In the mood for celeb spotting at Hollywood hot spots? These days it's easier finding stars in L.A.'s smoggy skies. The terrorist threat has famous folks running for cover--or the nearest gas-mask purveyor. Jennifer Aniston backed out of charity gigs and plans to skip the twice-postponed Emmys. On the other coast, Gwyneth Paltrow admits she's terrified during public appearances. And even B-list Shannon Elizabeth set up a safe house in Wyoming and bought mini gas masks for her five dogs. (Why would she be a target? Her performance in "Tomcats" wasn't that bad.) "Because stars are used to being the focus of attention, they tend to feel more anxious than the rest of us who can take comfort in anonymity," says Alan Hilfer, senior psychologist at Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center. It's strange to see stars worrying about terrorists. We're just so used to their thinking only about themselves.

Attacking Hackman He's played a homicidal head of state, a mutinous sub commander and the bada-- of them all--Lex Luthor. Even now, at 71, Gene Hackman's not someone you mess with. That's a lesson two L.A. motorists learned the hard way when the actor accidentally rear-ended their Volvo. Witnesses claim the pair then picked a fight. "Gene had to stand up or get knocked over," says his publicist. So the still-buff ex-Marine mixed it up with the bellicose buddies. (Hackman was not kicked in the groin as reported elsewhere. "I would've remembered that," he told his rep.) No charges were filed, and Hackman left with just a few scrapes. After unsuccessfully jumping a septuagenarian, one can only assume the motorists suffered severely bruised egos.

Et Tu, Charles? Michael Jordan's NBA comeback opened off-Broadway last week to great fanfare and lukewarm reviews. But nobody had a harsher take on Jordan redux than his old pal Charles Barkley, now a Turner Sports commentator, who insisted Michael was fighting a losing battle against time. Barkley's frequent criticisms have caused a rift between the two formerly close friends. Jordan has told pals that he believes Barkley, who had once contemplated his own comeback alongside Michael, is simply envious. Mutual friends see no easy path to reconciliation. "When you p--s Michael off," says one, "he holds a grudge like no other."

Push-Up Pinup Goodbye, Betty Grable. For this new kind of war, Pamela Anderson offers troops--and all hotblooded Americans--a new kind of pinup. She recently schmoozed with members of the armed forces onboard an aircraft carrier and, this week, a pic of the starlet draped in Old Glory goes on sale (proceeds go to September 11 victims, of course). Pam'll sure get a rise out of the soldiers and sailors, says a USO rep. "She's their first choice." It's not all about her body--they're just huge fans of "V.I.P."

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