Clinton keeps pre-presidential promise

GOOD MORNING: President Clinton, taking a break from his taxing day Tuesday, greeted Robert Townsend in the Oval Office and reminded the thesp, “We’ve met before.” It was ’83 in Little Rock when Clinton visited “A Soldier’s Story” company, shooting a sequence there for the politically liberal-messaged movie. Townsend, who co-starred with Denzel Washington and Howard Rollins in the WWII Army camp drama, entertained extras between takes with his standup. On the set, Clinton took a picture with Ron Schwary, who produced with Norman Jewison and Patrick Palmer. Schwary told Clinton, “When you run for president, I’m going to send you this picture and ask for your autograph.””If that happens,” said then-Gov. Clinton, “you send it — and I’ll sign it.” Schwary sent him the photo last week … Hillary Rodham Clinton came down to the Oval Office from the Hill, where she was working on her health program. Tipper and Al Gore also joined the president as he talked with Townsend and MGM’s senior VP of production and marketing, Kathie Berlin, a Clinton campaign-and-inaugural star searcher. They were there for “The Meteor Man” meanderings. All in the Office posed with “Meteor Man” caps. Gore asked for more of ’em. “We have four kids,” he laughed. (A print of “Meteor Man” will, of course, go to the White House.) … Townsend also appeared in the Great Hall of the Justice Department, where he introduced Janet Reno as “My Wonder Woman.” She said, “Thank you, Mr. Meteor Man.” Townsend helped ignite the day’s activities for Night Out, D.C.’s program against crime and violence. Townsend launches his weekly Fox entertainment show next month opposite “60 Minutes,” and one of his first skits is –“Six Minutes”… Being around the Hollywood contingent, Hillary Clinton confirmed they’d learned that John Grisham is a 16th cousin of the president. “Finally,” she said, “A relative with MONEY!”

VARIETY TV SHOWS ARE NOT DEAD and Pierre Cossette’s out to prove it. Cossette’s company entered into a co-venture with Madison Square Garden Prods. to create a weekly variety show from the Paramount Theater in the MSG complex. “It’s a brand new concept,” says Cossette. It’s being written by Buz Kohan with sets by Bob Keane. The pilot tapes “live” in early December for network, cable or syndie, with established and “discovery” talent. Pierre has a record of both variety series and spex with every name in the biz. He thinks this is “the perfect time”… Tommy Tune gets his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame Aug. 12, in advance of his bow in (Cossette’s) “Tommy Tune Tonite” at the Wilshire, Sept. 7 … Now at the Curran in SanFran, Tune took time to choreo a dinosaur number, “Dinah Soar” for the hysterical “Beach Blanket Babylon” revue at the Club Fugazzi. Kenny Mazlow and Dana Atkins are soft shoe-ing the “Dinah” number inside a 12-foot bright green dinosaur. “Babylon” celebrates its 20th anni May 24, with a gala at the S.F. Opera House … Jack Palance’s salary for “City Slickers II” is triple the original. Susan Smith’s his agent … John Avildsen reportedly gets over $ 2 million for Joel Silver’s “Richie Rich,” starring Macaulay Culkin. Avildsen and wife Tracy Brooks Swope are happily expecting their first child, a girl, in October. Coincidentally, Swope stars in Henry Jaglom’s “Baby Fever,” in which the ladies talk about having babies. Another star of the pic, previously noted here as expecting, is Frances Fisher … Phyllis Diller, as a burly biker’s mother, joins Larry Linville and Tina Louise in “West From North Go South.” Diller also plays a paramedic assistant in a “Blossom” seg to be directed by the returning Bill Bixby.

RICHARD NIXON’S PRESIDENTIAL library in Yorba Linda is the site for tonight’s toast to Lucasfilms’ ILM, Silicon Graphics Softimage and Alias for their work on “Jurassic Park,” which will be shown in the presidential theater as well … The Permanent Charities Committee raised $ 100,000 for the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program Monday as Lilly Tartikoff, Sherry Lansing and Ron Perelman chaired “Evening at the Net” at the Bruins’ tennis center. As promised, Andre Agassi and Dustin Hoffman teamed to play Chris Evert — joined by the very funny Andrew Shue. Pierce Brosnan, PCC’s ambassador for women’s health issues, moved the crowd with an appeal to cure the disease — which killed his wife … Over at the Bel Air Hotel, an overflow crowd cheered Saks Fifth Avenue’s “Overture Opening Night” fashion show benefiting the Music Center’s Unified Fund. A dizzying parade of models displayed 80 “opening night” evening gowns, featuring the creations of designers Christian Lacroix, Bill Blass, Badgley Mischka , Richard Tyler, Mary McFadden, Donna Karan, Karl Lagerfeld, Carolina Herrera, Pauline Trigere, Jimmy Galanos, Arnold Scaasi, Ralph Lauren, Chloe and many more … Garry Shandling and fiancee Linda Doucett unveil her layout(!) in September Playboy at the Mansion tonight. Doucett, who plays Darlene Schlepini in HBO’s “Larry Sanders Show,” says, “I think every woman imagines being in Playboy. Now that life imitates art, we’ll see if the crew treats me differently at work.”

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