GOOD MORNING: “60 Minutes” and Mike Wallace are readying a segment, with the help of L.A.’s Simon Wiesenthal Center, on the Canadian government’s 50-year silence on Nazis living in Canada. The center’s dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier, reveals there are 1,882 Canadian residents who receive pensions from the German government for having served, not just in the German army, but in the S.S., he specifies: “It is 100% true! Meanwhile, their (the S.S.’) victims cannot get anything.” Hier is just back from Sundance and the screening of “The Long Way Home,” which he and Richard Trank produced. Mark Jonathan Harris wrote and directed the feature, about the plight of refugees who survived the Holocaust. Morgan Freeman narrates, with voices also by Ed Asner, Sean Astin, Martin Landau, David Paymer, Helen Slater and Michael York. It played to sellout Sundance crowds, and festival director Geoff Gilmore calls it, “eloquent, lucid and memorable a remarkable cinematic history.” Several distribs have already made bid inquiries. It screens Feb. 10 here at the DGA. … Meanwhile, Artur Brauner, producer of the post-Holocaust film “From Hell to Hell” (the Belarus entry for the foreign language Oscar), which screened at the Wiesenthal Center, returned home to Berlin to find one of the stages in his studio torched — the police say it was arson. I spoke with Brauner’s son-in-law, Frank Orthan, late Tuesday night in Berlin. He’d also been here at the Wiesenthal “Hell” screening where hundreds of protests from Polish communities were received. Brauner has owned his studio (nine stages) for 50 years and has produced many of his Holocaust films on those stages. Brauner lost 47 members of his family in concentration camps in his native Poland.
THE COL. TOM PARKER I KNEW always had a twinkle in his eye while looking for the jingle of money. Yet long before it was fashionable for Hollywood’s so-called rich and famous to send Christmas greetings noting their contributions in our name to charities of their choice, the colonel had asked me if there was a children’s charity he could help support. And every Christmas, without question, for over 30 years, he’d make that contribution. So it wasn’t surprising, when I got a call Tuesday morning from his wife Loanne telling me of his passing, that she suggested contributions to the Las Vegas Sun Camp Fund sending underprivileged children to camp. For Elvis’ 60th birthday in 1995, Parker was at the Hilton autographing a book of photos of Parker and Presley with proceeds going to the Sun Camp. He had already sent 300 kids to the camp over the years. The memorial service is planned for Saturday at the Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas. I will miss talking with him. Although he was seriously ill for the past year, he never lost his sense of humor or his desire to be involved. He talked regularly to Priscilla Presley, who said, “He had been such a great, a constant friend to us both and to everyone at Elvis Presley Enterprises. The work he and Elvis did together changed the course of pop culture and history. We will always respect and appreciate him deeply, and we will miss him.” … Jerry Weintraub said he’d worked with the colonel for 30 years, “and he was like a second father to me, as well as a friend and teacher. I will miss him with all my heart.” Parker was looking forward to the opening of the “Star Trek: The Experience” attraction at the Hilton in Las Vegas and took pride in saying he was adding his savvy. … He was signed to be a technical adviser on the upcoming “Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley,” based on Peter Guralnick’s book, scripted by Tom Rickman. Steve Tisch, Jon Taplin and David Fanning produce, with Jerry Schilling, Elvis’ friend of 32 years, as co-producer. Schilling said, “It was my biggest honor to make the deal for Colonel Parker” on the film on behalf of 20th Century Fox. Who will play Parker in the pic? John Goodman was reportedly Tom’s choice. … On my birthday last year, I was surprised to find a “Happy Birthday” message sung (!) by the colonel on my telephone tape, with this added message: “If Elvis were here, he’d be singing it with me!” Parker always made certain I visited Elvis on each of his movie sets, where Elvis, always the epitome of a Southern gentleman, would always greet me with “Mr. Archerd,” despite the fact we’d known each other since his arrival in Hollywood. Parker had always nixed book offers on Elvis and told me the oft-quoted reason: “I know what they (publishers) want dirt. I’m not a dirt farmer.”
NEW LINE CELEBRATED its 30th anni with the preem of “In Love and War” at the DGA, and Bob Shaye proudly intro’d Lord Richard Attenborough to make the intros of the pic’s principals, including Sandra Bullock (never photographed more beautifully), with b.f. Matthew McConaughey; Chris O’Donnell, there with fiancee Caroline Fentress (they’ll wed in the spring); and Mackenzie Astin, there with proud dad John Astin. Also receiving congrats: Vincenzo Nicoli, producer Dimitri Villard (whose father Henry V. is portrayed by Astin), and exec producer Sara Risher. Congratting Attenborough was Alan Parker, and coincidentally on hand was Esther Goris, who plays Eva Peron in “Eva Peron: The True Story,” Argentina’s Oscar entry. She will be cocktailed at the Argentine consulate here Friday. … The town is saddened by the death of Ronnie Cowan, who died Monday at the home of daughter Bonnie Fleming. Ronnie and her great sense of humor will be missed. She was a founder of SHARE. … The Society of Motion Picture & TV Art Directors, IATSE Local 876, holds its first awards for “Excellence in Production Design” Feb. 15 at the Sheraton Universal.