If we gave royal citations in this country. the word Dame would go before Shirley MacLaine. So Dame MacLaine gave a very humorous toast yesterday to “Nine” director Rob Marshall at Cecconi’s on Melrose.

“No thanks to Judi Dench, who stole my part, and my hair!” MacLaine proclaimed to an invited crowd of 20 or so Marshall fans.

Maybe MacLaine had had a sip of the sponsor drink, Sin, which is an energizer. Everyone got a gift bag with Sin and its companion, Serenity, a calmer-downer for the afternoon.

Among the guests: Frances Fisher, Salome Jens, Bob Balaban, Susie Blakeley, Michael Keaton and Annette O’Toole, Candy Clark, famed record producer Richard Perry who’s been dating Jane Fonda since last summer.

“Are the two of you getting married?” MacLaine asked Perry over lunch. This reporter interjected: “Shirley MacLaine, you are the queen of not being married.”

Dame Shirley shot back: “I was married for 35 years. I stayed married so I couldn’t marry anyone else!”

MacLaine also said she’d consider bringing her one-woman show back to Broadway, but she doesn’t want to do eight shows a week, and she doesn’t want to go east of Fifth Avenue. Otherwise, it’s a done deal!

And don’t be surprised if “Nine” makes a resurgence in the awards categories. Even though the sophisticated musical has had trouble selling tickets, Hollywood loves it. The actors love it. The Screen Actors Guild membership gave it a best ensemble nomination for a reason. The “Nine” performers are much admired by their colleagues!

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