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A big detour stood in the way of 'Streetcar'

Cate Blanchett (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Talk about rotten timing: On the eve of his country's cultural showcase in Washington, Australian Ambassador Dennis Richardson went in for a routine physical Friday -- and ended up having heart bypass surgery that afternoon.

Richardson missed Saturday's opening of Sydney Theatre Company's "A Streetcar Named Desire" starring Melbourne native Cate Blanchett, the cast party, a private luncheon in Blanchett's honor and a black-tie dinner for the company at his residence Monday night with director Liv Ullmann and Aussie Defense Minister John Faulkner. A bummer, especially since Richardson was the driving force to get Blanchett and the play to D.C. before it heads to New York.

"We are very, very grateful for his personal commitment to this bit of soft diplomacy," the Oscar-winning actress said at the cast party.

An embassy spokesman told us Richardson is recovering well; pinch-hitting as dinner hosts were his wife and the deputy chief of mission.

By The Reliable Source  |  November 3, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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