GOOD MORNING: Forget the glitz of Las Vegas’ Caesars, the allure of London’s Palladium or an awesome television audience for George Burns’ 100th birthday party. Irving Fein has been getting calls from all over the world requesting the site. But George has chosen to have his birthday celebration near his Beverly Hills home — at the Four Seasons hotel — and the night, Jan. 16, will be a charity affair to be long remembered. The Burns and Allen Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will be established from proceeds of the dinner. Guests will comprise the hospital’s largest donors. Diners will be limited to 300 of the community’s heaviest hitters, and million$ are expected to be raised, George himself, making a large contribution — as he has to this and other charities, such as the Motion Picture-TV Hospital. … Ten years ago, George Burns Road was dedicated leading to Cedars-Sinai, and one year ago, Gracie Allen Blvd. was opened, the two streets, Burns and Allen, coming together appropriately as Burns & Allen corner … So what’s George gonna do Jan. 20, his actual birthday? He’ll have a family dinner in the same house in which he’s lived for 60 years — 29 of them with Gracie, who died in 1964 … The town rocked with the news of musical mayhem late last week — and it was ironic that I bumped into a very happy Mo Ostin, former WB Records chairman and now Dreamworking at MCA, at a social event hours after the WB-Michael Fuchs exit and Ostin pal Doug Morris’ elevation at MCA. Ostin made no secret of his feelings about Gerald Levin’s musical chairmanship. I met up with Ostin at the 75th birthday dinner of longtime friend, attorneyMickey Rudin, at Il Giardino, hostessed by Rudin’s wife Mary Carol. I asked Mickey, who has kept a low profile while repping some of the industry’s top names over the years (Sinatra, Liza, Desi-Lucy, Cher, etc.) whether he, too, will write a book. Not a chance, sezze. Asked his opinion of the recent plethora of prose pacts made by the O.Jurists, a reflective Rudin predicted their books would bomb. Joe Sinay, who also celebrates his 75th birthday (in 19 days), said he and Rudin would toast 160 years of birthdays together — in five … Later that same evening at the post-preem party of “Casino” (I’d seen the movie earlier) the casually sweatered Ron Meyer was escorting his mother. Ronnie was in great spirits (thanks to reaction to the pic), despite his day’s earlier MCA musical chairplay with Al Teller resigning because of “philsophical differences” with Meyer. It’s expected there will now be other MCA departures because of ditto differences.SHARON STONE, now an early contender for the Oscar nomination race for “Casino”–“a corker of a performance,” says Daily Variety‘s Todd McCarthy — is next eyeing the small screen, but to produce “The Jan Paine Story” for her banner. Smart Sharon, keeping her bag of thespian tricks balanced, also was the first to volunteer to TV guest — on the Muppets’ ABC show in March. Stone’s also completed dramatics in “Last Dance,” which will screen in May, followed by “Diabolique.” As in N.Y., Faye Dunaway was complementing Stone and it seemed natural they could be a director’s delight as film co-stars. “We could be sisters,” Dunaway volunteered. How about adversaries? …”Casino” director Martin Scorsese received added plaudits as a birthday cake was wheeled out at the party to toast his 53rd. Cast members including Jimmy Woods were on hand to give congrats. By the way, Stone told me she and Woods ad libbed many of their scenes. Damned effective ad libbing! … The great White House sets ( Lilly Kilvert and ) Castle Rock built for “The American President” switched from Michael Douglas’ residence as president to Anthony Hopkins’ as ‘Nixon,” and next to Bill Pullman as president in “Independence Day”– and is next targeted for “Mars Attacks!”… When the White House Christmas tree is lit Dec. 6, Jack Jones, Kathie Lee Gifford, a children’s choir and a military band will serenade the First Family with carols … The “Diva of TV shopping,” QVC’s senior hostess Kathy Levine, will be on hand for the Nov. 28 “super host” auditions at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to find more m.c.’s for the shopnet. “Three of our hosts are pregnant,” said (the single, nonexpectant) Levine, who has a record of 7,000 hours of live vidpitching, including $ 100 million in sales with Joan Rivers. Levine warns prospective hosts, “Actors are not always the best salespersons. A salesperson is usually your best salesperson.” How about waiters and waitresses (actors and actresses)? JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT it was safe — the zombies are coming back. RKO’s Ted Hartley and Ed Scherick are teaming for 1996 versions of the classic RKO horror pics — including the 1943 “I Walked With a Zombie,” which starred (the ever-beautiful) Frances Dee and Tom Conway. They’ll shoot in zombie-land — New Orleans — on $7 million-$9 million budgets, sez Hartley. No, his wife-partner-actress Dina Merrill will not be zombie-fied … Producer Arthur Cohn, here with his “Two Bits,” which was picked up by Miramax, credits the L.A. crix and AFI screenings for getting his pic, starring Al Pacino and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, the Miramax distribution. He reminds that his 1970 “Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” now deemed one of the 100 best all-time films, was turned down by 17 distribs until seen here by press pics aficionados. “Films like this need encouragement,” he urges.
2016-2017 Oscar Predictions
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