Mandela rallies support of celebs, politicos

GOOD MORNING: Peter Guber hosts a private dinner party for Nelson Mandela tonight on the patio of the Thalberg Building on the Sony lot. It is only one of two such evenings requested by Mandela during his U.S. stay. The other U.S. host requested by Mandela was David Rockefeller, who presented a dinner at the Rainbow Room in N.Y. The selection by Mandela of Guber on the coast is indeed an honor for the Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman/CEO and for the showbiz community. Mandela is, of course, seeking support for free elections — but it’s also believed he will run for president of South Africa next year. Among those Mandela asked to meet at tonight’s party: Muhammad Ali, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Barbra Streisand, Jack Nicholson, L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, former Mayor Tom Bradley and leading L.A. business people in the group of 150 … Disney’s Frank Wells is back in town from his China and Japan trek to talk expansion plans in those two giant showbiz markets … First job for Glenda Jackson when she’s on vacation from her seat in Britain’s House of Commons — to record Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” for Dove Books on tape with producer Deborah Raffin. She just returned from London where she also talked with Ben Kingsley to record “Tarzan” as well as “A Child’s Garden of Verses.” The Home Shopping Network is talking an airing deal for Dove’s library of tapes … John Le Carre’s “The Night Manager” (Knopf) was almost set with Sydney Pollack at Par by John Calley, who’ll produce with the author, but it would have been three years before Pollack was available. So Calley and Carre are going the longform route and are talking to HBO, Turner and CBS. Carre (r.n. David Cornwell) had good luck with minis on his “Smiley’s People,””Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” While here, Calley’s also delivering to Columbia, “Remains of the Day” starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Calley and Mike Nichols will reteam on “Fatherland” for HBO and “The Simple Plan” at Savoy.

PRODUCER’S DELIGHTFUL DILEMMA for Pierre Cossette: Tommy Tune plays Costa Mesa July 13, 14. And “Will Rogers Follies” (also directed by Tune) previews at the Pantages July 13, opens on the 14th. It’s Tommy’s call for Pierre … Michael Levine, reaching his car parked on a side street after departing the Groundlings Theater, was met by two would-be thieves, one pointing a gun in Levine’s face. The press agent took flight up the street. He tripped and the thieves chose to drive away. Police arrived 25 minutes later, lamenting to Levine there aren’t enough cops. They also told him he was lucky to be alive. P.S. The Groundlings theater called him yesterday, said they’re starting valet parking service … Harrison Ford, who underwent knee surgery in Jackson, Wyo., last month, is here, on crutches, visiting his father, Christopher, who is recuping from aneurism surgery. Harrison’s due to start “Clear and Present Danger” in October. It’s his third action pic in a row (preceded by “The Fugitive” and “Patriot Games”). He’s looking for a romantic comedy to follow “Danger”… Eddie Murphy, who’ll start “Beverly Hills Cop 3” in September, is off to the Montreux jazz fest on the 13th when he’ll perform with his group, the Psychedelic Psoul … Nathan Cavaleri, the sensaysh 10-year-old Aussie blues guitarist, signed by producer David Permut to star in New Line’s “Surviving the Game,” sat in last night at a jam session at Roxbury. Permut says, “He’s a young kid with an old soul”… Phyllis Diller celebrates her 76th birthday at next week’s North Shore Playhouse stand in Beverly, Mass. She says her lucky number’s seven. “I was born 7/17/17, ‘Phyllis’ has seven letters in it.

SPORTS NOTES: Jack Lemmon, Tony Danza, Beau Bridges, John Forsythe, Joanna Kerns, Chuck Norris, Andrew Shue, Vanna White, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Telma Hopkins are presenters on the “Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Awards” show “live” on ABC from the Wiltern Monday. Garth Brooks contributes a salute to Lifetime Achievement Award winner Joe DiMaggio. Mark Curry hosts … Tom Selleck, Bill Murray, Denzel Washington, James Belushi, Dan Marino, Florence Griffith Joyner, Ahmad Rashad and Michael Jordan are some of the celebs/athletes participating in the celeb Home-Run Challenge at Oriole Park Monday, the eve of the All-Star Game. It’s all for charity, part of the Upper Deck All-Star FanFest … George Foreman was toasted by Barney Oldfield, roasted by Rodney Dangerfield and sports stars at the Sheraton Universal Wednesday night when $ 100,000 was raised for the George Foreman Research Fellowship at the City of Hope … The August issue of Life features lost snapshots from Elvis Presley’s Army years in Germany. Touching … Sally Kirkland and co-star Jim Brolin will appear at tonight’s and Saturday’s screening of their “Cheatin’ Hearts” (formerly “Paper Hearts”) at the Mann Theater Exchange in Glendale to benefit the Institute for Individual and World Peace … Lisa and Alan Nierob welcomed their first, son Jacob Benjamin, July 7 at Cedars-Sinai … KROQ-FM’s Morning Show producer Maria D’Arcangelo married manager/producer Howard Lapides July 4.

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