Redford gambles on film’s gross

GOOD MORNING: A decent proposal from “Indecent Proposal’s” Robert Redford who plays the billionaire in Par’s Adrian Lyne-directed movie. Redford’s taking no salary up front –instead, a hefty percentage of the gross. Rehearsals start Monday at the Hilton in Vegas for the pic, co-starring Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson. The latter’s deal is in the final phase of completion –hopefully he is legally free of the MGM suit. He’s already read with Redford, Moore and Lyne last Friday. After six weeks in Vegas, the troupe moves to L.A. for 40 locations–Lyne’s a very visual director. P.S. it hasn’t been easy to get those permits for the L.A. shoot. … Redford and the Sundance Institute launch a June Filmmakers Lab on comedy writing and directing. Arthur Hiller gets the first call, followed by Sydney Pollack, Hume Cronyn, Paul Mazursky, Scott Frank and, of course, Redford. … Would you believe I was talking to Ed McMahon yesterday afternoon when the whacko with a (threatened) bomb drove his RV into McMahon’s former Star Search (Aquarius) parking lot, shutting down half of Hollywood for five hours? Ed was telling me of his departure next week for DisneyWorld and the Disney-MGM Studios, where his “Star Search” will now h.q. on two connecting stages with three revolving platforms. And the studio tour will also pass by (behind plate glass) during tapings, which start June 15. Today and tomorrow, Ed and his kids are at Disneyland, here. And Monday, he guests on Arsenio Hall. “We’ve maintained a friendship since he was on the ‘Tonight Show,’ ” said Ed. “I wouldn’t do it (guest on his show) while I was still doing ours. And I wouldn’t do it on the first week of Jay Leno.” Has McMahon spoken to Johnny Carson since their bye-bye show? Yes. “He told me about his plans to leave this weekend for the French Open (tennis matches) and Wimbledon. And he told me he’d call me when he got back.” McMahon admits, “Even though I’ve got some place new to go to, I still feel a valley of depression. After all, I was with the man (Carson) for half of my life. I told him about his last show–‘It was your finest hour.’ He did it without notes–all from the heart. It proved how talented he really is.” McMahon figures Carson will be back at work in six months. I bet him it would be sooner, much sooner. … Those parodies of “You Made Me Love You” featured by Bette Midler on Carson’s final show and Billy Crystal on Jay Leno’s first, were written by Bruce Vilanch and Marc Shaiman (plus Midler and Crystal). The writers worked on the Oscar show as well with Crystal When the bomb threat news hit the Columbia Bar & Grill yesterday, lunch patrons, including Motown exec Harry Anger, made a quick exit to get personal items from their nearby offices. The lunch bunch also included Kevin Costner, back from vacation, with partner Jim Wilson, who remained seated behind the patio’s protective brick wall.

THE RUSSIANS TAKE THE RAP: Yakov Smirnoff returned from Moscow yesterday and reported rap music there is selling out. He brought back samples of their music and says he’ll play ’em on Arsenio’s show. Smirnoff had gone to Russia with medical supplies for a children’s hospital. While his group was unloading the gear from the plane, cameraman Eric Bakke slipped, fell and broke his leg. He too headed for the hospital, was treated, put in a cast. “But it didn’t stop him from shooting our documentary for the State Dept.” Yakov told me he couldn’t believe the change there (for the better) in the 18 months since his last visit The Kirghistan and Turkmenistan Republics, plus Beijing and the Great Wall, are sites for the four-month shoot of the six-hour mini of “Genghis Khan,” to be directed by Ken Annakin for Intl. Cinema. Richard Tyson’s in the title role, Danny Greene co-stars as his general Mukuli and Collin Bernsen (Corbin’s brother) also co-stars. … The Scott Newman Center’s second benefit dinner toasts George Schlatter, Nov. 1 at the BevHilton (Warren Cowan was the first honoree). Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Barbara and Frank Sinatra will chair. And Jack Haley Jr. will produce the show. The Scott Newman Center produces, honors and encourages films with drug resistance messages.

SAD TO REPORT that Mavis Rivers, who suffered a stroke during her Vine St. Bar & Grill stand last Saturday, was taken off life support systems late yesterday. … Phyllis Diller opens her estate June 7 for a celeb art auction benefiting the National Parkinson Foundation in the name of Jim Backus. Co-chairs are Henny Backus and Dick Clark. Among those contributing items, including memorabilia to be auctioned, are George Burns, Red Skelton and Magic Johnson. Jim Backus’ teddy bear from “Gilligan’s Island” is among the items on which to bid. … Ann-Margret just wound her starring role in Alex Haley’s six-hour CBS mini, “Queen,” filmed in Charleston, S.C., for David Wolper, Bernie Sofronski and director John Erman. Ann-Margret ages from 35-75 in the story. “We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on the location (on May 8),” said Roger Smith. “And when I looked at her in that aging makeup I thought it was our 75th wedding anniversary!” The Smiths now head to N.Y. for meets and rehearsals with Tony and Emmy winner Joe Layton who is creating a new, more intimate show, which A-M bows at Caesars in August.

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