Dustin Hoffman twice saved Neil Diamond from making a fool of himself on the big screen - by giving him good advice and taking a role from him.

Diamond asked the movie star for advice when he learned he'd be acting opposite Laurence Olivier in 1980 film The Jazz Singer.

He recalls, "I met him in an airport and talked to him about the role and he said, 'It sounds like you're scared of this guy and your character is scared of this character, so play that.' "

Hoffman also rescued Diamond in 1974 when he stepped into the role of comic Lenny Bruce after the singer decided the biopic LENNY was too much for him.

Diamond adds, "Lenny was not my cup of tea. His hum was there when I auditioned, and I was so nervous."

But the experience prompted Diamond to write his personal favourite tune, I AM I SAID, to calm down after the audition.

01/10/2003 09:49