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Pope meets with cast of TV spec

GOOD MORNING: Dionne Warwick, the “Macarena’s” Los Del Rio and other cast members of the TV spec “Vatican Christmas Show” met in private audience with Pope John Paul II Wednesday noon. However, it’s only speculation that Madonna and infant Lourdes will have an audience with the Pope when “Evita’s” Rainbow Tour arrives Friday. Italy’s Channel 5 “Christmas Show” (to air Friday, internationally) is held in the 7,000-seat Vatican concert hall. “Evita” preems at Rome’s Empire Theater on the Via Margherita. Wednesday in London, Madonna, Antonio Banderas and the band of “Evita” principals carbon’d the L.A. pre-preem routine: mass interviews.

There were 3,000 fans outside the Hyde Park Hotel awaiting the stars’ arrivals. Attending tonight’s Leicester Square Empire Theater bow are celebs from Prime Minister John Majors to Elton John and Robert Stigwood; also invited are Princes Di and the Duchess of York, who are Madonna fans. After London and Rome, the “Evita” Rainbow Tour heads to Paris on Sunday. The biggest blowout of all is expected in Madrid on the 23rd, when the post-preem party doesn’t start until 1 ayem (you know those late-night Spaniards!) as they toast Banderas, Spain’s No. 1 star, and their international favorite, Madonna. The mass tango-ing is expected to go on until dawn. Madonna’s infant Lourdes is with mama, but not Carlos Leon (so far). … Warwick told me her mother Lee is with her on the Vatican trip. The Pope was familiar with Warwick’s work in Rio in the Vidigal slum (which he visited) and he spoke to her about it. Rio is Warwick’s home but she’ll move to Bahia “as soon as I conquer the language!” She no longer has a place in L.A. but may shop for an East Coast home in the future. By the way, she’ll sing “O Holy Night,” “Silver Bells” and “White Christmas” on the special. Warwick’s Vatican visit is also part of an effort to raise funds to build new churches throughout Rome.

WARREN BEATTY WAS GOING “WACKO”— at least that’s the way his character was described to me by an observer to a scene on the set of 20th’s “Untitled Bullworth Project.” The observer was Larry King who plays himself; he watching a debate between Beatty and his Senatorial opposition. Oliver Platt, playing Beatty’s press secretary, apologizes for the candidate’s “wacko” behavior but King says, “I’m impressed, he’s a self-made man — that’s what we’re looking for (in a Senator).” King, who has appeared in other pix, says director Beatty is “totally thorough the scene took four hours.” It’s Larry King week here: he also plays himself, of course, in “An Alan Smithee Film,” as he interviews “Smithee” (Eric Idle) who tells him he wants to burn the movie. King also did a guestint on the “Muppets” Christmas show with a King look-alike Muppet. On his own show, Friday, as noted here last week, King referees a debate between Larry Flynt and the Rev. Jerry Falwell. The latter’s been on King’s show often, but it’s a first meeting with Flynt. Should be interesting. In case King isn’t sufficiently exposed, he’ll also host the Dec. 28 CNN Bob Hope tribute and he interviews Dolores for a seg. … Emmy winner Fyvush Finkel (“Picket Fences”) returns to the boards in his one-man show, “Fyvush Finkel From Second Ave. to B’way,” Dec. 21-Jan. 5 at the John Houseman Theater on 42nd St. His son Ian backs up his father with a full orch for musical segs, from Fyvush’s beginnings on the Borscht belt to “Fiddler on the Roof” on B’way. … Vic Damone goes home to his native Brooklyn to receive his diploma from Lafayette High, from which he dropped out for a showbiz career. Damone’s celebrating his 50th anni since his bow on a WHN show hosted by Morey Amsterdam. Feb. 4, Damone opens a one-month stand at Rainbow and Stars where he received spectacular reviews last year.

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HAS GIVEN the greenlight for “Behind Enemy Lines,” based on the Scott O’Grady story. David Netter directs for Davis Entertainment. … A remake of “The Out-of-Towners” is talked for Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin at Paramount. Goldie’s the lassie to open the annual giant, post-holiday sale at Harrod’s Jan. 8 on the invitation of Harrod’s chairman Mohamed Al Fayed. Goldie’s pet charity, Fauna and Flora, benefits from her appearance; she arrives at Harrod’s in a horse-drawn buggy and tours the store to start the world-famous sale. Shoppers, start your credit cards. … Pierce Brosnan wound his indie banner’s “The Nephew” in Ireland, checked out the next Bond’s beauty hopefuls in London, then wings home to be with Keely Shaye Smith as they expect their baby in Jan. … Cheryl Ladd guests in an “Ink” seg playing a Mayflower Madame-typ. … RADD (Recording Artists, Actors & Athletes Against Drunk Driving), today launches its holiday campaign promoting designated driver programs. … Dinner (without drinks?) with Richard Harris was auctioned off by his son, thesp Jared Harris, at a benefit for Harris fils’ new theater group Shinache in Manhattan. Dinner with dad drew a $2,000 bid. The theater’s first production will be “Hysterical Blindness” by Laura Cahill. They hope to get Marlo Thomas for one of the leads. … Ralph Edwards hosted his 56th staff Christmas party (at Yamashiro). Edwards Prods. was formed March 23, 1940.

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