GOOD MORNING: Legal action against Playgirl “is being considered,” said Antonio Banderas’ attorney George Hayum. The full-frontal nude photo in the mag “supposedly” of Banderas is “not a picture of Antonio,” said Hayum; “Antonio’s reputation is damaged by (printing) it. It is something he would not do.” Banderas, in Mexico with “The Mask of Zorro,” is aware of the above. … Jeanette Walls, Esquire’s glamorous redhead “Reality Check” columnist and member of E! Entertainment’s “Gossip Show” dish-ers, has signed with Dutton to write her book, “Dish.” Walls says she’ll take a year off “The Gossip Show” to dish it out in the book and the mag. … The pic “Baby Geniuses” will morph infants talking to each other, much as “Babe” did with fellow animals, reports Kim Cattrall. She stars with Kathleen Turner as (unknowing) adoptive mothers of separated twins who can converse with each other while adults cannot comprehend their babbling. Christopher Lloyd, Dom DeLuise and Ruby Dee co-star in the comedy slated for Christmas. Bob Clark (“Christmas Story”) directs, Steven Paul produces the comedy for Triumph. Cattrall also stars in NBC’s May sweeps mini, “Lethal Invasion,” described as a cross between “Stepford Wives” and “Body Snatchers.” The sci-fi thriller is from Von Zernig/Sertner Films. … Talking about twins, Jane Seymour, the mother of twins, is currently directed by husband James Keach in a two-hour special “Medicine Woman.” In the next seg, Keach, who hasn’t been on the other side of the cameras in five years, will guestar with David Carradine, as the two play bad guys who hold Seymour hostage. Jerry London directs that seg. … “The English Patient” d.p. John Seale will next lense “City of Angels” for WB, starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan for director Brad Siberling. … Fox TV’s special “Battle of the Sexes on Ice” has a March 12 air date and the studio has given producers David Krieff and Scott Hamilton the go-ahead for “The Battle of the Sexes on the Court” with Jimmy Connors and Steffi Graf to costar vs. each other. While Connors will get the conventional two serves, Graf will get three. Krieff is also readying (for WB syndication) a “Big Wednesday” sequel, with John Milius to direct. Gary Busey, Bill Katt and Mark Harmon will star.
TODAY IS ERNIE BORGNINE’S 80th birthday, but wife Tova surprise-partied him in advance so he’d have no inkling of a celebration. His “Single Guy” cast, led by Jonathan Silverman and Joey Slotnick, escorted Ernie to what he thought was a stag party for NBC’s Bob Wright. Thus, Borgnine had no idea what was in store for him when he arrived at the BevHilton’s Grand Ballroom, which Tova had converted into a nautical setting, complete with top Navy brass, side boys, WAVES and, yes, even a live “mermaid.” The event was an emotional reminder of a half century of showbiz, with clips (assembled by son Cristofer and Scott Dorel) showing Borgnine’s portrayals from sad to sadistic, cruel to comic, from stage to screens (small and large) and to the single guy himself The remarkable evening had Borgnine honored with congrats from the President and Hillary, a trophy from the Navy (in which he served 10 years) and an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Columbia College-Hollywood. Borgnine was near tears from the outpouring of affection and honors. Reporting on the March 21, 1956, Academy Awards when he won for “Marty,” I wrote “he was the most emotional Oscar winner I have ever seen.” He beat out James Cagney in “Love Me or Leave Me,” James Dean in “East of Eden,” Frank Sinatra in “Man With the Golden Arm,” and Spencer Tracy in “Bad Day at Black Rock.” Time mag called him “the ‘Hamlet’ of butchers.” I also wrote at that time, “Ernie Borgnine now rates $100,000 a picture thanks to ‘Marty.’ ” At the 1956 post-Oscar party at the BevHills Hotel Crystal Room, Borgnine danced a mean rhumba. At his 80th birthday party, he danced a mean foxtrot with Tova, with whom he’ll next month celebrate their 24th wedding anni. They were introduced in Las Vegas by Marty Allen and wife Frenchie. Later, the Allens could barely get to the Borgnine wedding at the Flamingo because Elvis Presley had handcuffed them to chairs at Presley’s closing party at the Vegas Hilton. Ah, those were the days! Allen, of course, was at Borgnine’s 80th birthday party, saying he was giving him a gift certificate from Dr. Kevorkian! George Lindsay shared m.c. honors with Tova, introducing the “toasters” who included: Blue Angels’ Commander George Dom, Tim Conway (“McHale’s Navy”), Harvey Korman, Milton Berle, Stefanie Powers, Anthony Quinn (about whom Red Buttons, in his “Never Got a Dinner” routine, said, “Tony Quinn, who asked, ‘What’s a condom’?”). … Also speaking: Karl Malden, Burt Kennedy, Brad Hall, Don Rickles, Larry Manetti, Ben Barkin, Willie Davis and Borgnine’s children Nancee, Cristofer and Sharon and Delbert Mann, who directed “Marty,” and Gene Autry, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday this year. “Single Guy’s” Silverman noted to Borgnine, “We kids work five days a week with you and we know you don’t know what we’re talking about and we don’t know what you’re talking about but you’re a colleague and a legend and we love you.” Julie Budd closed with a sensaysh portion of her act, with great backing by Les Brown and his full band. On the set Thursday, Borgnine was still bubbling, even though he works today on his birthday, plus Saturday, because of rain delays. But he loves working, and plans to continue as long as the show goes on. Suzanne Pleshette returns to “Single Guy” for another two segs as Silverman’s outrageous mom her previous guestints zoomed the ratings.