GOOD MORNING: The O.J. Simpson trial is becoming a cottage industry — no, a castle industry — for Dove. The label, in addition to its catalog of Simpson-themed books — three completed, several more in the works — is now producing a TV feature, “The Verdict.” It will air as the trial ends and the case goes to the jury. The telepic will have a cast including several of the ex-jurors, three already signed to participate in the final, fictional deliberation, joined by a cast of appropriate actor-jurors. Dove producer/president Michael Viner says he has set Dominick Dunne to sit in with the jury and Vincent Bugliosi will play the prosecuting attorney making the final argument. Tentatively set for the defense is attorney Gerry Spence. The show will be offered for syndication and three different arenas are being considered to show the entire process unfolding in its fictional finale — guilty, innocent or — ?… Among the other Simpson-related books upcoming is the second Faye Resnick tome, “Shattered,” about the aftermath … On another arena of Dove’s catalog is “The Jackson Family Values,” written by Jermaine’s ex-common-law wife of eight years, Margaret Jackson (with Richard Hack), for November publication. She goes to court today seeking to continue child support for her two children. She says he’s the father.
“THIS IS NOT A PUBLICITY STUNT for “Pocahontas,” I am assured. Wayne Newton tells me he is a direct descendant of Pocahontas. And he wants to bring back her remains from a burial site in Graveside (no kidding), England. Newton says his Indian ancestry is “on my father’s side — who was a Powhatan and Irish. And his father was pure Powhatan, his mother was Irish. I found out 10 years ago what an atrocity it was (that she was buried in England). I put two doctors in London to research and they say the church where she was buried burned down and her remains became part of a communal grave.” Newton claims with today’s “forensic knowledge,” it will be possible to find the remains of Pocahontas and to “bring her home to Jamestown where she was born and raised.” Newton asked Dr. Michael DeBakey in Houston to help him to “go in the right direction.” And Newton wants “to be there” when the exhumation happens! I spoke with the outspoken Newton at his new home in Branson, Mo., where he owns a 2,700-seat theater. He does the same show as in Vegas, but adds, “Vegas could take some lessons from Branson.” When Newton is not playing at his Branson house, it will remain dark, he says, “because people are used to you being there — not someone else”… This may be comforting to Elizabeth Taylor, who is recuperating nicely from her second hip surgery: Her attorney Neil Papiano says he is going ahead with a suit vs. NBC, et al., in re “Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story” for “trademark, copyright and property rights”– but not defamation or libel “because the TV show was so saccharine they scratched out any defamation.” However, he is pursuing the defamation and libel suits vs. the book’s author, C. David Heymann … Not everything is about money — often about something important: Last week I reported Julia Roberts was joining the cast of Woody Allen’s new movie to shoot this fall. I forgot to say she is working for scale — on a favored-nation pact along with Diane Keaton, Tim Roth, Sean Penn, Alan Alda, Bette Midler. And Roberts also is working for less than her usual salary in her current movie, “Michael Collins,” in Ireland with Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea and Aidan Quinn, directed by Neil Jordan … Sherry Lansing and Billy Friedkin are off to France this weekend and then on to Florence where he will research the Teatro Communale , where in 1998 he’ll direct the “Wozzeck” opera conducted by Zubin Mehta. “It’s a challenge,” admits Friedkin, now editing Par’s “Jade” and prepping Steve Tisch’s New Line “Jack the Ripper” to hopefully star Anthony Hopkins.
WHEN ANJELICA HUSTON bowed out of the commencement speech at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Art on Sunday, due to illness, Gil Cates SOS’d Quincy Jones, who subbed, having received an honorary degree the day before from the Bruins’ School of Art & Architecture … Lisa and Patrick Swayze celebrated their 20th wedding anni at Drai’s with Roland Joffe, who directed Swayze in “City of Joy”… Among Father’s Day diners at Tra Di Noi in Malibu: David Geffen, Barry Diller and Calvin Klein, Tracy and Tony Danza with their children, Deborah and Jeff Wald with his children, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks … Jane Fonda and Ted Turner dined 10 of her Workout staff in Madame Wu’s VIP room … AmFAR’s “Two-Steppin’ for the Cure” at the BevHilton raised close to $ 500,000 on Saturday. Liza Minnelli, Greg Louganis, Clint Black, Jane Nathanson and Mayor Richard Riordan were honored … Retinitis Pigmentosa’s Vision Awards gala raised $ 250,000 at the BevHilton Friday. Monty Hall’s auction helped fill the coffers with bids like Dennis Quaid’s for a walk-on on “Seinfeld” for wife Meg Ryan.