Hanks hosts AFI’s Spielberg salute

GOOD MORNING: Tom Hanks, who continues to win accolades for his work each year, in turn toasts another winner, industry titan Steven Spielberg, as Hanks hosts the AFI’s Lifetime Achievement Awards salute to Spielberg March 2 …”Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story” started filming Monday in the home where Elizabeth and Michael Wilding once lived. Sherilyn Fenn plays Taylor, Nigel Havers plays Wilding. And yes, Taylor’s other husbands, Nicky Hilton, Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher , Richard Burton, John Warner and Larry Fortensky, will all be portrayed, said producer Lester Persky on the set Monday. Yes, Debbie Reynolds will also be portrayed. There’ll be a cast of 100 and 160 locations. Persky says the mini will go “up to the near-present, because I don’t know what’s happening tomorrow. I pass her door every day on my way to work — but I don’t look in.” Persky says the treatment of Taylor “will be balanced with her charitable works”… What would Elvis Presley be doing if he was here in his 60th year? asks his Tennessee pal Pat Boone. “He’d be performing, like I am. He’d also be on the Easter Seals Celebration ’95,” says Boone, who is hosting for his 15th year. It’s also Boone’s 60th year and the 40th anni of his first million-selling record, Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” (Dot, 1955). Boone hopes to get Domino on the show. Pat reminds that he and Elvis “were just a couple of Tennessee boys from lower-middle-class backgrounds, church-going, with traditional values. We were competitors for a while then he became king of the hill — and then like so many of us, hit a fallow period.” With “The Will Rogers Follies” in Branson behind him, Boone returns to concertour in Australia and England. The Readers Digest is putting out a three-CD package of 40 of his chart tunes, and Baer Records is packaging a boxed set of 300 of his songs. “I can’t believe it,” says Boone, grandfather of 15. He is still as youthfully exuberant as he was 40 years ago. I know — the column and I were there with him. “In those days we were putting out albums like they were singles. Everything from rock (“Mashed Potato” and “Locomotion”) to spirituals.” He is most proud of the fact his hostints for Easter Seals have brought in over a half-billion $ for more than 500 Easter Seal facilities. “It’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.” This year, they’ve dropped the word “telethon” for the March 4-5 airings and call the 20-hour show “Celebration ’95” with half-hour theme segments. F’rinstance, a home improvement seg with Tim Allen, a cooking seg with Wolfgang Puck, country with Trisha Yearwood and Clint Black, a B’way seg, circus, family togetherness with Joyce Brothers, etc. Mary Frann and Robb Weller co-host. They hope to top last year’s $ 52 million figure.

HUGH HEFNER IS talking a mini of his life. No, it’s not aimed at cable where you might see a plethora of Playmates. Instead, Hefner says he’s talking with the three major nets. And no, he doesn’t know who he’d like to see portray him or recent additions (two) to his family. When asked if he and wife, Kimberly, would want to add a third baby, he said, “Maybe, we’ve talked about it.” His interest in films, TV and music continues per his contributions of funding to the 10-part PBS “American Cinema” series, the UCLA archives, Eastman House and Vitaphone film restoration programs. Thursday, the N.Y. Center for Visual History hosts a cocktailer at the mansion and presents him an award for his support of the series and the Center’s Film Preservation Initiative. Hefner says it’s his way of saying thanks to those who got him interested in film, TV and music when he was a youngster.

WHY AGENTS GET GRAY: Joining Paul Newman in this weekend’s Daytona races is Craig T. Nelson … Columbia’s negotiating with Ruddy/Morgan to bigscreen “The Magic Bullet” (Delacorte), Harry Stein’s first novel, set in the medical world. The publisher is planning a million-copy soft cover for November. Producer Andre Morgan and PR/marketing exec Maria Wee will wed June 18 at Greystone … Elaine Wu, the statuesque “Miss Asia,” visited with Madame Wu at the latter’s Santa Monica eatery. Also there, regulars Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks. He’s readying “Dracula — Dead and Liking It,” playing Professor Van Helsing, for Castle Rock. This week at her restaurant, Madame Wu celebrates Chinese New Year 4693, the Year of the Boar (watch that spelling, you Hollywood wags) … Edie and Lew Wasserman, Eve Foreman, husband Michael Williams-Jones (head of UIP), Suzanne Pleshette and Tommy Gallagher at Dan Tana’s … Agent Bobby Littman is already home after successful kidney surgery at Cedars-Sinai. He even conducted a meeting in his hospital room. Let him tell you about it! … The Society of Singers holds a Valentine’s Day dinner-dance-show Feb. 10 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge; music’s by Tex Beneke and the Modernaires.

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