‘GH’ preps for AIDS patient’s death

GOOD MORNING: “General Hospital” will lose one of its patients to AIDS in December. Stone Cates, as played by Michael Sutton, will fade during the next few months. The young thesp has voluntarily lost 10 pounds to date and told me he plans to drop another 10. “I want to show the physical change,” he said; to further prove it, Wednesday, he and co-star Kimberly McCollough, who plays his girl friend in “G.H.,” cut his hair to show reaction to chemotherapy following a brain biopsy. During the show’s progression, ABC is also filming an AIDS-aid after-school documentary to air Dec. 7 … The show’s exec producer, Wendy Rich, said the soap and its docu “give us an opportunity to tell a story that will have importance for our audience.” The mail reaction to the story line has been enormous “and supportive,” Sutton said. He plays a heterosexual who contracts AIDS after having unprotected sex during a one-night stand. “We want to let kids know what can happen.” He has been researching the role, visiting hospices, patients. “Everyone is very supportive and open with us.” The show is also assisted by Dr. Stephen Miles of UCLA Medical Center, who consults with them on AIDS; he told Sutton of the hope for a cure in five to six years … Casey Cagney Thomas, daughter of Jimmy Cagney — who lives in a mobile home park in Agoura (and loves it, she assures) — has completed her book, “Hollywood Be Thy Name.” It’s the story of her parents and how Marge Zimmerman moved in “and,” she says, “took over.” Producer Sharon Nye is packaging it for a TV’er and agent Abby Sheeline at Irv Schechter Co. represents. Casey tells me “It took me a long time to realize what was going on because I was so sick.” She has M.S. “It started when I was a teenager.”

WASN’T IT ROMANTIC? It was one of those fabulous nights, the Center Theater Group’s fourth Salon at the Taper, this one celebrating lyricist Lorenz (Larry) Hart. Everybody was somebody at the SRO theater. They later poured over to the Pavilion for a post-party celebration. Hal David, who knows whereof he too writes, opened the evening as co-chair with Anne (Mrs. Kirk) Douglas. Peggy (Mrs. Walter) Grauman chaired. Gordon Davidson reminded that these evenings are dedicated to the memory of Nick Vanoff: a percentage of the benefit goes to Vanoff’s program of “Nick’s Tix,” discount ducats to those who can’t afford ’em … Michael Feinstein again demonstrated his genius — as writer and producer (with Susan Clines); he also sang, accompanied others and wove the show. Gordon Hunt directed. Hart’s words with Richard Rodgers’ music included “Isn’t It Romantic?” (of course) to “Manhattan,” “Thou Swell,” “My Romance,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Where or When,” “Little Girl Blue” (sung as a surprise by Nancy Livingston, who conceived these evenings with Davidson three years ago) … Another surprise singer was June Havoc, who will be 82 on Nov. 8. She winged out from her home in Conn. to sing one of the five songs she intro’d in “Pal Joey,” her first Broadway show. “It was the beginning of my whole everything,” she enthused. She brought her inimitable talent — and a giant fan, which Fanny Brice gave her when June was 5 years old and appeared with Fanny at the Keith Orpheum in SanFran. Havoc waved her diva fan — seeded with old, fluttering feathers — as she sang “I’m a Red Hot Mama” to the delight of the audience. Havoc is still busy on stage, and writing her third book. “I never even got into my adulthood in the first two!”… Lara Teeter was joined for “On Your Toes” by an exuberant tap-dancing troupe from Cal State Fullerton. Other singers included: Jenifer Paz, Monica Mancini, Lorna Patterson and Jason Graae, Michelle Nicastro, Stan Freeman, Mary Cleere Haran, Ted Wass, Ellia English, Yvette Freeman and Scott Bakula. Rodgers’ daughter Mary reminisced about Hart. Dorothy Hart and her son Larry also were on hand to join in/enjoy the applause.

MAKING THE MAJOR JUMP to features from TV is Barbara Taylor Bradford with her book “Love in Another Town” (Harper Collins). Her husband, Bob, is talking to two majors on the project while Barbara’s here p.a.’ing the book, which has 750,000 copies out in its first printing. Her “Dangerous to Know” is headed to the small screen via CBS … PEN Center USA West honors Neil Simon with its Lifetime Achievement Award in Drama, Oct. 21 at U’s Alfred Hitchcock Theater. PEN also honors 10 writers for works published in ’94. Scott Turow m.c.’s … Stanley Kramer, celebrating his 82nd birthday, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Santa Clarita Fest, where daughter Katharine sang the theme from his “It’s a Mad (4) World”… On hand for Madame Wu’s 35th anni: Shirley and Jay Livingston, Burt Reynolds and Charles Durning, Lew Ayres and son Justin. Sylvia Wu started her eatery with $ 9,000. She is special guest aboard the Crystal Symphony’s inaugural China/Orient Cruise … Chez Jay’s Jay Fiondella is recouping following heart surgery … Jerry Katzman addresses the general membership of the Caucus Wednesday at Jimmy’s.

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