Barker to Undergo Surgery

Our game show friend Bob Barker isn't doing as well as we'd thought. The 75-year-old host of "The Price Is Right" will undergo surgery Monday morning at George Washington University Hospital to clear an artery on the left side of his neck. Hospital officials said the artery is 85 percent blocked, putting him at risk for a stroke. Barker, a longtime animal rights activist, came to town Wednesday night to lobby for the Captive Elephant Accident Prevention Act, Rep. Sam Farr's bill to ban the use of elephants by circus performers. "I am extremely saddened to learn of Bob's poor health," the California Democrat said yesterday at a hospital news conference. Barker, who went to the emergency room Thursday complaining of fatigue and clumsiness, is said to be in good spirits. "He's looking forward to getting back to his regular routine," said hospital spokeswoman Lisa Saisselin, adding that he could return to work in three weeks.

Best Wishes, Indeed

At his fabulous 60th birthday bash this week thrown by his girlfriend, Holidae Hayes, America Online Foundation Chairman Jim Kimsey got a special video featuring lots of bigwigs singing his praises and in some cases offering him advice on the aging process. What did his friends have to say to the AOL co-founder?

President Clinton: "You don't look anywhere near 60 years old, but they have been a remarkable six decades."

Former secretary of state Alexander M. Haig Jr.: "I do hope that you, as you get older and older and bolder and bolder, keep a big jar of Viagra close by."

Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell: "Hey, Jim, happy 60th birthday, and I hope you know that Airborne Rangers get better after 60."

And finally, opera star Placido Domingo (who serenaded Kimsey with "Happy Birthday"): "I really wish you a happy, happy birthday. Any time you want to sing with us, come and join us."

Couple News

And now for the latest in celebrity couplings (and uncouplings): Marla Maples, The Donald's latest ex, is engaged to film producer Michael Mailer, the son of author Norman Mailer . . . The dad of Steffi Graf's ex-boyfriend, race-car driver Michael Bartels, says that the tennis star is indeed dating Andre Agassi. "She confessed to [Michael] that she was now with Agassi," Willi Bartels tells Germany's Bild newspaper . . . Jennifer Love Hewitt has split from MTV personality Carson Daly, People magazine reports . . . Helena Bonham Carter and Kenneth Branagh have parted ways. "The decision was mutual," she says.

End Notes

Monica Lewinsky is considering applying to NYU Law School, the New York Post reports . . . Also from the Post: George Michael is promising to tell all about his arrest in a Los Angeles men's bathroom if the press will help NetAid's campaign to end world poverty, particularly among war refugees. "I'd like to make a deal with the major tabloids in this country," the pop star said from London. "If we get sufficient and respectable and compassionate coverage, I will personally speak to the editor of each tabloid newspaper on the phone about anything they like." . . . Nicole Bass, the world's largest female bodybuilder, is suing the World Wrestling Federation for sexual harassment. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound former WWF "superstar" says she was repeatedly groped by other wrestlers and otherwise humiliated. She wants $120 million.

CAPTION: Bob Barker is expected to have surgery Monday for a blocked artery in his neck.