Venice or Bust

Gwyneth Paltrow was distraught yesterday at being unable to attend the Venice Film Festival when "technical problems" forced her flight from New York to turn back. The 32-year-old actress hoped to promote her latest film, "Proof," which is one of 19 entries vying for the event's Golden Lion award.

"I had an absolutely, extraordinarily unpleasant evening last night trying to get there," Paltrow said. "I had all kinds of plane problems . . . but I was very, very sorry not to be [there]. It was going to be the highlight of my summer."

Meanwhile, Russell Crowe was on hand for the European premiere of "Cinderella Man," which is not part of the competition. Reuters reports that reporters were asked not to pry into the actor's legal troubles stemming from a June incident in which he threw a telephone at a New York hotel worker. Tabloids have reported that Crowe paid about $100,000 to settle a civil suit; he still faces criminal charges in the incident.

Company for Jerry's Kids

Jerry Lewis's annual Labor Day Telethon raised almost $55 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association along with $1 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Lewis decided to devote part of the 40th annual telethon's proceeds to Katrina victims after seeing TV news reports from the Gulf Coast.

"I had a box of Kleenex and I'm bawling like a child and I'm not believing it," the 79-year-old comedian told the Associated Press. "If I had the slightest chance of helping them a little, how do you not? . . . These people are in trouble now." Callers to the telethon could donate either to the MDA or to Katrina victims through the Salvation Army.

Everyone's a Critic

A painting by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein was slashed Saturday at Austria's Kunsthaus Bregenz museum by a German woman armed with red paint, a knife and screwdriver. She said she wanted to destroy the painting because it was fake, the BBC reported yesterday.

The 35-year-old Munich resident pulled the knife from her purse and slashed "Nudes in Mirror" four times, damaging but not destroying it, the BBC reported. A museum visitor and an employee restrained the woman until police arrived. She scratched an officer in the face and bit another in the leg during questioning, according to police spokesman Thomas Prodinger.

The woman, whose identity was not released, was examined by a court psychiatrist and faces a charge of causing grave property damage, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, Prodinger said. "Nudes in Mirror," owned by the Rush Family Collection in New York, was insured for $6 million, he said.

Noted . . .

* Actress Robin Givens will make her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in "Chicago." She will join the long-running revival Jan. 16 at the Ambassador Theatre and will appear in the show through March 26. The musical marks its 10th year on Broadway this November. Givens has appeared in numerous TV series, including "The Bill Cosby Show," "Moesha," "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

* Greta Garbo will appear on a postage stamp to be issued jointly by the U.S. Postal Service and Swedish Post on Sept. 23, 100 years after her birth in Stockholm. The stamp is based on a photograph of Garbo at 27, taken during the filming of 1932's "As You Desire Me." Garbo made her final film, "Two-Faced Woman," in 1941; she died in 1990 in New York.

-- Compiled by Michael Cotterman

from wire reports

Russell Crowe and wife Danielle made it to the Venice Film Festival, but Gwyneth Paltrow, left, did not. Jerry Lewis, below, branched out.