GOOD MORNING: HBO’s “Norma Jean & Marilyn,” which came in between $7.5 million and $8 million, is getting hefty bigscreen overseas bidding “because it has size,” says HBO prez Bob Cooper. The cabler originally was a four-hour script, exec producer Marvin Worth told me, “until we came up with the idea of having the two girls — Ashley Judd as Norma Jean and Mira Sorvino as Marilyn — intertwine their roles.” Having known Marilyn, I must say both actresses perform magnificently and convincingly. Mira, at the preem Wednesday night at the Acad and party later at Chasen’s, was with her dad, Paul, and b.f. Quentin Tarantino. Mira said it was “an honor” to play Marilyn, whom she had studied and carbon’d while growing up. As for the several nude scenes, Worth said Judd had no qualms but Mira — well, it was a different story. But she looks as beautiful in the famed calendar pose(s). She refused the Larry Flynt pic when told nude scenes were required. No clearances of celeb characters were requested, Cooper said. Billy Wilder told me he’d watch it Saturday. In one scene, Wilder’s answer as to why he put up with Monroe’s tardiness –“I have an aunt in Vienna who would be on time for every scene but wouldn’t be worth a dime at the box office”– actually was spoken by Wilder, to me when we were standing at the Del Coronado hotel waiting with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis and crew for Monroe to show up. The quote has been (mis)used and misplaced often since then … Mira and Paul Sorvino still plan to team on “Lear” and they’ll duet on his August PBS TV concert on “Daddy’s Little Girl,” backed by a 62-piece orch. Paul S., who says he’s “a singer who acts,” adds, “But essentially — I’m a father!”
IN THE MIDDLE OF “PILOT HELL,” Leslie Moonves, president of CBS Entertainment , takes Monday night off to help his first love — the theater. He’ll make the presentation honoring Theodore Mann, co-founder of the Circle in the Square at a gala at the theater, plus a performance of “Forbidden Circle,” a glamour auction and dinner with the expected appearance of honorary co-chairs Annette Bening (she B’way-bowed in the Circle in the Square’s “Coastal Disturbances,” for which she received a Tony nomination) plus Warren Beatty, Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward, Nathan Lane, James Earl Jones, Philip Bosco, Uta Hagen, Mercedes Ruehl, Susan Sarandon, Treat Williams, etc. … Moonves admits, “I was a former theater rat — actor and producer. Theater is really important to Hollywood and the TV world. We all come from the theater. I was never more proud than, as a producer, standing at the back of the theater watching a play unfold.” He reminded that CBS continues to air the Tonys — despite the ratings. “We put our money where our mouths are. And in the fall we will air ‘Oklahoma’ with country & western stars. And we will continue to look for more theater stories.” Wednesday, CBS makes its lineup announcement from — Carnegie Hall. How much more theatrical can you get? … APA’s Gary Rado set Rue McClanahan in back-to-back features “Dear God,””Starship Troopers” and currently, “This World, Then the Fireworks” for director Michael Oblowitz at Largo. Oblowitz also cast Bill Patton and Seymour Cassel to join Gina Gershon, Sheryl Lee and Billy Zane. Oblowitz has envisioned making this feature version of Jim Thompson’s story since — 1985! … Rick Pallack signed with William Morris for representation on shopping channels, infomercials, etc. He’s launching a studio wardrobe line, fragrance, etc. This, too, is showbiz.
THE GARDEN OF THE HOME OF EDIE AND LEW Wasserman is the setting for a $5,000-per-person (seating is limited) National Democratic Committee fundraiser dinner June 10 with President Clinton … Nancy Reagan took a breather-retreat with friend Carol Petrie at Dallas’ Greenhouse spa. Yes, Secret Service were permitted in the ladies-only spa … Sandy, David and Joel Brokaw celebrate the 20th anni of the Brokaw Co. Bill Cosby, Lou Rawls, Mickey Gilley and Ricardo Montalban have been clients from day one. How refreshing … Our wish: that none of the Make-a-Wish children suffer because of one willful wish … It’s Jay Leno’s turn in SanFran on Sunday, as grand marshal of the 85th annual Examiner Bay to Breakfast Footrace Day’s action — a seg to air with Jay next week … Sharon Stone presents Magic Johnson with AmFar’s “Award of Courage” tonight at the BevHilton. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform … Over 50 celebs tee off at the L.A. Police/Celeb Golf Tourney on Saturday at Rancho to benefit the Police Memorial Foundation. John J. McMahon’s president of the Foundation’s board.