Clinton shows some acting chops in TV’er

GOOD MORNING: President Clinton was “surprisingly at ease” playing himself in CBS’ “A Child’s Wish,” reports director Waris Hussein, who spent 90 minutes filming the president, John Ritter and Anna Chlumsky last Saturday in the Oval Office. The scene’s a recreation of a real one in which young Melissa Weaver got her wish from the Make-a-Wish Foundation to visit the White House and the president. She died a week after the visit, the director said. Clinton did the (half page of) lines as scripted. “He was very cordial, natural and not ill at ease at all — with no repeats required. We all felt very good about it. And the movie ends with that scene.” The president was anxious to do the telefilm because it points out the benefit of both the Foundation and the legislation he was instrumental in getting passed — the Family Medical Leave Act. Lawrence Horowitz, who produces with Michael O’Hara, is no stranger to the White House, having worked with the Kennedy administration, said Hussein … Among Hussein’s credits, the first “Dr. Who” seg for the BBC, which aired Nov. 22, 1963, “and no one gave it a chance,” he reminds. Now, Universal-TV and Fox air the new “Who” series starting May 14, and on Saturday , a celebration of “Dr. Who” will be held at Ambrosia Books and Collectibles with authors Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, thesp John Levene and “Dr. Who” surprises to benefit — the Make-a-Wish Foundation! … Something else to warm you — Vendela (Kirsebom) film-debuts as “Mrs. Freeze” to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Mr. Freeze” in “Batman and Robin.” Vendela also launches her role as an international spokeswoman for the United Nations’ Children’s Fund …”Mr. Warmth,” Don Rickles, celebrates his 70 th birthday today with a new two-year deal with the Trump Taj Mahal in A.C., this in addition to his Comedy Central gig as “paid spokesman.” Don inked for movies and TV with Sandy Bresler of Bresler, Kelly & Associates.

SURE AND THE GREEN of Ireland and the saving of U.S. green packed the house at Jimmy Murphy’s, where Morgan O’Sullivan and Tom Palmieri hosted a reception for Michael D. Higgins, Minister of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Republic of Ireland. Back in 1994, I spoke with the delightfully showbiz-savvy Higgins when I visited the Ireland locations of Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” and Peter Yates’ “Run of the Country.” Never did I see more cooperation on a movie location or hear more compliments about a country and its people. Both of those Hollywood movie companies benefited from the 11% investment return. And Higgins was happy to report Monday that the incentive has been approved by ensuing Irish administrations and now goes through 1999. Morgan O’Sullivan said, “The (Hollywood) movies raised the profile of the country.” Among those welcoming the Irish at Jimmy’s were Angela Lansbury with husband Peter Shaw and sons Anthony and David (who have a home recently completed in Ireland). They have several film-TV properties which are set in Ireland. Also there, Pierce Brosnan, whose banner has a co-production deal to produce-star in “The Nephew” in Ireland. Also there, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and husband, director Pat O’Connor, Sean Lawlor (Gibson’s father in “Braveheart,” ) director Nancy Malone, Robert Ginty and reps from almost every studio.

AND NOW A WORD FOR THE FRENCH. Later, Monday at L’Orangerie, Virginie and Gerard Ferry exquisitely dinner-partied Line Renaud, here briefly to enlist Hollywood celebs for her giant Paris AIDS research fundraiser to be seen June 6 on all French TV channels — as she did two years ago to an audience of more than 30 million. Among those at L’Orangerie — Maurice Jarre, en route to Cannes with Michael Cimino’s “Sunchaser,” which Jarre scored; Merv Griffin and Ernie Chambers, prez of Griffin Entertainment, who will talk (aboard Griffin’s yacht) to foreign partners for their upcoming features, including James Michener’s story of his relationship with Impressionist collector Albert C. Barnes — boasting Paris locations. Other guests included Renaud’s close friends here, Rosemary Tomich and Paul Brugerman … Sample of Bill Higgins’ winning Imitation Ernest Hemingway Competition held at Harry’s Bar about a great white hunter who writes a musical and asks Barbra Steisand to play the lead: “Her response had not been good. It sounded like the noise the big-bellied Armenian prostitutes make when they throw clients out the door of Harry’s Bar. There was a belch and a small army of publicists rushing to her side. Yes, that had not been good.” Congrats, Bill. … There’s talk of HBO airing “Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants,” now playing SRO at the Tiffany. Joel Silver and Ron Meyer were so entranced after seeing the magician’s Off B’way show they decided to present Jay to L.A. audiences (star-studded every night). Even Tiffany Theater president Paula Holt admitted, “The only way I could get a ticket to his show was to produce it!” Of his huge celeb appeal Jay says, “After all, we’re all in the professions of creating illusions.”

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