Things going swimmingly for Williams

GOOD MORNING: Esther Williams was swimming laps with Atlanta’s Mayor Andrew Young at the Fort Lauderdale “Swimming Hall of Fame” when Young told Williams of the success he’d had improving the lives of deprived youngsters in his city–by building city swimming pools. Why not in L.A.? wondered Williams–and encouraged Young to talk a similar program with L.A.’s Tom Bradley–he will, next week. Esther was born in a house near Manchester and Vermont and went to Washington High. “This is my hometown, and I’m saddened by what’s happened,” she says. Today, Esther’s back at the site where she was paged to work at MGM. She’ll be at Bullocks Wilshire this afternoon–behind the boarded-up, blasted-out windows, showing the ’93 line of Esther Williams Swimsuits. “I was working here on the fourth floor when Johnny Hyde told me Louis B. Mayer wanted to talk a contract with me,” Esther laughs. “I said, ‘No show business for me–it’s too unstable.’ ” Today, Mayor Bradley plaques Williams for her contributions. … Tuesday night at the BevWilshire, Quincy Jones was awarded the “Spirit of Liberty Award” from the People for the American Way, and those paying him tribute ranged from Stanley Sheinbaum to rap stars L.L. Cool J and Freedom Williams. Robin Williams, straight from the “Toys” set, brought down the house with his impersonation of–John Wayne evolving into President Bush, then visiting the ghetto. A six-minute reel of Jones’ involvements with the community was prepped by Courtney (Mrs. Steve) Ross, who had also produced the “Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones” feature docu. Time Warner donated $ 100,000 to kick off a racial Tolerance Mentoring Project, and $425,000 was raised by the event for the org. Norman Lear and Herbie Hancock saluted Quincy, as did Jones’ protege, 16-year-old singer Tevin Campbell and Jones’ daughter Rashida, also 16. Sinbad and Take 6 also entertained the crowd, which included Clint Eastwood, Chevy Chase, Shelley Duvall, Sidney Poitier and Jones’ steady, Nastassia Kinski. Last week, when Jones met Mikhail Gorbachev, he told him of his plans (now jelling) to film the Pushkin movie. Gorby was pleased.

FROM CANNES, DAVID LYNCH, there with “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” satellited an appearance to the Museum of B’casting in N.Y., where the Lynch/Frost “On the Air” (ABC) was screened for VIPs and press. Lynch chose to appear for a Q&A–upside down, since the show is a takeoff of a wacky 1957 TV series And talking of offbeat shows–Sunday, Fox airs, “live,” the “Please Watch the Jon Lovitz Special,” with guests including Sharon Stone, Rob Reiner, Alex Rocco, Ed O’Neill, Robert Goulet, Mel Allen and a few surprises. Don Mischer directs the Brillstein/Grey show, exec produced by Alan Zweibel, Lovitz and Grey , with Rita Dillon producing. … Barbara Eden and Tony Randall join Marilyn Quayle in Seville Sunday for the opening of the U.S. Exhibit. … Holly Robinson, who plays Diana Ross in the “Jacksons” mini, is Wesley Snipes’ wife in “Money Man” and co-stars in the new ABC series “Hanging With Mr. Cooper.” But first, the multitalented Robinson wings to Paris to cut an album. They love her over there from “21 Jump Street,” which airs nightly. … Young Matty Rich (20) has a development deal with Mike Medavoy at TriStar. … Jennifer Beals co-stars in the new Spelling “2000 Malibu Road” series. … The Pacific Pioneer B’casters salute Armed Forces Radio Services on their 50th anni tomorrow at the Sportsmen’s Lodge. The program includes clips from classix such as “Dragnet,””The Great Gildersleeve, “”The Edgar Bergen Show,””Baby Snooks,” enacted by radio vet performers.

KEITH CARRADINE AND DEE HODY depart B’way’s “Will Rogers Follies” for the road company Saturday, and Pierre Cossette farewell-parties ’em. And on Monday (18), Pierre also fetes Mac Davis, who takes over for Carradine. … Olivia Newton-John is off to Monte Carlo and the World Music Awards today. She co-hosts with Cliff Richard, then continues to Italy and England to promo her new album before winging to Rio and the Earth Summit confab in her capacity as goodwill ambassador to the U.N. Environment Programme. … Robert Wuhl and Billy McNamara signed with the Gersh Agency. … Daniel Stern inked with CAA. … John Cusack inked with Wm. Morris. … Dan Enright’s Barry & Enright Prods. signed with Richard Lawrence of Abrams-Rubaloff. … Lawrence Agent Jerry Adler and Sandra Bonjour were married May 1 at the Bel-Air Hotel. … Peter McAlevey and wife Candace welcomed son Sean Montgomery April 24 at Cedars-Sinai. … Hal Ross’ son Matt married Sari Stabler May 9 at the Armand Hammer Museum. Hal’s wife Marcia’s daughter Melissa Goddard had two films bow over last weekend–“Poison Ivy” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry, They Get Even.” … The Aesculapians Ball tonight at the Fox lot benefits UCLA’s School of Medicine. Jay Leno, Kenny G, Robin Williams (he’s busy!) and Michael Bolton headline the event, chaired by Barry Diller, Michael Eisner and Michael Ovit. … “Forever Plaid” entertains at Sunday’s Concern Foundation Rodeo Dr. Block Party, and on the 28th at 5 p.m., “Plaid” performs a special benefit, with all proceeds going to Red Cross Disaster Relief and the L.A. Emergency Fund.

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