GOOD MORNING: “He IS ‘Spartacus’!” Michael J. Fox extolled Kirk Douglas to me on the set of Universal’s “Greedy,” which is hopefully returning to its original title, “Greed.” Producer Brian Grazer admitted, “I was dumbfounded by his (Kirk’s) strength,” although Douglas is wheelchaired for his role of a multimillionaire. The comedy’s based on the Dickens novel “Martin Chuzzlewitt.” But Douglas’ role of McTeague is from the Frank Norris novel “McTeague,” on which the Erich Von Stroheim “Greed” was based … Douglas only emerges from his wheelchair in a swimming pool where he wrestles Fox. That’s when the younger thesp discovered Douglas is really “Spartacus,” he laughed … Although Douglas wheels the electric chair about with ease, he admits it’s his first time in one — although after the near-fatal chopper crash it was feared he might need one. He still has problems with his knees, he said — but you’d never know it … I met up with Douglas and Fox as Jonathan Lynn was directing a complicated sequence filmed in the Ambassador Hotel lobby, doubling for Douglas’ mansion, complete with two-lane bowling alley and Jacuzzi from which a bikini’d Olivia d’Abo emerged to “soothe” Douglas by leaning his brow on her bosom. Coincidentally, Kirk’s beautiful wife Anne arrived on the set to lunch with her husband … Kirk is delighted with the comedic role. “At first you don’t like him,” he said of his character, “then you really get to — hate him!” Director Lynn doubles in the movie by playing Douglas’ butler, and Lowell Ganz — who scripted with Babaloo Mandel — plays the TV director boss of Nancy Travis … Fox next directs himself in “30 Wishes” for Universal to film in L.A. I asked Fox howcum he does not appear (on screen) with Christopher Lloyd in Universal Studios Hollywood’s sensaysh “Back to the Future” attraction? “I was there for the opening with Steven Spielberg, ” he reminds, but Fox says he didn’t want to be a permanent, pictorial part. “I don’t like to be on lunch boxes,” he explained … Olivia d’Abo, whom I recently saw on the “Clean Slate” set with Dana Carvey, rejoins Carvey in “Wayne’s World II.””I play ‘Garthette,’ ” she said, screwing up her face in typical Garth fashion. “Dana’s a genius,” she added … As I left the giant set created in the vacant hotel, I walked past the door of the Cocoanut Grove. A sign forbade my going in, but I opened the door a crack. Barred by a wall and darkness, I imagined Freddie Martin’s music — and Merv Griffin’s voice — were sealed in there forever.
MAE WEST’S 100TH BIRTHDAY is toasted Tuesday and Wednesday at Mann’s Westwood theater with “My Little Chickadee” and “I’m No Angel” screened the first night, and the second night unspools “She Done Him Wrong” and “Belle of the Nineties.” Mann Theatres and MCA/Universal Home Video sponsor … In order to get Gene Hackman to sign as Sharon Stone’s co-star in “The Quick and the Dead,” TriStar shifted the locale from Durango to Tucson. Sam Raimi directs … Shirley MacLaine, David Kirkpatrick and writer Bob Harling at Morton’s talking “Evening Star,” the sequel to “Terms of Endearment”– for which a role for Jack Nicholson is being written. There are three top femme roles and Jessica Lange will be paged for one of ’em in Kirkpatrick’s Par project … Paul Mazursky and Brenda Vaccaro are called “Herb” and “Nora” in “Love Affair.” Barry Miller joins the cast of the Warren Beatty-Annette Bening co-starrer … There’s so much production going on in town, equipment’s at a premium, we’re told … Stand back , here comes “The Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills” with Beverly D’Angelo in the title role. Philippe Mora directs for Experimental Pictures, which wrapped “Art Deco Detective or The Politically Incorrect Acts of the Hyena.”
“IT’S NOT A VENDETTA,” says Cass Warner Sperling of “Hollywood Be Thy Name” (Prima/St. Martin’s), the book she’s written with Cork Millner and Jack Warner Jr. Cass is the granddaughter of Harry Warner and she tells me her story of the Warner freres could have been called, “Cain and Abel Go to Hollywood to Create Camelot — Told Jewish Godfather Style.” She claims “Jack betrayed his brothers — he talked them into selling — and he broke Harry’s heart.” In researching/writing the book, Cass feels she’s “managed to bring some of the family back together.” Fascinating family, fascinating reading … Cass carries on the family tradition with her own production company, Warner Sisters. And she is also developing “The Warner Boys Story” as a mini — or feature … Sandra Bernhard packed ’em in at Buzz mag’s Chateau Marmont salon reading of segs from her book, “Love3” (HarperCollins). Authors on hand included Dominick Dunne who launched the series of salon readings with his “Season in Purgatory.” Also there , Jackie Collins and Pamela Des Barres. Bernhard returns as Nancy on “Roseanne” next season … Lois and Jim Garner celebrate their 37th wedding anni with close friends at Granita … Montel Williams inked a three-year deal with St. Remo to license a Signature Collection of shirts in his name — everything from formal to casual wear. Keep your shirt on.