GOOD MORNING: “The Odd Couple” will be back on TV–via a two-hour movie starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman and produced by Howard W. Koch (who produced the feature with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau back in ’67). Randall and Klugman did the series, you recall, from 1970-75. Randall credits agent Abbey Greshler for getting him (and Klugman) 22% of the “Couple.””And as long as it stays on the air (in syndication now, of course), I never have to work again, ” admitted Randall. Instead, he has been channeling his efforts to the National Actors Theater–which will have its one-night show of “The Odd Couple” Feb. 1 at UCLA’s Royce Hall with Randall and Klugman starring. Randall’s doing hefty p.a.’s in town for the show-and-banquet, since the annual budget for the NAT is $ 7 million, with each production costing half a million-$ — although he takes no salary, and actors and craftspeople (including press agent John Springer & Co.) work for minimum or less. “I haven’t really worked in 10 years,” because of his first love (NAT), said Randall–but he just completed a stint for director Carl Reiner in “Triple Indemnity.” The show at Royce will also boast Dick Van Patten, Abe Vigoda, Orson Bean, Bill Macy, Christine Baranski and Mercedes Ruehl , with Harvey Medlinsky directing. A scholarship will be set up for Bruin thesps. And another “Odd” one-niter in Palm Beach will also be a benefit … Jack Klugman made a $ 50,000 contribution immediately to the NAT … Chairs for the UCLA “Couple” night are Robert and Suzanne Wright. Co-chairs include Lod Cook, Robert Daly, Michael Eisner, Peter Guber, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Ovitz, Sidney Sheinberg, Brandon Tartikoff, Norman Brokaw, Merv Griffin and Alex and Johnny Carson. Randall says he guested on “The Tonight Show” with Carson 104 times. And they never spoke for a moment after any of the shows. Nor did Randall call to wish Carson farewell, he admitted. He’s been on with Jay Leno a couple of times–tonight again. And is almost a regular visitor on the Letterman show–once even appeared in his underwear. Randall expects to be able to guest on both Leno and Letterman in the future — not on the same night, natch … Randall says his National Actors Theatre has had success (90% capacity) with its four shows so far, despite getting KO’d by Frank Rich each time. “But Clive Barnes wrote two articles defending us,” added a smiling Randall. What is Randall’s dream show for the NAT? “I’d like to do ‘Oedipus Rex’ one night followed by ‘Pal Joey’ the next night–with the same actor alternating between both.” No, not Randall.
LIAM NEESON WILL STAR in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” for Universal, to shoot in Krakow starting next month. Spielberg’s in post-production on “Jurassic Park” and pal George Lucas will sit in for him while “Schindler’s” shooting. It’s the true story of Oskar Schindler, who saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Hitler nightmare years. The script’s by Steven Zaillian from Thomas Keneally’s book. Spielberg produces along with Gerald R. Molen and Branko Lustig … Add to Michael Jackson’s plethora of appearances — the American Music Awards, the Image Awards and another appearance at the Inaugural at Quincy Jones’ gala on Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial when he may sing “We Are the World”… Jonathan Tisch, a longtime friend of Al Gore whom he’s known from Tennessee (where there’s a Loews Vanderbilt Plaza hotel), will exec produce the “Taste of Tennessee” gala at the Kennedy Center on the 18th from 2-4 p.m. … Harry Thomason’s inaug invitees include Jim Green and Allen Epstein (Green/Epstein) — G/E intro’d Harry to Linda Bloodworth during the making of their “Filthy Rich” pilot … Michael York takes over for Audrey Hepburn on remaining voiceovers for her “Gardens of the World” mini, to start airing on PBS Jan. 21. Her medics wouldn’t permit her to do the vocals. York says he’s known Hepburn “a long time and it’s a privilege to be able to do this for her.”
MORTON’S SHIFTS TO TRUMPS: Peter Morton’s bought Trumps (just across Robertson), will gut it and build a new eatery that’s open for lunch as well as dinner. This past Monday at Morton’s found Twentieth toppers Peter Chernin and Tom Jacobson dining with CAAgents Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Jay Moloney. And before leaving, Chernin and Jacobson juggled a few project talks with this trio: Dolores Robinson, Sandy Gallin and Howard Rosenman … Also at Morton’s, the newly arrived back-in-town Joan Collins and Robin Hurlstone quartetted with Judy and Steve Krantz (for whom Joan did “Sins”) and, back from his “Scrooge” in Birmingham, Leslie and Evie Bricusse … At their regular table, the Davises, Marvin, Barbara and Nancy, with Shakira Caine (Michael’s in London), the George Schlatters and Irving Lazar. Mary L. is recuping and Irving says they’ll host their annual Oscar party at Spago. Also at Morton’s, Deborah Raffin and Michael Viner birthday’d Ambassador Lester Korn and his family. Mica and Ahmet Ertegun arrived late–here for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame festivities. Add late Morton dinner arrivals, Pia Zadora and Tino Barzie.