The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center touched everyone in America, including celebrities who witnessed the calamity, narrowly missed falling victim — or tragically perished.
ACTRESS/PHOTOGRAPHER BERRY Berenson was on doomed American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston because she was rushing back to L.A. to be with her two sons the next day — the ninth anniversary of her husband Anthony Perkins’ death.
The “Psycho” star died on Sept. 12, 1992, of complications from AIDS.
Berry, 53, had just finished work on a book on the late designer Halston and closed up her summer home on Cape Cod before flying home that Tuesday morning to her beloved boys.
Her two sons, Osgood “Oz” Perkins II, 27, and Elvis, 25, were “the light of her life,” said a longtime friend.
“Berry was so proud to see their show business careers finally start to take off. She was excited when Osgood landed a role in the Reese Witherspoon film ‘Legally Blonde.’ And she was really looking forward to seeing Elvis play in his new Hollywood rock band.
“She had called her youngest son over the weekend to assure him she’d be there, adding that she ‘wouldn’t miss it for the world.’
“But first, Berry and her boys planned to quietly commemorate the death of her husband and their father, Tony Perkins. It was important to her that they all be together on that day.”
A last-minute change in plans saved the life of “Planet of the Apes” star Mark Wahlberg.
“Mark was in Boston for a children’s charity he runs,” said a pal.
“He organized an Adoption Resource Exchange event at Fenway Park, where people looking to adopt children can be put together with needy children.
“He was planning to head back to Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, September 11. The only two nonstops that fly from Boston to L.A. in the morning are the American Airlines flight and the United flight that were hijacked and rammed into the World Trade Center.
“Mark had planned to be on one of them. But the day before, he changed his mind. Instead of flying to L.A. on Tuesday, he decided to leave Boston Monday night, flying to New York to spend time with friends before flying back to L.A.
“After the World Trade Center attacks, Mark got stuck in New York when everything closed down.
But he’s thankful to be alive.”
Anne Heche came close to the faces of evil. The newlywed was in the American Airlines terminal at Boston’s Logan Airport on September 11 at the same time that the hijackers were boarding the American Airlines flight to Los Angeles that crashed into the World Trade Center.
“Anne was leaving for Toronto on a flight that left at 8:45 a.m.,” said a source close to the actress.
“American Airlines Flight 11 that was hijacked left Boston at 7:59 a.m., and Anne was already at the airport and in the same area where passengers for Flight 11 were boarding.
“Anne believes she brushed shoulders with the hijackers. Even more frightening, she’d considered taking that very flight back to Los Angeles!
“She and her new husband Coley Laffoon had been in Boston for a signing of her book, ‘Call Me Crazy.’ But then she was asked to do a book signing in Toronto as well. So instead of heading home to California, Anne went to Toronto.
“Now she shudders at the thought of how close she came to death.”
“I saw the whole thing!” declared a shaken Rupert Everett, who volunteered to help the relief effort after he witnessed the World Trade Center catastrophe.
The “My Best Friend’s Wedding” star was walking his dog near his home in Greenwich Village when disaster struck.
“I heard this big bang and looked up and saw it,” he said. “Then bang! The other plane hit the other tower.
“When I first saw the towers bursting into flames it seemed like a big Hollywood movie. Then the two towers came crashing down. I just stood there dumbfounded.”
Rupert rushed to the scene to join other New Yorkers offering to help in the wake of the tragedy.
He was put to work for hours making sandwiches for firemen and hospital workers.
“These people are exhausted and even if it’s a little service, I will do it,” he said. “I just could not stand by and do nothing.”
Rupert’s fellow British actor Daniel Day-Lewis also pitched in to help after the disaster in downtown Manhattan.
First the “Last of the Mohicans” star tried to give blood, but he was turned away because the hospitals were overwhelmed with donors.
So he began carrying coolers of ice to medical centers to help cool down vital blood supplies.
“This situation is so awful,” he said. “We have a home here close to the World Trade Center — my wife Rebecca is from New York.
“Why did this happen?”
Connie Stevens was in her Manhattan penthouse apartment, looking out the floor-to-ceiling living room window, when she saw the first plane crash into the World Trade Center.
“Even though she was almost 60 blocks away, she was horrified by what she saw,” said a friend. “And the horror only magnified when minutes later the second plane hit the south tower.
“Connie’s still absolutely traumatized.”
— MICHAEL GLYNN, JOHN SOUTH and PATRICIA TOWLE