Simon says Lansing’s on her way up

GOOD MORNING: Neil Simon scooped us when he announced, “Tomorrow, Army Archerd, in his Daily Variety column, will say, ‘Sherry Lansing, who was just appointed chairman of the motion picture divison of Paramount, resigned today. She felt it was time to move on. She will become president of Warner Bros. and Columbia.’ ” Simon was about to also introduce honoree Lansing as “the future president of the U.S.” at the Big Sisters BevHilton gala where Edward James Olmos was also toasted. Simon moves on to N.Y. today to start rehearsals of the musicalized “Goodbye Girl” and April 25 he will be honored as the N.Y. Friars’ Man of the Year. Simon said all is patched up between him and Alan King and he taped a lengthy seg for King’s the “Comic Mind” series … Among those on hand to applaud Lansing–and Olmos–was Dan Melnick, with whom Lansing teamed on 12 memorable movies. He said he made a pact with Lansing: “‘I’ll call you each night at 6:30 from my office to make sure you’re going home.’ And I’ll go to my home, too. The first night, I called at 7, she was still in her office–and I was still in mine.” If Melnick’s indie financing comes through as anticipated, one of the first projects, “The Examiner,” will ironically be developed with director–Billy Friedkin … Director Mark Rydell, also there, noted his Par pic , “Intersection,” starring Richard Gere, was to have been produced by Lansing. Now, Rydell will wear both hats. “I’ll miss her–she’s a real producer,” he told me. “Not an agent who bought the property (and sez he’s the producer)”… Edward Olmos admitted to the crowd, “My dream is to work with Sherry.” Off screen, he continues to work for the unification of L.A.–film clips pointed up his continuing efforts … Honorary co-chair Stanley Jaffe happily returned to N.Y. Friday ayem, relieved that Lansing was in charge … The charity evening included an auction (Chuck Coulter and Dawn Katsones) with rap intros by a terrif Casanova Ace, Marilu Henner, Isabella Hoffman, Shanna Reed, Ilene Graff, Lisa Raggio, followed by the Ballet Folklorico del Sur. A very funny Paul Rodriguez brought on Robert Young to present to Olmos. The hysterical Rita Rudner, who admitted she wanted to pitch an idea to Sherry, brought on Brendan Fraser (“School Ties”). Teri Garr, despite a fractured ankle, made it on stage to intro Paige O’Hara, as Lansing, who parodied “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” with the Paige Boys. Anne Archer brought on Neil Simon. The night closed with Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. Gail Purse directed the Pierre Cossette-produced show written by Bruce Vilanch and Diane Lander-Simon was the show’s chair. More than $ 325,000 was raised. And last night, Olmos was honored by the Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation. Also honored were Susan G. Stafford, the late Dan Enright and Martin Luther King III.

ON HER WEEKEND OFF PAR’S “SLIVER,” Sharon Stone met with Mario Kassar to talk “The Manhattan Ghost Story,” an original by Ron Bass … Frank Price, whose banner and Savoy Pictures are now shooting “A Bronx Tale,” are readying the $ 20 million “Texas Rangers” for a March start with John Milius directing his script. Price is also readying “Professor Romeo” for Columbia. It’s a college harassment story–set in motion pre-Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas, Price sez. And Jack Epps makes his directorial bow in the Eddie Cochran story, “Summertime Blues,” written by Epps and Jim Cash for Price. Wednesday, Frank chairs the American-Ireland Fund dinner at the BevWilshire honoring Donald O’Connor. The night will raise funds for peace efforts in Northern and Southern Ireland, says Price … Blair Underwood is off to Arizona locations to play a sheriff in “Posse” for director/co-star Mario Van Peebles. Underwood’s first directorial effort, the creative “Second Coming,” was screened at CAA for friends and “L.A. Law” confreres. It’s now being readied for the festival circuit. No, Blair has no intention of directing an “L.A. Law” seg. Underwood sez Steven Bochco “doesn’t allow actors to direct.” Instead, Underwood sez he would direct features, written-produced by his brother Frank Jr. and sister Marlo for the family’s Quiet Fury Prods.

HE DOESN’T RELISH THE IDEA of playing a drug pusher– but Abe Vigoda sez the role as Wesley Snipes’ drug boss, Gus Molino, in “Harlem” is too good to turn down. Snipes segues to “Demolition Man” with Sylvester Stallone, then “Black Panther” and then–what does Joe Roth have in store for a very grateful Snipes? … Jack Lemmon wins the Hollywood Women’s Press Club Louella O. Parsons Award to be presented Dec. 13 … Donald Sutherland was shaken up when the car in which he was being driven to the “Younger & Younger” location was hit broadside by a truck that reportedly ran a red light … KROQ’s Sunday lateniter, “Loveline” starring Poorman (James Trenton), will be piloted by Disney TV … Nicky Blair’s back after playing the boss of a funeral parlor for Robert De Niro in “A Bronx Tale”… Mireille and Peter Noone celebrated their 20th wedding anni–and his 44th birthday–at L’Orangerie. … Michael Jackson, who visited orphans in Romania, hung out backstage with the orphans in the “Annie Warbucks” cast after applauding ’em at the Pantages.

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