Rooney’s ’60 minutes’ aren’t up yet

GOOD MORNING: “It looks like I won’t be at ’60 Minutes’ any longer,” Andy Rooney will tell audiences Sunday night. He told me that he’ll quickly add, “I received a letter from Time magazine telling me I’d won $2 million. So I guess I don’t have to work any more.” He received one of those Ed McMahon-type magazine mailers, he said. But not to worry, Rooney’s staying: he and CBS have received enormous fan mail in response to comments by the AP’s TV critic Frasier Moore, who called Rooney “old.” “It was unnecessarily nasty,” Rooney told me. Moore — and other TV critics — may soon have the opportunity to observe Rooney in another TV outing. A series based on Rooney’s curmudgeonly character on a news program (ahem!) is being developed for Michael Viner’s Dove vidarm, with Rooney as exec producer. (The idea was born before the AP brouhaha.) Rooney said he would not play the role, admitting he wouldn’t be comfortable playing himself on camera. “Besides, I don’t need the money,” he laughed. “And I’m too busy cranking out the column.” Viner said they have in mind thesps such as Carroll O’Connor or Ed Asner. Rooney’s no stranger to the Dove label, having recorded his book, “Sweet & Sour,” for ’em, with Deborah Raffin (Mrs. Viner) producing. Andy’s no stranger to Hollywood, he reminded. Six weeks out of the Army (WW II), he and fellow newspaperman Bud Hutton co-wrote “The Story of the Stars & Stripes ,” and MGM hired them to script the film. They worked here six months and Robert Walker was set to star — but the pic fell apart when the British-held funds of MGM were no longer available. Meanwhile, Rooney said he and his partner had an enjoyable time at the Polo Lounge and other watering holes in Hollywood. Shouldn’t someone now film “The Andy Rooney Story”?

JACK VALENTI WAS AMONG THOSE deeply saddened by news of the tragic plane crash in which Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown was traveling to the Balkans to help bolster a return to normalcy. Valenti told me, “He (Brown) had enlivened and given new energy to the Commerce Dept.” When asked whether Valenti would be going over to see if the once-strong Yugo movie industry could be revived, he noted, “I’ll probably make a trip over there when we know the peace holds up.” He recalled the many pics made by Hollywood over there — f’instance two by his friend, Kirk Douglas. Meanwhile, Valenti departs Friday for China with U.S. trade negotiator, Ambassador Charlene Barchevsky, to express U.S. dismay about the Chinese failure to observe agreements made last year to curtail piracy and to achieve market access. “The pledges have not been redeemed,” said Valenti, who added our government may have to apply sanctions … Over in Capetown, Joe Sargent, directing the Showtime “Mandela,” phoned to tell me, “So far the cooperation is excellent; everyone is being diplomatic — and neutral.” Bernie Sofronski is producing. The company has permission to use the presidential residence and Parliament and is getting OKs to shoot in the prisons where Mandela was held. Sargent says they’re hoping to meet with Mandela who, they hear, is “thrilled that Poitier is playing him.” Sargent next directs Laurence Fishburne and Alfre Woodard in “Miss Evers’ Boys” for Ted Danson’s Anasavi Prods. at HBO, with Bob Benedetti producing.

A NEW GROUP OF FOREIGN PRESS has formed the Intl. Press Academy; former Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. prez Marijana Van Blaricom tells me she’s been “invited” and has accepted heading the new org — although she says the new group “was not my idea.” She says, “There are 120 of us working (international) journalists” in the new group, which already has an office. She claims the HFPA, her former org, has 85 members, of which “only 35-40 are working press.” How can she make that statement? “I was on the credentials committee,” she said. Among plans for the new Intl. Press Academy is their own awards show (she worked on the 50th and 51st Golden Globes, she said), theirs to be called the Charlie Chaplins … The family that sails together stays together: Marty Ingels birthdays wife Shirley Jones Friday on a three-day cruise to Ensenada — her sons, the Cassidy freres, were invited to join, to make it a family reconciliation. … Bruce Davison has arranged to have his start dates delayed on two movies, Showtime’s “Hidden in America,” with Beau Bridges and a bigscreen feature “Friends of Friends”– as wife Lisa Pelikan is expecting their first child’s birth … Writer/producer partners Todd Allen and Christopher Horton bought bio rights of Frederick Evans, who claims he’s the illegitimate child of the Duke of Windsor (late King Edward VIII) and concert pianist Ada Bartlett. An enormous trust fund had been set up anonymously for Evans, now 77 — who had no idea of his benefactor until he discovered his late mother’s diaries … As promised, Oliver Stone showed at Monique Van Vooren’s Cinegrill bow — and he’s also optioned her bestseller novel, “Night Sanctuary,” a roman a clef about her romance with Nureyev.

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