GOOD MORNING: “It’s the first time I’ve been in Washington when I’m not staying at the White House,” said producer Jerry Weintraub, longtime supporter and friend of George Bush. He’d just returned, however, from a fishing trip with the former president in Aspen. And Weintraub’s wife Jane is up at their Kennebunkport home, which neighbors the Bushes’. Jerry’s in D.C. for Saturday’s start of his “The Next Karate Kid,” which intros 18-year-old Hilary Swank as Pat Morita’s co-star and Constance Towers as her grandmother. Despite Weintraub’s GOP support for Bush, he’s gotten government support for his Col pic — including locations at the Arlington Cemetery, use of the Army band, etc. After this outing at Columbia, Weintraub returns to his WB projects, which include “Pretty Boy Floyd” scripted by Larry McMurtry, and Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”… Nancy Reagan, despite her injured ankle, says she will accompany Ronnie to Saturday’s funeral services for Pat Nixon at Yorba Linda … The Washington Post’s Ben Bradlee is writing two books, an autobiog and another book whose subject is “how to read a newspaper”… Jerry Rafshoon, former member of Jimmy Carter’s D.C. staff, has returned from Morocco and the completion of the four-hour Bible story “Abraham,” title role’d by Richard Harris with co-stars Barbara Hershey as wife Sarah, Max Schell as Pharaoh and Vittorio Gassman as Terah … Roger Williams says he’s lucky to be alive after he was yanked from his car by a duo when he parked at a health food store in the Valley. After Williams was robbed and roughed up by ’em, one of the attackers said, “Let’s kill him now”– just as another car pulled into the parking lot, and the pair fled. Although bruised from head to toe, Williams will make his date with the Milwaukee symph next week.
EVERYBODY WAS SMILING: Sony, Columbia, TriStar, the Motion Picture & TV Fund Foundation toppers and mostly the audience was beaming after attending the preem of “Sleepless in Seattle” at the Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza cinemas. Parading across the street to the Century Plaza Hotel, everyone learned the evening honoring Edie Wasserman had netted $ 2.5 million for the MPTV Fund. Edie, on a cane, recuping from hip surgery, happily made it to the party but viewed the movie earlier. Peter Guber, Mike Medavoy, Jeff Katzenberg (MPTF Foundation chairman) and Roger Davis (MPTF prez) made brief speeches of congrats to Wasserman, and thanks to Sony for underwriting the evening and for adding $ 100, 000 in Sony gear to the fund’s facility. The idea for the night was Nora Ephron’s (“Sleepless” director). Her father, writer Henry Ephron, had spent several happy years at the MPTV Country House. Lew Wasserman expressed his thanks and congrats to his wife as well. Celine Dion, accompanied by David Foster on keyboard, sang the movie’s “When I Fall in Love” to the crowd in the packed ballroom decked in the theme of the movie with N.Y.’s and Seattle’s skyline backgrounds, lighted cutouts of the Empire State Building throughout the room and the Space Needle on one wall. The cast was on hand, led by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Hanks has recuped most of the 35 pounds he intentionally lost for his AIDS-related role in “Philadelphia.” In September he starts “Forest Gump” for Par with Sally Field as his mother, Wendy Finerman producing, Bob Zemeckis directing … At the close of the evening, Nora Ephron said, “Well, the business has finally come to this — my producer’s mother was my school classmate.” Her “classmate” is Jackie (Mrs. David) Foster, whose son is Gary F., producer of “Sleepless in Seattle”… Among the all-industry crowd loving the love story movie were Kathy and Lew (Lord) Grade — celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary.
LOOK FOR MONDAY’S ANNUAL QVC shareholders’ meeting in San Antonio, where chairman Barry Diller will make the annual report, his first statement on the company’s real profitability and their many new areas … Taking a sabbatical from her AFI duties until Sept. 10 is Jean Firstenberg. She says she’ll be driving around the country to see what people are seeing. Her sabbatical is sponsored by a Durfee Foundation Grant … Don Johnson admits he called NBC’s Don Ohlmeyer to get this Sunday’s “Horatio Alger Awards” (43 years old) finally aired. And Ohlmeyer immediately agreed. Johnson, who produces — and also co-hosts along with wife Melanie Griffith and Bob Costas — says of the very moving show, “With all the negativity around, it’s time to show what role models have done and what others can do.” The show airs Sunday at 7 p.m. Johnson, who also produces the Par sitcom version of “Auntie Mame,” says he’ll also play “Mame’s” nephew Patrick Dennis — but only as a voiceover. (Roger Smith played the role in the ’58 movie starring Roz Russell.) … James Clavell tells me he’s “very pleased” that NBC Prods. will present his “Gai-Jin” as an eight-hour mini (10 overseas). He liked their “Shogun” and “Noble House” presentations of his works. He says of the vidversions, “They’re not the books — but remember we’re purveyors of entertainment.” He’s off to Australia, Hong Kong and Japan meets with Mitsui, who partners on the new mini, which he exec produces.