Howard ponders projects post-‘Apollo’

GOOD MORNING: The two projects Ron Howard’s interested in directing after “Apollo 13” are thrillers; Disney’s “The Ransom” written by Richard Price and “Into Thin Air” with his Imagine partner Brian Grazer at Universal, scripted by Henry Bean … Howard’s “Happy Days” co-star Anson Williams, also an actor-turned-director, is reining the season’s cliffhanger finale of “seaQuest DSV” and he reports from Orlando that it has “all stops out”– with the sub kidnapped by aliens and taken to another planet in an alien ocean! Mark Hamill and Kent McCord guest as aliens. There’s mucho f/x by Amblin’s CGI. Williams, who departed acting ranks, returns as a 250-pound redneck cowboy waiter in a seg of ABC’s Saturday ayem “Fudge.” It’s the first time Anson’s directed himself, and he admits that at the finale of his scene, “I forgot to say ‘Cut’ and the cameras kept rolling for a minute.” He also co-exec produces New World’s “Citizen’s Arrest” and directs UPN’s “Live Shots”– then segues to features, as did Ron Howard … Jack Nicholson nixed a multimillion-dollar MGM offer for a one-week cameo in “Mulholland Falls” starring Nick Nolte and Chazz Palminteri. Nicholson thought the role too similar to things he’s done … Patrick Swayze will not only write one of the tunes for “To Wong Foo, With Love, Julie Newmar,” but says he’ll also sing it — in (femme) character … Henny Youngman is in Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York recuping from pneumonia. He was cheered watching the standing ovation he received Monday p.m. on the (tape-delayed) American Comedy Awards … Guitarist Liona Boyd entertained the O.J. Simpson jurors Saturday in the L.A. Criminal Courts building on request of Judge Lance Ito. Sunday, Boyd recorded for Maurice Jarre’s “A Walk in the Clouds”… When it was Nicky Blair’s Sunset Strippery, Bob Shapiro was a dinner regular. Breakfasting early Monday ayem before court, Shapiro was back at the site, now Ziggy G’s 24-hour deli, homemade bagel’ing with his DNA and forensics team … In the MCA tower’s private dining room Friday, Jack Valenti hosts a lunch welcoming Ted Turner into the Motion Picture Assn. of America — guests will include Lew Wasserman, Sid Sheinberg, Bob Daly, Peter Chernin, Jonathan Dolgen, Richard Frank, Sherry Lansing, Bob Pisano, Roger Mayer and Scott Sassa.

FROM THE “WILD BUNCH” TO “NYPD BLUE”: The TV series’ co-exec producer Walon Green, who co-wrote the script of “Bunch” with Sam Peckinpah, caught up with the movie “for the first time with a paying audience” in the pic’s reissue at the Cinerama Dome. When it was originally released in ’69, Green was in Southeast Asia doing a docu — on reptiles for National Geographic! He was pleased with the quality of the “Wild” print and that the theater was packed — even at an early afternoon showing. We reminisced about the wild making of the movie with Peckinpah. Green’s now doing a polish on the “Island of Dr. Moreau” script aimed for Marlon Brando. He’s also writing the last scene of the season’s “NYPD” finale and then hies to Santa Barbara to write more features … Dana Delany starts previews tonight on Broadway in Brian Friel’s “Translations” at the Plymouth starring with Brian Dennehy. The play is set in 1813 Ireland and Dana admitted to me they had to lessen their Donegal-like Irish accents to “a more generic” Dublin-like accent so audiences could understand. She gave me a charming sample — I clearly understood and immediately wished I were back in Ireland! It’s a big week for Delany, whose “Margaret Sanger Story” made-for-cable pic airs Wednesday on Lifetime. Delany was offered the role of the Irish-Catholic rebel founder of Planned Parenthood when she appeared at a bombed-out abortion clinic in Sacramento last summer. She was also a member of the 1992 pro-choice march in D.C. “And 80 years later (than Margaret Sanger),” says Delany, “the same things are going on with no consideration for the people involved.”

IT WAS SRO AT THE CENTURY PLAZA lunch Monday for the “Women and Doctors” briefing on women’s major health issues — one in eight women will suffer breast cancer. Sela Ward hosted, and KABC’s Lisa McRee intro’d the impressive medical panel. The event was presented by the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Health Research Program with Mirabella and Giorgio Armani. Industryites on hand and supporting included: Lilly Tartikoff, Sherry Lansing, Evelyn Ostin, Jane Semel, Suzanne Pleshette … Cloris Leachman suffered a fractured collarbone while walking her dogs after a “Show Boat” performance in Toronto — but she went back on stage six days after the accident despite intense pain … Monday was closing night for Tatou in BevHills — Mark Fleischman moves the club to Anaheim’s site of the Cattleman’s Wharf eatery. Fleischman says he was able to “work myself out” of his deal in BevHills. He also will open a Century Club in Century City in June … Rhonda Fleming receives the L.A. Junior League’s Lifetime Community Achievement Award Saturday at the BevHilton with a “La Masquerade” gala. Art Linkletter m.c.’s.

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