Selleck wants showbiz to tackle character

GOOD MORNING: “Hollywood is still reluctant and conspicuous by its absence to lend support” to the Character Counts Coalition, notes Tom Selleck. He takes a day off filming Fonda Films’ TNTer “Broken Trust” in Vancouver, wings to D.C. Friday, meets with House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D.-Mo.) and other congressmen to lobby for passage of the House Resolution HJR 366, declaring Oct. 16-22 National Character Counts Week. The Senate has already passed it. And if the House passes it, which seems assured, the president signs and it’s a go. Selleck has been to D.C. four times this year, met with senators pre-passage — also met with White House staff. “It’s a disturbing fact that Hollywood is so far behind the curve,” said Selleck. Among the many national orgs that have signed on to participate actively in the Coalition are Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, Girls and Boys Clubs of America, National Urban League, the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Assn., National Catholic Education Assn., Little League Baseball, 4-H, National Council of La Raza, Assn. for College & University Religious Affairs, etc. The aim: To strengthen the moral fiber of the next generation. Selleck insists he’s not asking for financial support, nor is there “any hidden political agenda.” Yet, he insists Hollywood, “from studio heads to celebrities,” is not showing its support for the collaborative effort “to improve the character of America’s young people based on six core ethical values: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, justice and fairness, and civic virtue & citizenship — the Six Pillars of Character.” He co-chairs with Barbara Jordan. Although Selleck was a GOP supporter in the last presidential campaign, he insists there is nothing political here. And “the issue is not a liberal or conservative issue.” Of course, film and videotapes will be an important part of the program to educate … He insists, “This is not a crusade!”… Selleck has been away from cameras for two years, after three films back-to-back, in order to be with his family. “I was fortunate to have made some (!) money and didn’t want to do pix that were ‘cartoons.’ ” In “Broken Trust,” scripted by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Selleck plays a third-generation judge in a story about corruption in the judiciary. Selleck continues to develop TV shows (not starring him) for U, and features (starring him) at Disney.

CAESARS’ VEGAS SHOWROOM IS DARK this weekend, illness having caused George Burns’ cancellation. And George lingers longer at Cedars-Sinai for added tests … While Caesars’ main showroom is empty, Caesars Sports Pavilion will be packed with 10,000 fans who’ll get a free concert by Bruce Willis and his group, plus Bob Geldof and Stephen Stills — and who knows how many impromptu star performances. Howcum? Sunday’s the opening of Planet Hollywood up there in Caesars’ Forum. In addition to partners Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Willis and Demi Moore, 54 stars, the largest contingent of celebs for any Planet opening, will greet the Vegas bow … John Goodman didn’t want to bring up the subject, but Prince Charles gladly told Goodman he’d seen “King Ralph”– and liked it. The event was the royal preem of “The Flintstones” in London. Goodman was flattered by the royal welcome. At the party following at Bedford Square (renamed “Bedrock Square”), Goodman, who rarely sings in public, warbled three tunes including “Blue Suede Shoes”… John Hughes, who produced and scripted “Dennis the Menace” in ’93, will not be involved in the WB sequel, again exec produced by Ernie Chambers. WB already has a script for the sequel to “Grumpy Old Men”– so guess which sequel Walter Matthau will film first.

GIL CATES GETS HIS STAR on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in upcoming ceremonies. Also to be cemented: Brian Dennehy, Andy Garcia, Chuck Jones, Haskell Wexler, Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless, Hal Linden, Robert Urich, Gladys Knight, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Jay Livingston & Ray Evans, the Temptations, the Who and the Real Don Steele … Castle Rock plus private donations brought in $ 25,000 for the National Resources Defense Council at the preem for “North” at the Acad and the party following a coupla blocks west on Wilshire at Doheny. The movie’s Rob Reiner, Elijah Wood, Jon Lovitz, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mathew McCurley were on hand. Rita Wilson, who cameos, was there with husband Tom Hanks (getting “Forrest Gump” applause). Also there, Castle Rock’s Martin Shafer, Andrew Scheinman and Glenn Padnick … Connie Haines, guestarring at Tuesday’s Big Band night at the Moonlight Tango Cafe, was joined onstage by Jane Russell, Beryl Davis and Rhonda Fleming for a foot-stomping “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

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