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Dunaway thinking ‘Class’ action

GOOD MORNING: Faye Dunaway will show up for her skedded bow in ‘”Master Class” in Portland tonight –at least, that was the word as of Monday. Non-stop negotiations went on over the weekend following Dunaway’s declaration last week that she would not continue the nine-city tour unless a settlement was reached on ownership of the film rights. As I reported Friday, Dunaway, playwright Terrence McNally, the play’s producers, and Jon Platt’s American Artists are being sued by Lester Persky, who says he has a contract from William Morris giving him those film rights. Dunaway believed she was getting ’em when she signed to tour the play. The weekend discussions with Persky and his attorney Adam Streisand of Loeb & Loeb did not resolve the dispute when Dunaway reportedly demanded approval of everything and everyone in the pic version –even if she would make it with Persky. He told her, “Not even Tom Cruise would ask for those rights!” Afterwards, Dunaway called attorney Streisand and told him, “After reflection, I cannot share control with your client” (Persky.) So Streisand is proceeding “full-steam ahead” with their legal action, adding, “She now knew she would be sued by us, as well as (by) the play’s producers.” Thus, on Monday, producer Robert Whitehead’s office said they received word from Dunaway that she’d report for work tonight. producer Manny Kaditis added, “I know from years of touring you cannot walk out and not expect legal action.” Dunaway is skedded to follow her one-week Portland (Schnitzer theater) date with two weeks at SanFran’s Golden Gate Aug. 12. By the way, her stand at the Doolittle here was described as “very good.” I asked Warren Beatty howcum he brought Dunaway (his “Bonnie and Clyde” costar) and Persky together at lunch to try and arbitrate the matter. “I just wanted to be helpful.

IT’S VERY RARE FOR NEIL SIMON to take off when he’s got a play, “Proposals,” in work pre-B’way, or when he has a movie, “The Odd Couple II –Travelin’ Light” in front of the cameras. But Simon and wife Diane did indeed take off for Vienna and Paris. “And it was the smartest thing I did, both for me and the cast (of the play). We’d been working non-stop since the first preview up to opening night with new stuff every day. I had to give them a break.” Himself too. He’s now cut 10 minutes from the play and in the 3 months en route to B’way, the cast can work on the changes: two minutes nightly starting Aug. 13 when director Joe Mantello returns here. The cuts will be in by the time they get to their next stop, Phoenix, then on to D.C. Simon sez, “I love this play and the way it’s going.” As for the movie, he’s catching up viewing all the dailies and is happy with that as well. Simon’s health is again good and after 2 years he’s resumed playing tennis. … The Fall B’way season got under way Monday with first rehearsals of the musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” which bows at the Minskoff Nov. 9. B’way newcomer Douglas Sills stars in the title role. Co-starring are Christine Andreas and Terrence Mann. Peter Hunt directs for producers Pierre Cossette, Bill Haber, Hallmark Entertainment and Ted Forstmann with Kathleen Raitt. … “I know what it’s like to be second generation,” Joely Fisher said, as she complimented Liza Minnelli at the Nikko hotel party following Liza’s emotional performance at the Pantages. Fisher, the daughter of Connie Stevens and Eddie Fisher, also reported her dad sounded better when talking on the phone. … Liza’s brother Joey and her stepdad Sid Luft and his wife Camille were on hand to praise her; Luft has now completed his chemotherapy treatment and is on his way to recovery. Lorna Luft was not present but Sid hopes to mend that rift. Lorna will sing in Billy Crystal’s “My Giant” movie. In conversation with us, Liza spoke amazingly well –although she had feared not being able to be heard unless she sang. She heads east for dates in Cohassett, Mass.; Warwick, R.I., and Cape Cod, Mass., and returns here Aug. 16 to appear –gratis –for the Humane From Hollywood gala at the BevHilton. Tippi Hedren hosts along with daughter Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas. Hedren, who was at Liza’s Pantages bow, told me she’ll co-star in HBO’s “Love and Madness” series as Joanna Kern’s mother.

QUINCY JONES, WHO EXEC produced “An American Reunion, A Celebration of the Bill Clinton Presidential Inauguration” in 1992, got a return tribute when the President appeared last night (via tape) on Jones’ inaugural “Vibe.” The President praised the celebration of “diversity” on the late-night talker starring Chris Spencer. “Vibe” got another hefty assist with the “surprise” appearance of Whoopi Goldberg, who walked on during the guestint of her “Cinderella” co-star Brandy –bringing on the glass slipper. The satellited appearance of Denzel Washington and Spike Lee also made for an auspicious beginning for the show (KCOP here) opposite Keenen Ivory Wayans’ late nighter (KTTV here) Today in Philly, Dick Clark celebrates the 40th anni of his “American Bandstand’s” national airing.

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