GOOD MORNING: Neil Simon completed his autobiog, “Rewrites,” and sent the 613 pages (covers only up to 1973) to agent Mort Janklow to sort the publishers’ offers. “If it’s a success,” Simon says modestly, a double volume will follow to continue his life to — ?”I like writing prose,” Simon reaffirmed to me. The book, unlike the usual bio, starts with the day Simon started to write his first play, “Come Blow Your Horn.” He then weaves his life about each of his plays. He might write one more play — thassall . As he’s stated of late, it’s too tough to get plays onstage these days — B’way leading the list of writers’ Waterloos. “I’m losing my enthusiasm for plays,” he adds. His attraction is now for the immediacy of TV. “It’s a lot easier, and you don’t have to go away from your family.” “Sunshine Boys” is in the can for CBS, next is the TVersion of his “Jake’s Women” with Alan Alda, and he’s updating some of his earlier movie hits for TV and Robert Halmi as soon as studio clearances can be obtained. He even plans to write original stories for TV. And he’s writing a new act for his “London Suite,” now in the 499-seat Union Square Off B’way boards — but that, too, is already planned for a TVersion. Despite all of the above, “writing,” says Simon, “is not my whole life. I’d like to spend more time with my family.” Simon will be 68 on July 4.
LADIES’ NIGHT: “Acting is not on my agenda,” said Janet Leigh as she was toasted on the publication of her book, “Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller” (Crown) and the 35th anni of the Universal pic. The party, at the backlot site of the “Psycho” house on the Universal Studios Hollywood tour, was hosted by Edie Wasserman (Lew was in N.Y. in confabs with you-know-who), Movieline mag and MCA/U Home Video, which has the “Psycho” tape ($14.98). Leigh did not have a percentage deal (negotiated for her by then-agent Wasserman) for her three-week role in the pic. But she says she’s had no regrets because of the residual fortune and fame including a supporting actress Oscar nomination. She gets fan mail from audiences from ages 10-80 thanks to airings of “Psycho” on AMC, etc. Her third book (first was an autobiog), “House of Destiny,” (Mira) will be out in September and she’s already noodling another book set in two arenas — one is Hollywood. Also at the “Psycho” party were Alfred Hitchcock’s daughter Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell, screenwriter Joseph Stephano, Hitchcock movie alumni Tippi Hedren, Anne Francis, plus Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Rod Taylor, Betty Garrett and Herb Steinberg, who first publicized “Psycho”… Meanwhile, over at CBS TV City’s Studio 46, the net’s senior director of business affairs, Anne Nelson, was partied on her “50th anniversary and counting.” And what a turnout for the well-liked Nelson. F’rinstance, Red Skelton turned in this toast: “When God made her, he did nothing else that day but sit around and feel good.” Anne, who started even before TV at CBS, was a part of the golden age of the Eye with stars including Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, Burns and Allen, Lucille Ball, etc. Among those on hand reminiscing were Irving Fein, who managed Jack Benny before George Burns; Norman Lear, who brought a new meaning to TV at CBS; Jean Stapleton; Sherwood Schwartz; Michele Lee; John Gavin; Gary Smith; Chuck Fries; Larry Pierce; Hal Ross; Marion Rees; Stan Freeberg; Loreen Arbus; and William Klein, senior VP of business affairs. Nelson noted her job started with a two-week commitment, “And to this day, no one has ever told me it was permanent.”
HERB ROSS IS NOW SET to direct “Washington Slept Here” for producers Al Ruddy and Andre Morgan. Five femme stars are sought for lead roles. Don’t call Andre about a role — he’s off to Morocco to honeymoon with bride, PR exec Maria Wee after their wedding Sunday at Greystone … It’s off to Paris (honeymoon?) for Larry King and Deanna Lund in July. They’re here Monday to dine with Don Rickles — who will sub host for King on CNN July 7. It’s Rickles’ first outing as Kingfish — although they’re pals for 35 years. Rickles revs up with a turn at MGM’s Hollywood 600-seat theater June 29 for a week. He bowed the hotel’s main room (now “EFX’d”) with Frank Sinatra at the New Year’s Eve opening …”Congo’s” Bruce Campbell hosts the Saturn Awards of the Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films June 26 at the Marriott in Century City. Among those to receive awards: Robert Zemeckis, Sean Connery, Joel Silver, Wes Craven, Forrest J. Ackerman, Richard Fleischer, Wesley Strick, etc. … The American Cancer Society raised $210,000 at its California Spirit gala at Ron Burkle’s Green Acres Estate. Joan Ransohoff and Alice Sommer Gold chaired and Wolfgang Puck and Sherry Lansing co-hosted. The town’s top eateries and hotels provided the menus … Eric Douglas is back from Tokyo where he did a new campaign for Suntory. Now here, young Douglas did another sound blurb for Kern’s and Libby’s Nectars. … The bigscreen isn’t spoiling David Spade — after his million-$ stand at Par in “Black Sheep,” he says he’ll be returning to “SNL.”