Jackson explains his Oscar’s shady past

GOOD MORNING: That giant Oscar that surfaced on the stage of Michael Jackson’s home theater during the interview with Oprah Winfrey was bought from a memorabilia shop “on the Westside, several years ago” and nobody at Jackson’s knows of its origin before their purchase. They say kids who visit the theater are thrilled to see Oscar — as well as the ferris wheel, etc., in the Jackson compound. He’s developing theatrical pix — and who knows, maybe someday he’ll have a real Oscar — on his shelf, not on the stage … Among Jackson’s other plans is a concertrek to China … Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. (“Chaplin”), winding “Heart & Soul” for Universal, is next heading to Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” along with Woody Harrelson … While “The Bodyguard” received two nominations in the original song category –“Run to You” and “I Have Nothing,” the platinum platter “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton wasn’t qualified. She wrote it in 1973. But Dolly’s not really complaining — she recorded it twice, in 1974 and 1982, and it was a hit on the country charts both times. And the Whitney Houston version has brought her royalties from the 4.5 million copies sold … David Foster and Linda Thompson, who wrote the nominated “I Have Nothing” have also written the title tune for “Dennis the Menace,””You’ll Find It in Your Heart.” And Foster’s readying Barbra Streisand’s (Sony) album of B’way tunes. Linda says she’s asked Barbra to loan her an outfit for the Oscars … Jason Patric is in N.Y. meeting with director Arthur Penn about a new B’way version of “Home Before Dark” with Allan Carr, Thom Mount and Bonnie Timmerman producing. It would follow Patric’s “Geronimo” feature.

ICM’SJEFF BERG invited CAA’s Ron Meyer and Bill Haber to lunch yesterday at Kate Mantilini’s and later visited the new ICM h.q. … Lew Wasserman breakfasted yesterday with Henry Kissinger at the Four Seasons. Also there, Sony’s Alan Levine and ICM’s Jim Wiatt … At Morton’s, Tom Selleck and CAA’s Rick Nicita. And William Morris’ Arnold Rifkin and CBS’s Jeff Sagansky. Also at Morton’s, Kiefer Sutherland and producer Mary McLaughlin. Kiefer just directed/starred in her “Last Light” for Showtime … Also at Morton’s, Rebecca DeMornay and Harry Dean Stanton, Barbara Grant and Richard Cohen … Abbey Greshler is at Saint John’s Hospital undergoing tests for pneumonia … Seven-time Grammy winner Anita Baker and husband Walter Bridgforth Jr. named their first-born (Jan. 19) Walter Baker Bridgforth. After taking a hiatus from recording during her pregnancy, Baker soon returns to complete her fifth album for Elektra … Look-alikes of the original “F-Troop” cast — Forrest Tucker, Ken Berry, Larry Storch, Joe Brooks, Melody Patterson and James Hampton — are being sought by writer/producer/director Bob Logan for New Line’s feature version. Logan figures there are three generations of viewers who grew up seeing the originals of the series — and are familiar with their looks. P.S. Logan also plans to cameo the original leads (with the exception, of course, of the deceased Tucker) … Tim Curry plays Ma and Pa Brackett and their daughter Winona for HBO’s “Tales From the Crypt” seg “Death of Some Salesmen,” directed by series producer Gil Adler. Also in the seg are Ed Begley Jr. and Yvonne De Carlo … Diane Ladd will be all over the nation’s screens for the next few weeks; in addition to “The Cemetery Club,” which goes wide this week, Ladd will be on all 2,300 UA Theater screens urging public support of the American Movie Classics Film Preservation Program to restore classic films.

TIME-WARNER BOARD MEMBER MERV ADELSON and attorney Thea Nesis will wed May 30 in a small family ceremony at Aspen … Johnny Grant’s back from a 10-day Moscow visit. He was invited to tell ’em how to promote civic functions (like his Hollywood Blvd. parades). Grant, “Honorary Mayor” of Hollywood, took a fall down two flights of stairs while there and was hospitalized — but says he’s now OK — but bruised. He’s busy plugging Oscar night at the Hollywood Roosevelt, site of the first Oscars, when a time capsule of memorabilia will be buried — the evening benefits the Hollywood Historic Trust … The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Gallery will show a collection of “Hollywood and the Academy Awards” costumes, designs, etc. March 15-May 15. Included is Claudette Colbert’s 1934 “Cleopatra” costume and Annette Bening’s “Bugsy” beaded threads … Bob Wagner and Jill St. John will chair the Women in Show Business 33rd Anni Gala honoring Barbara Sinatra, March 21 at the BevHilton…. Connie Stevens is setting ski celebs for her Ski Extravaganza at Jackson Hole, March 11-14, to benefit physically/mentally handicapped at Stevens’ Center for Independent Living up there … The Starlight Foundation holds its 10th annual gala, “The Child In All of Us,” March 13 at the Century Plaza honoring Arsenio Hall as Humanitarian of the Year and the cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” with the “Children’s Friendship Award.” Barry Manilow, Nancy Wilson, Elayne Boosler and Dave Koz will entertain.

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