PHILADELPHIA music legends

Kenny Gamble


Leon Huff

are going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The pioneering producers of the Philadelphia soul sound were chosen yesterday for induction under the newly named "Ahmet Ertegun Award" (formerly the nonperformer category).

Gamble and Huff will join the 2008 class of Madonna, John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen, the Ventures and the Dave Clark Five, plus sideman honoree, the late Little Walter.

All will be enshrined March 10 at the Waldorf Astoria.

It's Christmas-shopping season

What do you give to the Grinch who has everything? How about a leather-bound copy of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," a book of fairy tales created, handwritten and illustrated by J.K. Rowling?

This one-of-a-kind (actually one out of seven) item sold for nearly $4 million at auction yesterday to London art agent Hazlitt, Gooden and Fox.

The money will benefit the Children's Voice, a charity co-founded in 2005 by Rowling and Baroness Nicholson, a member of Britain's House of Lords, to help institutionalized children across Europe.

The book had been expected to sell for about $100,000 and the standing-room-only crowd at Sotheby's applauded as bidding topped $2 million.

It's always good to clap when there's someone crazier than you at an auction.

* Meanwhile in

Milan, a Tiffany silver bowl that President Kennedy gave to Maria Callas fetched nearly $33,000 at an auction of the late opera diva's memorabilia. Sotheby's auctioned more than 2,000 items Wednesday from the estate of Callas' husband of 10 years, Giovanni Battista Meneghini.

He was by Callas' side during her rise to operatic fame only to be left brokenhearted when she took up with Aristotle Onassis.

Ironically, Onassis ended his relationship with Callas to marry Jacqueline Kennedy.

Callas died a recluse in 1977 at age 53 in Paris, leaving behind $6.8 million and no will.

Writer's strike update

Will the Director's Guild sell out the Writer's Guild?

Not yet, but . . .

The DGA said yesterday it will hold off on contract negotiations with studios for now but could start talks after New Year's Day.

It's highly doubtful the striking writers will reach an agreement by then so the move could put added pressure on the scribes to take some bogus contract offer from the studios.

The Directors Guild represents about 13,500 directors and associated production workers. Its contract with the studios and networks expires June 30.

It's cold, get a hat

To celebrate next Tuesday's DVD release of "The Simpsons Movie," Simpson's elves will be giving out free yellow Simpson's Santa hats at a local mall on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

The promoter can't say which mall, but we can hint that it starts with Franklin and ends with Mills.


Eva Longoria and her hubby, Tony Parker, issued a statement Wednesday night defending their marriage against claims by French model Alexandra Paressant that she had an affair with Parker in September.

"I love my wife," Parker said in a statement from Longoria's spokeswoman, Liza Anderson. "She's the best thing in my life, and I have never been happier."

"Tony has been nothing short of the perfect husband," said Longoria.

Somewhere in there is a denial.

* Liza Minnelli collapsed during a performance in Sweden, was seen by a doctor at her hotel and then flew yesterday for treatment in New York, New York.

* George Clooney and Don Cheadle received a peace award yesterday in Rome for their efforts to raise awareness of the crisis in Darfur.

"We're part of a tiny group of people fighting for peace," Clooney said.

Kind of sad that you have to fight for peace.

* If Led Zeppelin reunites to go on tour next summer, it won't be in May.

That's when Robert Plant will be touring Europe with Alison Krauss.

The bluegrass version of "Stairway to Heaven" rocks. *

Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

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