Demi’s strip act turns hubby’s head

GOOD MORNING: “It’s not easy to turn your wife over to someone for whom she’s going to strip.” Burt Reynolds sez that’s what Bruce Willis told him at the start of “Striptease.” Reynolds plays a politician, a congressman, “who is psychotic about strippers” and falls madly in love with Demi. “She is fantastic, frightening”– so sexy, sez Reynolds. Willis wouldn’t (couldn’t) watch the rehearsals. Burt says his role is one of the greatest he’s ever had. “I go from funny to dangerous.” Reynolds, back in L.A. briefly, spoke for the first time about the movie — and himself. More about Moore: “I haven’t met an actress (or actor) that smart in a long time. She’s also a great mother to three children, has a good marriage, and wonderful to work with. She’s open to many suggestions but real smart about her part and the commercial aspect of the movie.” He admitted his performance “turned around people who didn’t think I was right for the part. I turned them around and they became very supportive.” Reynolds also got along famously with co-star Armand Assante, whom he also admires … Reynolds is 60 today and he hopes to be able to spend the day with son Quinton ( 7). Burt is looking to find another house here. Pam Seal and he are no longer “glued” together. He says his primary aim now is to continue being an actor. He credits “Striptease” director-screenwriter Andrew Bergman for bringing out the best of Burt. “For the first time I feel like an actor. I didn’t realize I’d spent so much time teaching and protecting actors, telling them ‘to give’ and then not doing it myself.””I’ve had my peaks and valleys,” Reynolds admitted, and hopes this will be the peak, but he danced around questions like, “Do you consider this movie your ‘John Travolta’?” There’s been so much talk about him in “Striptease,” Reynolds said Clint Eastwood told him, “Just release the announcement (about being in the movie). Nobody can be that good.” Reynolds said, “You’re right!”

TONIGHT’S THE LAST “Cagney & Lacey”– or is “Cagney & Lacey IV: True Confessions” the swan song? From Leatherhead, England, Sharon Gless reported in between performances of Neil Simon’s West End-bound (Feb. 19 at the refurbished Gielgud) “Chapter Two” co-starring Tom Conti. Well, it’s over “as far as doing ‘C&L’ for CBS is concerned,” she said. And, she admitted, husband Barney Rosenzweig has left no doubts about his feelings for the web and its turndown for future shows. Sharon doesn’t know what Barney has up his sleeves (the cuffs always turned up for action). But, Gless says, “As far as Tyne (Daly) and I am concerned, sure, we want to do more.” Barney is in the midst of moving their L.A. home to Florida’s Fisher Island, then wings over to join Sharon. Meanwhile, because of the time difference, they exchange (love) letters on e-mail … The English love “C&L,” which starts a replay (125 segs) over there during the play’s run. “It’s a bigger hit here than in the U.S.,” she said. The English already love Gless from her legit appearance there in “Misery.” She says, “There is so much love and respect for actors here — and Neil Simon.” Gless said she ran into Simon shortly before leaving for London. “He gave me his blessing,” she said. “This is such an unusual Simon play — obviously very funny, but with its dark side. It’s a wonderful evening when you can make someone laugh and cry in the same night”… Brian Dennehy, whose “Jack Reed: One of Our Own” was a ratings winner earlier this month, next starts Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo & Juliet” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in Mexico City, then on to Chicago’s Goodman Theater to star in Eugene O’Neill’s “A Touch of the Poet”… And the also ever-active Richard Thomas co-produces (with David Rosemont) and stars in “What Love Sees” for CBS. Annabeth Gish co-stars in the true story of a blind couple who raise their four children on a ranch. Thomas then follows with the Disney Channel’s “Onawandah,” an adaptation of short stories by Louisa May Alcott.

THE FANTASTIA ARTS FEST (sci-fi and fantasy films) will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 4 in Gerardmer, France, with Rutger Hauer as president of the international jury , which includes Claude Chabrol, Alfredo Arias and Peter Coyote. Larry Cohen gets a retro. Peter Weller will be on hand with “Screamers,” which had its “screamiere” at Mann’s Chinese and bash at the Bar Marmont with Weller on hand plus Alicia Silverstone, Jason and Justine Bateman, Esai Morales, Jennifer Rubin, Andy Lauer … Friends of Irv Kupcinet will be relieved to know he is recuping at home after back surgery … And Dave Golding is resting after being hit by a car in Aylesbury, England … There’ll be music by the Jean-Michel Danon Project , “A Seven Piece Symphony,” bowing at L’Orangerie Tuesday … Sally Kirkland and Dale Olson partied Lee Newman on his new CD, “Relatively Singing’ — singing songs of his grandfathers, Jimmy McHugh and Eddie Cantor … Commercials director Norman Gerard makes his feature bow with “The Snake Skin Jacket,” which he scripted with San Francisco journalist John Kane.

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