The Happy Hookses
* Washington-born actor Robert Hooks, who ran the D.C. Black Repertory Company in the 1970s and now works in California, returns this Friday to pick up an honorary doctorate from Bowie State University. His son, Kevin Hooks, also will get a degree from Bowie State. The Hookses say they're the first Hollywood father-son duo to be awarded honorary doctorates anywhere. And Robert will deliver the commencement speech.
"It's an honor to be honored, and we're happy to be making a little history," 63-year-old Robert told us. The D.C. Council is proclaiming Friday and Saturday Robert Hooks Day and Kevin Hooks Day, respectively. Forty-one-year-old Kevin--who like his dad didn't graduate from college--added: "This degree means so much to me. It's more than just an honorary degree."
Robert was born in D.C. and "grew up in the poverty-stricken area of Georgetown," he said. "I was the youngest of five. My mom was a seamstress and working all the time to take care of us. My dad died working on the railroad when I was 2." At age 9 he caught the acting bug and went on to act on Broadway, on television's '60s-era "N.Y.P.D." series and in the 1984 movie "Star Trek III." He helped found New York's Negro Ensemble Company, whose alumni include Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, and later launched his own Washington theater company. Son Kevin appeared in the CBS children's special "J.T." and in the film "Sounder" as a child actor, and lately has been directing TV shows and movies, such as the 1992 Wesley Snipes film "Passenger 57."
The Hookses, who live in the Los Angeles area, just formed their own production company, Rock Creek Entertainment. "I grew up in Rock Creek Park, fishing and picnicking and such, and when Kevin was a little kid, he played there, too," Robert said, adding that it's a dream come true to work with his son.
"Women? I love women. Life would have been virtually zero without them. Journalism? I really feel like I am a journalist. . . . And courage? I had a boat named Courageous."
--Dinner speaker Ted Turner, waxing oddly about the Courage in Journalism Award and weirding out his audience, including The Post's Mary Hadar and Paul Farhi, during Monday's International Women's Media Foundation fete at the Four Seasons Hotel.
When Clinton Calls, Robin Williams Salutes
At tonight's $25 million sellout Democratic fundraiser "saluting" President Clinton at MCI Center, headliner Robin Williams may crack jokes about those embarrassing disbarment proceedings. But don't count on it.
"You mean, will I do an Imus? . . . Do I have curb-feelers that tell me, 'Don't cross that line?' " the brilliantly manic Williams answered yesterday when we asked whether he intends to rein himself in. "Sometimes I have them. Other times I say something over the line. But then I can pull back. . . . You just bring stuff and you throw it out there. You read the crowd: 'Back up, they want red meat! Move away! They want blood!' "
But more likely, this committed Democrat, who last worked a Clinton fundraiser in 1996, will aim his comedy missiles at the GOP. Revving himself up for tonight's gala, which will also feature Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and LeAnn Rimes, Williams described George W. Bush as a "towel-snapper" and added: "Some men are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some get it as a graduation gift."
Williams said he agreed to participate after Clinton phoned to recruit him. "I wasn't that booked up, and he said, 'What are you doing Wednesday night? Why don'tcha stop by? It'll be an interestin' evenin'.' "
As for the great gobs of filthy lucre being vacuumed up for the powers that be, Williams was unperturbed. "Four years ago, when I had never done any of these things before, I felt like Ray Charles at the Louvre. . . . Is the money soft or hard? It is money coming from the folks, and they're getting something for it--the music and the comedy and God knows what."
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Here's a shocker! Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley are splitting up. The English actor-model duo--which nearly came apart over Grant's 1995 arrest after hiring a prostitute for some vehicular servicing on Sunset Boulevard--is calling it quits "temporarily," according to their publicists. "It is a mutual and amicable decision," the flacks said yesterday in a statement. "They are continuing to run Simian Films together and would like to stress there are no third parties involved."
* The latest New York Observer contains a searing reminiscence of Seymour Hersh, kids' baseball coach. According to writer Greg Sargent--during the late '70s a member of the New York Yets--the journalistic ubersleuth was a bit high-strung. Once he showed up in Central Park on crutches, his leg in a cast, and insisted on pitching. Player Eric Faber, then 11, recalled that when one child drove a ground ball off Hersh's cast, "he went completely, absolutely wacko!" Hersh didn't return our phone call.