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Celebs out of job with gameshow KO

GOOD MORNING: With apologies to Variety’s classic headline — Stix Nix Pix Bigs. Following the fallout in Branson, Mo., of Wayne Newton and David Brenner, now Hollywood guestars Dick Van Patten, Dennis James and Peter Marshall, who were to host “The $ 25,000 Game Show” in Mo Bandy’s Branson Theater, got word the show is KO’d. Van Patten had even rehearsed the gameshow three days in Burbank with extras as contestants …”All of a sudden they canceled me,” Van Patten said. “It was quite a shock. Bob Eubanks called my agent and asked to please let him off the hook. I had a contract but I decided to let it go.” He suddenly got a role in the Renee Taylor-Joe Bologna movie, “Oh No, Not Her.” The Van Pattens were among hundreds of pals who braved Sunday’s blistering heat for Kelly Stone’s Planet Hope fundraiser at the home of Cynthia and Hal Gershman honoring Bill Black, who created a sculpture of a reclining, nude Sharon Stone, who told me she didn’t pose for it –“It was someone younger and prettier.” It sure looked like Sharon! Over $ 50,000 was raised for the homeless from the event, which featured food by some of the town’s leading eateries with their owners/chefs serving celebs in the sweltering sun … Today, Sharon meets with “Casino” director Martin Scorsese, who trains in from the Vegas location scouting of the pic which co-stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Sharon’s Western, “The Quick and The Dead,” follows (in ’95) her recently completed “The Specialist”… Among those at the fundraiser, Tom Arnold, now fully allowing “It’s over” with Roseanne, “but I hope we can be friends.” He’s looking forward to next month’s preem of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “True Lies,” in which he has a major role. The Sunday crowd was surprised to see Faye Dunaway there — you can bet she’ll file suit vs. Andrew Lloyd Webber on several count$ . The suit could be a landmark to discourage legit producers who shutter shows on the drop of a curtain, unlike movie producers who are bound to pay if they KO pix … The Mickey Rooney-Cyd Charisse version of “Sugar Babies” which was to have started rehearsals in May, then June and now — ?”I have a signed contract,” Cyd says. As for a start date, she notes, “I don’t know myself.”

BOB EVANS, WHO STARTED his career as an actor, reads his own book, “The Kid Stays in the Picture” (Hyperion), as it goes out on Dove Audio. Also taping for Dove is another former actor, Ronald Reagan, who joins Presidents Ford and Clinton, each reading about his own state (California, Texas, Arkansas) among the 50 to be described by celebs on the cassette aimed for youngsters. (So far, Jimmy Carter isn’t set) … Another ex-actor-turned producer, Ross Hunter, is finally feeling OK following his bypass surgery, and is starting to write his autobiog, “More Than Pillow Talk”… Universal Tours is already thinking about “The Shadow” as an attraction for next year. The “live””Flintstones” show in this year’s Hollywood Nights on the Universal hilltop is ditto’ing the movie’s success with an SRO sign on its 10-12 performances daily. It’s pretty funny stuff with celeb names in the news parodied daily — Faye Dunaway is called “Clay Dunaway”… Also a big hit on the Universal Nights is the “Spectrablast” laser/pyrotechinic/aquatic show. Also the terrif Pendragons giant magic show … Gladstone’s Bob Morris will be food & beverage manager of U’s Country Star opening Aug. 22 and boasting the world’s biggest jukebox … Joe Stellini will reopen Carroll O’Connor’s BevHills eatery in Sept. as Carson — named for Joe’s best pal Ron Meyer’s baby. And, yes, Ron is among the showbiz investors. Michael Sheehan, formerly of Morton’s, will be chef in the California-cuisine’d Carson … Jay Fiondella’s Chez Jay was packed with Dennis Hopper’s pals after he was toasted at the AFI’s sold out fete at the Laemmle Monica theater. Among Hopper’s buddies at Jay’s: Sean Penn and Kiefer Sutherland.

HUGH O’BRIAN TOOK OFF for China Monday with 45 of his Hoby (Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation) students to meet youngsters in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. O’Brian started his amazing foundation 36 years ago. He’ll be seen as “Wyatt Earp” on CBS’ July 2 “Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone” with other “returns” planned … The symbol formerly known as Prince returned to hang out at the House of Blues following his appearance there a week ago. Today the House of Blues bows its retail outlet with items ranging from art work to Gruhn guitars for sale … Photog Alex Berliner and photo stylist Magda Lavadenz were married June 26 at Campanile. Alex’s pop is photog Alan B., his sisters are Jane B. at CAA and Jill B. at Mitchell, Silverberg and Knupp … Barbara Rush returns to CBS'”All My Children”– as a ghost!

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