- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2009

Actress Lara Flynn Boyle is known for playing the tough-as-nails district attorney Helen Gamble on the hit ABC drama “The Practice,” but unbeknownst to many, she suffered in silence for years with dyslexia that made even reading her scripts a challenge.

Miss Boyle was one of three honorees at Wednesday night’s Lab School of Washington’s 25th anniversary gala celebrating the achievements of people who have conquered their learning disabilities. But the “Twin Peaks” star was a no-show, much to the annoyance of many of the gala’s 1,300 attendees at the National Building Museum.

Founded 42 years ago, the Lab School was established to answer the needs of such learning-disabled students as Quinn Bradlee, a 2001 graduate and the son of former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee and his wife, writer Sally Quinn.

Miss Quinn, who was an honorary chair of the event, was not aware that Miss Boyle was a no-show when we ran into her at the event’s pre-reception.

“Well, we did not have her on the invitation, so a lot of people didn’t know she was coming,” she nervously explained.

“I knew it,” sniffed one parent when informed Miss Boyle would not be there due to what gala organizers called “a family emergency.”

“The old standby,” quipped another, who wasn’t buying it.

“I asked if anyone died and was definitively told no,” a source close to the event told us when queried about the nature of Miss Boyle’s family emergency.

Miss Boyle released the following statement: “I am so sorry I could not be with you tonight,” she said. “I look forward to visiting sometime in the future and seeing your amazing school in person.”

Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, Florida Democrat, and his wife Leslie, whose daughter Lauren attends the school, informed us that Miss Boyle was scheduled to speak to the students earlier in the day.

“The kids were disappointed, but we hear she had some sort of emergency. These things happen,” Mr. Meek shrugged.

The long faces were lifted later in the evening when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. addressed the gala, recounting his struggles with stuttering as a child.

The mouthwatering cupcakes stacked on each of the dinner tables didn’t hurt either.

Missing ex-Miss Cali

In other no-show news, Carrie Prejean, the embattled former beauty queen turned conservative crusader, was also conspicuously AWOL yesterday. Scheduled to discuss her new book “Still Standing” at the Capitol Hill Club, she canceled at the last minute, leaving her hosts from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute wondering where their guest of honor was.

Is Carrie in town? Where exactly is she?

“Um, I can’t tell you that,” one publicist told us.

Could she be in hiding due to a less-than-stellar appearance on “Larry King Live” Wednesday night in which she pulled off her microphone and nearly walked off the set after being pressed by Mr. King with what she called “inappropriate” questions?

One source tells us he saw Miss Prejean on the Amtrak train Wednesday night headed for Washington. Describing her as “friendly and in great spirits,” he offered: “At least for the three-hour train ride, she was certainly living the title of her new book and not allowing the ‘left-wing loons’ to keep her down.”

Off the list

Consultant and pundit Hilary Rosen has been floated as a possibility for perhaps the most sought-after lobbying job in Washington.

But it appears that she’s not interested.

“Been there, done that,” she told G2 Wednesday night, while flatly denying she’s in the running to replace outgoing Motion Picture Association of America Chief Executive Officer Dan Glickman, who recently announced he’s stepping down next September.

As we reported last month, Miss Rosen, now the managing partner with the Brunswick Group LLP, was formerly the chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, making her a viable candidate to fill Mr. Glickman’s million-dollar-a-year salaried shoes.

Like the onetime head of the MPAA, the late Jack Valenti, Miss Rosen is known for being socially facile, enjoying cozy relationships with media and political insiders.

But, no, she’s not your girl.

We hear that studio executives will likely hire from within the MPAA, perhaps one of Mr. Glickman’s deputies.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]s.com.

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