Months ago, Rosie O'Donnell told the press she wouldn't be hosting this year's Tony Awards, due to her many commitments to other projects. But she had been expected to take part as a presenter. However, when the Awards were broadcast June 6, Elaine Stritch co-presented with a different partner, Kevin Kline. Stritch noted that O'Donnell couldn't make the ceremony "for a very good reason."
That reason was disclosed by Variety columnist Army Archerd, who discovered that O'Donnell wanted to be home with her three-year-old son and year-and-a-half old daughter that night. Someone called the Howard Stern Show radio program the week before and threatened to kidnap the boy, Parker.
O'Donnell's spokesperson, Lois Smith, said O'Donnell didn't hear the program, but several friends called her and let her know of the conversation.
Previously, Smith had told USA Today, "It does make you not want to leave your children. On the other hand, you try to downplay it and live your life, because you don't want to give the fruitcakes out there power that they don't deserve." Smith praised Stern's handling of the call, noting that as the father of three daughters, Stern himself is especially sensitive to familial threats.
Police are investigating the incident, and O'Donnell finishes taping her TV show for the season this week, with new shows to begin after Labor Day. She will, however, host a gala for the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, July 10. "Julie Andrews asked her to host," Smith told Playbill On-Line. Smith also said it was far too soon to know what O'Donnell's participation might be, if any, in next year's Tonys, though she's apparently expressed interest in hosting again.