas Day show for about 2,000 sailors and Marines on the flight deck of the helicopter carrier USS Okinawa in the Persian Gulf. The shows will be seen on a 90-minute television special Jan. 9 ...

A Political Sequel?

Actor Clint Eastwood, who took up a new career with his stint as mayor of scenic Carmel, Calif., has been hinting about wanting to stay on in his political post. Although he said last week he hasn't "even thought about it that much," he "probably will run again." His current term expires in April. He said he wants to restore "old-fashioned civility" between the town's residential neighborhoods and the tourist-clogged downtown area. While his original desire to run for office might have appeared a publicity stunt, Eastwood has gained a reputation among many voters as a can-do administrator and is considered an advocate of controlled growth. Besides owning a popular restaurant, the Hog's Breath Inn, the movie star owns several parcels of property in and around Carmel ...

A Beatty Sighting

Maybe he was here researching a new movie or taking advantage of post-Christmas shopping bargains. In any case, diners at the Georgetown Bar & Grill got a treat Saturday afternoon when actor Warren Beatty walked in with a party of six, including sister Shirley MacLaine, for a late lunch. Beatty was all in black, his eyes hidden by thick glasses. MacLaine wore a long skirt and forest green leather coat. Maybe she was here to investigate her former life as a Georgetown hostess? ...

Lou Rawls' Appeal

Lou Rawls has more than just a smooth voice. He's a smooth fundraiser, too. His "Lou Rawls Parade of Stars" national telethon Saturday night received more than $2 million in pledges within its first hour. "We try to make it fun, instead of drudgery and work," Rawls said. The telethon, which was carried by more than 160 TV and radio stations, was held for the United Negro College Fund's 42 private, predominantly black colleges. The "Parade of Stars" included singers Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston and entertainer Ben Vereen ...

The Thread Heads

The importance of appropriate attire can never be underestimated. At least according to the Fashion Foundation of America, which yesterday released its 46th annual poll of sartorial winners and losers. The judges, comprising 100 leading designers and custom tailors, rate the dress of actors, television personalities, athletes, health professionals and politicians. The winners? President Reagan ("ever appropriately dressed and again unruffled" ... for a fourth straight year, said foundation spokesman Charles Richman), Spain's King Juan Carlos (his attire enables "him to blend with the populace -- a plus when he visited Brooklyn"), baseball star Dwight Gooden ("He looked very good in his white dress when he got married, although we don't know if it was hired") and Lt. Col. Oliver North ("His carriage is a tailor's dream"). And who didn't rate as a fashion plate? Recent Washington visitors Mikhail Gorbachev and wife Raisa. The Soviet leader, who was on the '86 best-dressed list, was dropped this year, Richman said, because "we consider a well-dressed man as one who has a tuxedo when he travels. When you have a negotiation on this scale {the summit} the leaders should be at the front. His wife outplayed him" ...

-- Compiled from staff and wire reports by Gigi Anders Chuck Conconi is on vacation.