London gaining legit popularity

GOOD MORNING: Now that Britain’s Andrew Lloyd Webber has brought “Sunset Boulevard” to London, B’way’s Neil Simon told me he’s thinking of writing “London Suite” to follow his “Plaza” and “California” Suites … And Hollywood’s Blake Edwards sez he’s now thinking about bowing his musical version of “Victor/Victoria” in London instead of B’way. His wife, Julie Andrews, is to repeat her movie role — but her co-star (in the Robert Preston role) has yet to be set — and rehearsals are to begin after the first of the year. Leslie Bricusse and Henry Mancini have written seven songs with maybe five more to come , sez Edwards. The musical duo did the movie as well. And Mancini’s July 23-24 Hollywood Bowl concerts with the L.A. Philharmonic, honoring the 30th anni of “The Pink Panther” pix on which Blake Edwards and Mancini teamed, will be celebrated with clips of past “Panthers” plus the upcoming “Son of the Pink Panther”… Glenn Close, who’ll star in “Sunset Blvd.” when it bows here at the Shubert Dec. 2, started filming “The Paper” yesterday in N.Y. for director Ron Howard co-starring Michael Keaton and Marisa Tomei. Close is also in vocal training for the “Sunset” start of rehearsals here Sept. 22. And as of now, it doesn’t look like she’ll hop over to London to see Patti LuPone and company … The tragic death of Will Rogers Jr. has saddened us all but plans are unchanged for the celebrations of Wednesday’s opening of the “Will Rogers Follies” at the Pantages, where Rogers’ younger brother Jim is expected to attend. Will Jr. was at the N.Y. bow … President Clinton’s vacationing at the Kahala Hilton, a favorite hotel of many Hollywood toppers during Christmas-New Year’s, when you can make a deal sitting around poolside … July 22, the National GOP Committee toasts Ronald Reagan at Chasen’s … And the National Republican Senatorial Committee holds a “Hollywood Salute” to Charlton Heston July 23 at Paramount’s new N.Y. Street … People for the American Way launches an organized challenge to the religious right with an evening at Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s Aug. 4, with Randy Newman as musical guest. Hosts include Barbra Streisand, David Geffen, Lyn and Norman Lear, Peggy and Tom Pollock and Evelyn and Mo Ostin.

PETER FALK AGES FROM 75-107 in “Roommates,” in which he plays a baker. Oscar-winning makeup artist Oscar Cannon does the transformation and I saw the makeup test — and didn’t recognize Falk! He was going to shave his head — but with a “Columbo” start to follow, he’s decided on a very short haircut and appliances. He’s due to get in the dough at the La Brea Bakery this week for a lesson by baker Nancy Silverton. Director Peter Yates was told an 84-year-old man is a regular there at 5 ayem every Saturday — to bagel-bake … The David Janssen Fan Club holds its convention Aug. 26-30 at the Hollywood Roosevelt. And David’s mom, Berniece, adds that another, international Janssen fan club meets Sept. 19 in Republican City, Neb., and a Nebraska theater will be named for David, who grew up in the Harlan-Franklin County area. Berniece has a role in the new “Fugitive” movie. And coincidental with the 30th anni of “The Fugitive” TV series and the bow of the feature starring Harrison Ford is publication of “The Fugitive Recaptured” (Pomegranate Press), Ed Robertson’s “companion” to the TV classic. The print order was doubled as the book went on the presses! Everyone involved with the hit series contributed to the story behind the David Janssen classic now getting a rebirth on the bigscreen … Sign that the nets are looking for more family-oriented stories: ABC has greenlighted “Sandra Gets a Life,” the Life mag story about the Boston welfare mother who put herself through Wellesley. Life’s L.A. bureau chief Jim Calio and Mel Harris (“thirtysomething”) got WB to option it originally … Showtime set Scott Glenn to star in “Race the Dark,” which Graham Clifford directs. Anthony LaPaglia and Lara Flynn Boyle join Glenn in “Race.”

FIRST TO DUET ON FRANK SINATRA’S upcoming Capitol album is Luther Vandross. Second is Elton John … Barbara and Frank celebrated their 17th wedding anni at Chasen’s Saturday night — guest Steve Lawrence sang with the Page Cavanaugh Trio … Tony Martin is toasted by the Friars on his 80th birthday, Dec. 11 (Martin’s actual birthday is Christmas Day) … Bernard Erpicum, maitre d’ at Spago, has left the Sunset Strippery to plan his own eatery. He started with Wolfgang Puck back at Ma Maison and sez he’s grateful to Puck, Patrick Terrail and (the late) Pierre Groleau. Bernard’s completing his second video, “Celebrity Guide to Entertaining at Home,” with Whoopi Goldberg, Merv Griffin, Teri Garr, Peter Weller, Rod Steiger, Steven Seagal, Kelly LeBrock, Tony Curtis, Joe Regalbuto, Ed Begley Jr., etc., and he’s written a Time Warner book on food and wine … Jackie Bisset, back after three pix in seven months on four continents, is reactivating her Jacquet Prods. here … All in the family: Jenji Kohan (23), daughter of Buz and Rhea K., joins the writing staff of “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Her brother David (29) is a story editor on Shelley Long’s “Good Advice” series.

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