GOOD MORNING: Remind me never to play poker with Ron Meyer. Even though I spoke with him late last week, he maintained his usual calm, unperturbable, polite demeanor, with his usual “nothing new” answers. Monday, however, he allowed things were different, as he received hundreds of calls of congrats and good wishes, yes, also from his former competitors, agents of the other companies. He says he’ll be out of CAA and in his MCA offices at Universal in August — where his current client, Sylvester Stallone (for whom Meyer negotiated $ 20 million deals) will next be working in “Daybreak.” Yes, of course Meyer talked to Lew Wasserman, who will be officially announced as chairman emeritus. Wasserman was offered a congratulatory party by Edgar Bronfman Jr., but Lew, in his usual manner, declined the bouquets — for now … Among the many top agents who called Meyer with congrats was William Morris’ Arnold Rifkin, who said he looks forward to being able to sit down “for the first time in many years” with Meyer. He added, “This will be a great opportunity for everyone.” As for what happens to Meyer’s personal clients at CAA, Rifkin reminded not to underestimate the other agents at that agency who worked with Ronnie’s clients as well. However, it’s no secret Rifkin has had many social evenings at Planet Hollywood parties with his client Bruce Willis — and Meyer’s client, another Planet partner, Sylvester Stallone … 20th got plenty of publicity Monday night for its “Nine Months,” with Hugh Grant guesting here on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” and co-star Tom Arnold in N.Y. with David Letterman. On the “Tonight” show, a very supportive audience applauded Grant, whom Leno congratted for keeping his commitment to appear despite the enormous press avalanche. (Press were parked outside NBC from 5:30 ayem.) Grant said his father was “cool” in reacting to the whole thing and that Elizabeth Hurley “has been amazing about it and very supportive. We’ll work it out — time is of the essence.” Back in N.Y. on Letterman, “Nine Months” co-star Tom Arnold admitted, “He’s (Grant) such a good guy that you really don’t want anything to go wrong for him. So that’s why when this happened, I was kind of sad.” Now, can we put this thing to bed.
BURT REYNOLDS BOUNCES back on the bigscreen with a major role in “Striptease, ” starring Demi Moore. Reynolds plays Congressman Dave Dilbeck, who is obsessed with Moore. UTA’s Brandt Joel made the deal for Reynolds, who has been with the agency six months … Clint Eastwood was stag-supping at Eclipse with Lenny Hirshan, his longtime William Morris agent. While the duo was talking the success not only of “The Bridges of Madison County,” but the initial Malpaso soundtrack album, ladies kept stopping by, briefly sitting themselves down beside Eastwood. They included one who said she had been a hostess at Mezzaluna, claiming she’d met him some time ago. Eastwood, who is set for the Deauville film fest, continues on to Paris for a preem. WB would like him to do an (untitled) contemporary yarn … Over at Drai’s, Bob Shapiro dined longtime pal Nicky Blair, who is readying for his Vegas eatery bow this fall. Also at Drai’s, director Peter Yates, back from London and Italy post-production on his Castle Rock “The Run of the Country” (preems at the Toronto Fest). Yates, who dined his wife Virginia and us, is again talking with “Country” scripter Shane Connaughton (also “My Left Foot”) for another, “Last Word.” Yates is also prepping Castle Rock’s “Goodwill Hunting,” scripted by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. And further, Yates is talking with New Regency on “Cage,” by Ben “Hacksaw” Jones. It’s another escape pic, like Yates’ boffo “Bullitt.”
SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER HITS are newly added parodies in “Forbidden Hollywood” at the Coronet. The new numbers written by director Gerard Alessandrini include a spoof of Meryl Streep in “Bridges of Madison County,” “Batman Forever,” Mel Gibson in “Braveheart” and “Pocahontas.” The show’s in for an indefinite extended run and companies are being readied for N.Y., Toronto, Boston, Kansas City, Phoenix and Detroit … Larry King returned to L.A. and Deana Lund. King will be roasted at a Dream Street bash Sept. 16 at the BevHills Hotel. The Dream Street Foundation benefits youngsters with life-threatening diseases … Kieran Culkin’s mom in “Amanda” is Alice Krige — who was Macaulay Culkin’s stepmother in “See You in the Morning”… Add another spectacular Las Vegas theater for a special star: the new Monte Carlo, 3,000-room hotel/casino will boast the Lance Burton Theater for Burton, the magician who signed a 13-year pact with ’em. Guess he’s not superstitious. Burton moves from his current stand at the Hacienda Casino/Hotel … At Debbie Reynolds’ Las Vegas hotel, the Rockettes (24 of ’em) led by Rip Taylor segued from their stand at the Flamingo Hilton and high-kicked their way from the lobby of Debbie’s hotel into her Celebrity Cafe, where she and Jimmy Caesar were conducting the latenight Jazz & Jokes Party.