Roberts may headline novel film

GOOD MORNING: While Tom Cruise suits up for his legal duties in Par’s “The Firm,” author John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief” is being discussed by ICM for Julia Roberts to star as a leagle at WB. … And Tim Robbins is pitched to be Sharon Stone’s high card in “The Lady Takes an Ace’ for the Charles freres. … Director Philip Noyce is being talked to direct “Sliver” at Par for Bob Evans instead of directing the latter’s “Saint.” Noyce, it’s said, would prefer not to start another big actioner (“Saint”) on the heels of “Patriot Games.””Sliver,” scripted by Joe Eszterhas, would start in September. … “I still think I’m between pictures–but it’s been 20 years,” laughed Fess Parker on the phone from David Berkeley’s deli and wine shoppe in Sacramento, where Fess was signing labels of his Parker Chardonnay. He’s been a successful (as he is with everything!) winemaker since 1989–his labels are in 30 states, and were served at the Ronald Reagan Library bow and Elizabeth Taylor’s recent wedding and at the DisneyWorld Pleasure Island adult entertainment areas. “Every night is New Year’s Eve, complete with fireworks,” he said. Parker was catching a plane to Chi, where tomorrow he cuts the ribbon for their Museum of B’cast Communications’ summerlong tribute, “The Genius of Disney: The TV Years.” Parker started with Walt in 1954 as Davy Crockett. He no longer gets a percentage on the merchandise of Crockett items, he laments. “I don’t know what happened to that contract. I’ll have to look into it.” … Parker told me he’s hoping the Disney Channel buys his “Daniel Boone” shows from Fox (where he settled his suit “amicably” and owns half). … Roseanne and Tom Arnold sang Presley tunes, Sally Kirkland was a go-go dancer at the big bash the Arnolds gave at their ranch for the locals of Ottumwa, Iowa, where they’re filming “Gracedland.” We recently noted that Kirkland got a role originally intended for a male in “Double Jeopardy” and now she gets another previously male-set job in “Gunmen,” with Mario Van Peebles and Christopher Lambert. Daren Sarafian directs.

JASON PRIESTLEY RETURNED TO WORK in “Beverly Hills, 90210” and on the Santa Monica location yesterday and assured me he is “100% OK–but it was scary.” The young star suffered a lung “blip” from hefty exercising and workouts. He reports “everything’s fabulous” with the troupe and he hopes some important social issues will be featured in upcoming segs. The group is skedded to graduate in this year’s finale. And then–they have a second-year contract assured. … Tori Spelling is bicycling between “BevHills” and two guestints in “Melrose Place.” And this weekend tapes MTV’s “Summer Launch Weekend” at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey, hosting with Brian Austin Green. … Chicago and Portland will be mere memories for basketballers July 19-24, when the U.S. Olympic Basketball team takes up residence at Loew’s Monte Carlo hotel pre-training before heading to Barcelona. A highlight of their stay will be a gala dinner at Loew’s ballroom July 20 to be attended by sports fan Prince Albert. Players include Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. … David Horowitz returns to P.S. 64 in the Bronx June 22 to speak to the graduating class–in Spanish, and English. David and fellow 1949 classmates held a reunion recently and got a lot of flak because they chose a Queens site instead of the old neighborhood (where a teacher was shot to death in January). Bronx borough President Fernando Ferrer charged Horowitz and classmates with racism. David will have a chance to demand a retraction–both will be at the graduation! Fight back, Dave. … Sunday, Brooklyn’s Botanical Garden Celebrity Path will add these names: Larry King, Rita Hayworth, the three Ritz Brothers and Stanley Ralph Ross. A granite plaque will bear their monikers among the marigolds, and a parade will add to the “Back to Brooklyn Day.” Sorry about that, Dodgers.

VERONICA HAMEL NIXED TELEPIC OFFERS to head to Chi’s Brian St. boards to star in “Six Degrees of Separation” for a 10-week stand starting July 7. … Joey Heatherton’s start in “Stardust” at the Wilshire was delayed as she and director Henry LeTang started new rehearsals yesterday. It’s now hoped she’ll join the company tomorrow night. … Nick Mancuso rounds out the villains opposing Steven Seagal in WB’s “Dreadnought.” Mancuso wound “Rapid Fire” with Powers Boothe for 20th, and ABC’s “Somebody’s Daughter.” … At the Education First! board meet at WB Wednesday p.m., Paul Rodriguez warned that the riots could happen again through “benign neglect.” The group viewed an upcoming Coca-Cola clip with a thousand kids singing “We Are Tomorrow,” in English and Spanish–part of their $50 million youth campaign. New Education First! chairman/exec officer August Coppola was enthusiastically applauded by the members, part of a very involved industry group aiming to put an end to the hopelessness that young people face in the inner city. … Ronnie and Dick Lippin celebrate their 20th anni today at the Bel-Air hotel Monday, Chuck Norris and Houston furniture-store owner Jim McIngvale–who financed Norris’ “Sidekicks” movie–will distribute 250 mattresses, bed frames, springs to riot victims. The distrib site is the LAPD’s 77th St. Station.

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