Arnold wants Forman to take ‘Wings’

It’s a GOOD MORNING back in town after a news-filled weekend in Palm Springs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, wife Maria (Shriver) and their three children were taking a quick vacation at the Givenchy hotel and spa; Arnold told me he had just met with Milos Forman and had given the helmer the script of “With Wings as Eagles,” which Alan Ladd Jr.’s readying at Par. Arnold said the story requires someone like a Forman to properly treat the subject. Randall Wallace’s script is about a heroic WWII German officer who befriended POWs. Wallace’s father-in-law James Cullen had written a novel, “Osterman’s War” about his own experiences in the war and Wallace based his script on some of those (Cullen’s) experiences. Alan Ladd Jr. said they hope to start “Eagles” this summer if, of course, all the pieces fit together — otherwise, next Spring. Reached at his home in the east, Forman said he is reading the script. “It is a very interesting subject. And I have a great respect for Arnold.” Forman is first committed to Universal’s “Little Black Book” comedy. This Friday, he addresses the National Press Club in D.C. on the First Amendment, “Larry Flynt” (of which he says he is “very proud”) and artists’ rights. … Schwarzenegger has but two scenes remaining as “Mr. Freeze” (three hours of makeup) in “Batman and Robin” and is talking with Jim Cameron on 20th Fox’s’ “Planet of the Apes.” Arnold tells me Stan Winston has already created amazing apes for the 1997 version(s). No, Arnold would not be an ape. I played an ape in complete makeup, no kidding, in the original 1968 “Planet” for pal-producer Arthur Jacobs. It was, natch, an experience. Who will ever forget the sight of the Statue of Liberty protruding from a desolate beach? Cameron expects to wind principal photography on “Titanic” down in Rosarito Beach in three weeks for July release. He would not direct “Apes” and although his banner, Lightstorm Entertainment, does not have a “formal arrangement” with 20th on “Apes,” it’s anticipated he will produce it. He loves the project and the franchise. He and Schwarzenegger are buddies, of course, from “Terminator” I & II and “True Lies.”

THE BIG NEWS IN PALM SPRINGS over the weekend was the concert at the McCallum Theater, “An Evening of Song” with Dolores Hope and Rosemary Clooney — a terrif preview of what’s to come when they repeat at the Rainbow and Stars May 11 for a two-week stand. Dolores at 87 was truly amazing as she warbled delightfully through “Just in Time,” “Paper Moon,” “You Do Something to Me,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Come Rain or Come Shine”; she dedicated “It Had to Be You” to Bob Hope in the front row. “I felt like I was in a den of love,” Dolores said to me. After her single stint, Dolores duetted with Clooney on “Old Friends” and “Dearie,” after which the inimitable Rosemary took over with her show-concert. The two then brought on special guest Michael Feinstein and, as a closer, Bob Hope sang his one-word “It’s” as in “De-Lovely,” with all of them. It was a night for the old memory book as the SRO audience gave ’em standing ovations. The night was a benefit for Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation in Desert Hot Springs. Dolores gets a star on Palm Springs Walk of Fame this week; she will soon get one also on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, where Bob has four (count ’em, four) stars. At dinner at the Hopes’ showcase home high atop the hills of Palm Springs, Dolores learned for the first time she’ll do two shows a night in N.Y. Clooney is confident Dolores will be able to do it. Clooney herself had just returned from the Mayo Clinic, where she underwent knee surgery (plus hysterically funny advice from a therapist there on losing weight). She partied at the Hopes’ house until 3 ayem! Rosie next concerts with Louisville and Ft. Worth symphs. … Among those applauding at the McCallum: Alice Faye, the Gerald Fords, Walter Annenbergs, Rose and Bill Narva, and John Wayne’s first wife, Josephine and her new husband Cyril Nigg. Josephine is the mother of Michael, Toni, Patrick and Melinda Wayne. The Duke Award this year goes to Merv Griffin, April 5 at the BevHilton, benefiting the John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John’s Hospital. Merv got a clean bill of health on his prostate cancer last weekend and we visited him at his ranch at La Quinta to congratulate him. His Moroccan-themed ranch is breathtaking: a showplace on 200 acres, on which he is installing a 5/8-mile professional racetrack. He is a happy man, as you can well imagine.

THE PALM SPRINGS FILM FESTIVAL finale’d on a high note, and celebrating at the Givenchy hotel was Nortel’s west coast topper Toni Yanibn who told me Nortel has renewed its involvement ($) through the year 2000. Celebrating with her were Palm Springs Mayor Will Kleindienst, this year’s festival prez John Wessman and new chairman Tom Martin. … Sunday brunch at the hotel brought out Palm Springs’ senior citizens, the Francis Lederers, Val Guests, Patrick Macnees and Paul Gregory. … Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards return today from their vacation in Switzerland, to hopefully find all’s quiet on the Liza Minnelli-Tony Roberts “Victor/Victoria” front. Roberts is fully expected to return to the show tonight. Julie rejoins the show Feb. 4 and on the 3rd, Tony Roberts inducts her into the Theater Hall of Fame at the Gershwin. Co-star Michael Nouri emcees the ceremony. Bill Cosby is skedded to induct his TV “father,” Earle Hyman, into the Hall. Terry Hodge Taylor, who exec produces, says Cos is skedded to be first on the program and will be excused sans press rooms etc. etc. Tom Hatten’s nursing a fractured left ankle and will b’cast (KNX radio) from home for the next six weeks Robert Clary had an SRO stint at the Jazz Bakery, and is back Thursday through Saturday. … Alexis Gershwin (niece of George and Ira and daughter of their sister, Frances) concerts an all-Gershwin concert at the Friars Feb. 5 with “Gershwin Sings Gershwin: The Next Generation.”

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