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    OFF THE DEEP END

    By Kim Devore/Entertainment Writer

    After pitching in on the upcoming “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and gearing up to direct pal Arnold Schwarzenegger in “True Lies 2,” James Cameron has been a busy man. Normally, he’s the big guy behind the scenes, but this time, the titanic director stepped in front of the cameras at the 4th Annual Access to Justice dinner.

    The Legal Aid Foundation honored him along with Rae Sanchini and Jon Landau. Fox News analyst Susan Estrich emceed the evening, which included a lively performance by lovely Loretta Devine.

    The gala may have been a high point for the director, but rest assured, JC’s one guy who loves sinking to new lows. The famed filmmaker was happy to talk about his recent journey 1,600 feet below the Atlantic for a look at he Nazi warship Bismarck, which he documented for Discovery Channel.

    He has been fascinated with the tale of the doomed 42,000-ton vessel ever since he was a kid. The Bismarck went down on May 27, 1941 while being bombarded by British shells and torpedoes. It’s described by this underwater adventurer as “fantasy shipwreck,” which is still sitting upright in its watery grave.

    The Bismarck was discovered in 1989 off the coast of France by underwater explorer Robert Ballard, who coincidentally led an expedition to another famous ship-the Titanic. And for JC, the rest was history.

    TERMS OF

    ENDEARMENT

    Shirley MacLaine was shaking things up in Santa Fe as one of the big honorees at the 2002 film festival. The Oscar-winning actress was lauded for her artistic vision and memorable performances in such films as “Terms of Endearment,” “Sweet Charity,” “Steel Magnolias” and “The Turning Point.” Fellow Academy Award vet and easy rider Peter Fonda was also feted by the film festival, as well as Robbie Robertson and Robert M. Young.

    THE ROD SQUAD

    Have I told you lately? Rockin’ Rod Stewart will be the big draw at this year’s Larry King Cardiac Foundation Fundraiser, which will raise money for heart bypass operations and heart transplants. A slew of A-listers will make their way on Friday to the Regent Beverly Wilshire for the first big celebrity-studded black tie bash of the New Year.

    Expect Rod to deliver a few selections from his hot seller “It Had to be You” as well as some of his greatest hits. Bob Evans is also in the picture. The legendary producer will receive this year’s Spirit of Life Award. Philanthropist Jon Huntsman will be lauded with the foundation’s Heart Award. And funny man Dana Carvey will be on hand to make sure there are lots of laughs in this heart-y crowd.