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Veep will vouch for Cash

GOOD MORNING: Johnny Cash doesn’t know it but Vice President Al Gore wrote a letter recommending him (Cash) as one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees. Of course, Cash also received the required recommendations from the KC board which put him in the group being honored Saturday and Sunday in D.C., first at the State Dept. dinner, then at a White House reception given by the Clintons and, finally, at the award show itself in the Kennedy Center. This year marks the first time Secretary of State Warren Christopher will be on hand to host the State Dept. dinner. In years past he’d been off on critical assignments. Hopefully all will remain peaceful for the next few days! It’s also hoped the President will regain his voice in time to deliver his personal congrats to the honorees as they are toasted in the White House East Room. The President also in past years has had to make a quick exit from the festivities, leaving the First Lady to represent the White House. … The CBS TV special is again exec produced by Don Mischer and George Stevens Jr. and directed by Louis Horvitz with Mike Seligman as associate producer. The nominees besides Cash include Edward Albee, Benny Carter, Maria Tallchief and Jack Lemmon — who arrives in D.C. fresh from his presidential preem Wednesday night at the Bruin and Chasen’s for “My Fellow Americans” Studios have started sending tapes of their hoped-for Oscar nominees to Acad members. The Disney packet includes “The War at Home,” “Phenomenon,” “The Rock,” and “Up Close And Personal” but no “Ransom.” Brian Grazer figures it’s because his pic is still very hot at the box office and who needs to have free copies floating around. “Ransom’s” Ron Howard is in Europe p.a.’ing for openings there while developing “Laws of Madness” for their Imagine banner.

THE DIRECTORS’ CORNER: Richard Attenborough winged in from London, whisked down to Costa Mesa for a terrif sneak of “In Love and War” starring Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell. And then, Attenborough, actor, started learning lines for Steven Spielberg’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” in which Attenborough appears in opening and closing scenes. … Friday, BAFTA, L.A. hosts a screening of New Line’s “In Love and War” at the Pacific Design Center for members only. … Director Rob Cohen says he lost over 10 pounds working a year and a half to bring “Daylight” to tonight’s preem. Cohen said the tough pic was made without any tension at all on the set. He has the highest praise for Sylvester Stallone who “doesn’t want to do mindless action pictures. And in ‘Daylight,’ he keeps one foot in the character world, the other in the action world.” Cohen also compliments Amy Brenneman, a Harvard divinity school grad. Says Cohen: “That’s like going from the sacred to the profane.” … “Larry Flynt, frankly, had me worried,” said director Milos Forman. “He can be outrageous he really is a character, but ” Flynt has come through fully to help p.a. the film along with his book, of course. Forman, receiving critical accolades for “The People vs. Larry Flynt” assures me it will not be seven years before he does another movie. He was to have started “The Hell Camp” pre-“Flynt” but refused to make changes demanded by Japanese Sumo backers. He admits, “I still would like to make it — maybe as a nice little comedy!”

LIZA WITH A B as in busy. She was in rehearsals during Wednesday’s matinee of “Victor/Victoria” in N.Y. readying for her bow Jan. 7- Feb. 2, while also readying to wing here for Saturday’s stint hosted by Merv Griffin at the Marriott Desert Springs Resort to benefit the 20th anni of the Eisenhower Medical Center and the 20th anni of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center honoring the Bob Hopes. Liza then plays Bally’s Dec. 29, 30 and 31 before returning to the N.Y. B’way scene. Julie Andrews resumed work this week on “V/V.” Although skedded to leave the show in the spring she’s thinking of making up the 70 shows she missed. … Frank Sinatra celebrates his 8lst birthday next Thursday, Dec. 12. He is not expected to be in the Springs for this weekend’s doings. … “Hamlet” was SRO and overflowing into the Music Hall from its Acad preem Tuesday p.m. Half the crowd to see Kenneth Branagh’s Castle Rock “Hamlet” was from Gordon Davidson’s Center Theater Group where Branagh also played-directed Shakespeare at the Taper. He thanked cast members on hand including Julie Christie, Charlton Heston, Jack Lemmon and Billy Crystal, as well as the Castle Rock toppers and producer David Barron. Branagh and Bard admirers on hand included Sharon Stone, Jerry Seinfeld and Shoshana Lonstein, Candice Bergen, Holly Hunter, Brenda Vaccaro, Nick Nolte and Forest Whitaker. The 12-minute intermission was strictly for calls of nature — no food and drink — but the party afterward lasted into the early ayem with the mere modern mortals still applauding the words which are heard forevermore.

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