‘Bash’ dashed over anti-gay policy

GOOD MORNING: There’ll be no “Showbiz Bash” this year. The annual event was launched by the William Morris Agency’s Stan Kamen 27 years ago to benefit the (national) Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America and the tradition has been carried on since his death in 1986 by the agency’s Walt Zifkin and Roger H. Davis. At last year’s gala attended, as usual, by showbiz toppers from all agencies and studios, we noted here a million-$ had been raised over the years. Meanwhile, the Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles chapter (there are four in the city) adopted a policy of barring homosexuals on the grounds that they are inappropriate role models. And their policy was upheld in an 1988 court case. The “Showbiz Bash” does not donate funds to this Greater L.A. Chapter, but the agency feels the need to withdraw its support of the bash anyhow. “While we are using our good relationship with National Big Brothers/Big Sisters to assist in the elimination of bias by a local chapter, we feel it inappropriate to support an event when the perception is that an important part of our community is being discriminated against,” says the hard-working Zifkin, past co-chair of the event. “We’re proud of our many years helping kids find Big Brothers, and hope for a speedy resolution to this one issue.” However, my call to Big Brothers’ Greater L.A. Chapter brought this response: “The rule (against homosexuals) still applies since we’re a private agency. We reserve that right.” When I spoke to the national H.Q. and told them of the decision (by the Morris men) to K.O. the “Bash” this year, they told me, “We are very disappointed. It’s upsetting to us (at the National). The event supports our national organizations. And that (Greater L.A.) policy is not our national policy. Ours is non-discriminatory.” National spokeswoman Colleen Watson also told us, “We have talked to the local and unless they get another board of directors, the ruling (on homosexuals) will stay in effect.” And children will be the losers.

THE DEATH OF CHUCK CONNORS yesterday was another sad blow to the already saddened community. The big guy was stricken quickly and so unexpectedly by the cancer. He had just been set for a new series, “American Shooter,” for ESPN-2 and he was excited about going back to work in a series. He was a straight shooter … J. Lee Thompson is readying a remake of his 1959 classic “Tiger Bay, ” which launched Hayley Mills in the co-starrer with John Mills and Horst Buchholz. Thompson and partner Pancho Kohner are readying “an Americanized” version now set in San Pedro. “We hope we will discover an equally sensational newcomer for the remake,” says J. Lee. He will be honored Sunday by the British Film Institute at the London Film Festival for films he made in the ’50s and ’60 s. And the film to be shown at the National Film Theatre Sunday is–“Tiger Bay”… John Forsythe and wife Julie are selling their spacious home in the Palisades, moving to a 16-acre spread in Los Olivos–they’ll keep a one-bedroom pied-a-terre here while he works on “The Powers That Be.” Forsythe says the series will concentrate more in the future on their (dysfunctional) family rather than politics. One of the funniest shows upcoming has him playing–a ventriloquist. No one can argue there are plenty of dummies in D.C. … Anna Lee gets her star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame Jan. 2–five days before her 80th birthday and 65th anni in showbiz for the co-star of “General Hospital”… TV Guide editor-in-chief Anthea Disney and husband Peter Howe are new U.S. citizens … Spago general manager Tom Kaplan and Krestin Beaton, formerly of Eureka, were married Nov. 7 in Palm Springs … Tom Bosley and wife Patricia were at Morton’s Monday night. He looks fine post-angioplasty and will soon complete “The Parsley Garden,” in Fresno. … Daryl Hannah winged to Chicago for services for her late father, Jerry Wexler. When she’s recuped from her grief, Hannah will decide on HBO’s offer to remake “Attack of the 50-foot Woman.”

TERRIF TRYOUTS FOR “Tommy Tune Tonight” in Dallas and Cincy lead him to the Dec. 25 opening at the Gershwin in N.Y. for two weeks before a 24-week tour. Then, says producer Pierre Cossette, Tune returns to B’way for a long stand … Roger Clinton, brother of the President-elect, had to bow out of today’s guestint on Montel Williams’ celeb “Bachelor Auction” show…. It was ladies’ day at the BevHilton’s L’Escoffier yesterday as Eva Gabor lunched this group who applauded Nolan Miller’s winter collection: Barbara Davis, Ann Murdoch, Edie Wasserman, Harriet Deutsch, Betty Wilson, Janet De Cordova, Mary Jane Wick, Zsa Zsa and daughter Francesca, Jolene Schlatter, Julie Hutner, Lee Minnelli, Barbara Grant, Candy Spelling, Dani Janssen, Wendy Goldberg and Ruta Lee, to mention a few … Carol Connors and Beverly Sassoon birthday-dined themselves and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Stella Stevens, Gloria Allred, Deanna Lund and Seth Baker, Barbara McNair –at Jimmy’s … Close to one million-$ was raised at the “Return to Casablanca” gala at Santa Monica Airport. Neil Bogart Memorial Laboratories for research and care of pediatric leukemia, cancer and AIDS patients benefited. Guests were attired a la “Casablanca” and Tony Gaetano , who plays Bogart in the “Sinatra” miniseries, emceed–as Bogie.

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