Short Takes

Longtime employee Ben Grant has retired from Universal Pictures Feature Distribution department after 24 years in various capacities at the company. Grant was most recently manager of the contract/playdate department, where he handled all license arrangements between the studio and theaters. His responsibilities will be assumed by Mary Costello, director of administration and Gary Chong, director of sales administration.

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Will & Co.’s “Shakespeare ‘Til You Drop”24-hour “Bardathon” will be held at Paramount Studios on Stage 11 from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday. Fund-raiser benefits Will & Co.’s touring education program, which takes classical literature to children and audiences throughout California in English, Spanish and sign language. For information, call (310) 798-6290.

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Action star Dolph Lundgren announced the formation of Thor Pictures, which will develop features for him to produce and star. The company has named Mikela Walter as development director for Thor. Initial projects on the company’s slate are the action/adventure feature “Pentathlon” and the international spy thriller “Code Blue.”

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Producer Arnold Shapiro will conduct a daylong seminar at UCLA titled “Developing and Selling Television Movies: Docudramas, Fiction and Miniseries” at 10 a.m. Saturday. Guest speakers will include Sunta Izzicupo (CBS), Betsy Newman (TNT), J.J. Jamieson (NBC), and producers Sandy Brice, Marcy Gross, Jack Grossbart and Bruce Sallan.

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The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood will be the new home of Actors Alley Repertory Theatre. A fund-raiser hosted by Burt Reynolds and Loretta Swit will take place at the historic theater Saturday. Edward Asner, Peter Fonda, Walter Koenig, Lee Meriwether and William Windom are expected to attend. The theater, built in the ’30s, is the San Fernando Valley’s first movie palace. For information, call (818) 508-4200.

Three entertainment lawyers Peter Martin Nelson, Alfred Kim Guggenheim and Patti C. Felker have joined forces to create the law firm Nelson, Guggenheim & Felker. The new firm’s client roster includes Walter Matthau, Charles Matthau, Penelope Ann Miller, Brendan Fraser, Digital Underground and Kevin Pollak, among others.

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Orion Home Video is set to sink its fangs into five vampire titles but fans won’t have to give blood to see them with a suggested retail pricetag of $ 9.98. Pix include comedy “Love at First Bite” with George Hamilton and Susan Saint James; erotic thriller “The Vampire Lovers” with Ingrid Pitt and Pippa Steele; urban classic “Blacula” with William Marshall and Denise Nicholas; sci-fi adventure “Planet of the Vampires” with Barry Sullivan and Norma Bengell; and “The Return of Count Yorga” with Robert Quarry and Mariette Hartley. The collection arrives at video outlets on June 16.

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