GOOD MORNING: Mama mia? Madonna appears on Rosie O’Donnell’s show today carrying what appears to be her baby, Lourdes Maria, but the baby is Henry, the newborn son of the show’s segment producer Judy Gold. And Judy comes on stage to take back her son, who’s doubling for Lourdes. Gold, who has a great sensahuma (as do Rosie and Madonna), recently won a CableAce Award for half-hour standup comedy special for her HBO spec. She will also be seen in the upcoming Lifetime TV film, “Lois Lives a Little,” part of the net’s series from female filmmakers. … Talking of distaffers, author Olivia Goldsmith, who wrote the “First Wives’ Club” novel, has a new HarperCollins contract for two books: $4 million. One is the “Wives” sequel, “Date Rage”; the second is “Bad Boys School,” whose theme is how unfair women can be to men! Goldsmith is also working on the novel “Switcheroo” to follow the screenplay of same which she and Gail Parent are writing for New Line And talking about authors: Marcia Clark’s bookwriting chore$ and a$$orted appearance$ have KO’d her D.A. office return. … That star on Hollywood Blvd. which Debbie Reynolds receives Monday was originally OK’d for her back in 1987. And it’s to recognize her live stage performances! Thus, the star symbol (next Monday) will be the masks of comedy and tragedy. She already has a star for movies (with camera symbol), given her in 1960 when the Walk of Fame was created and when no ceremonies were held. Debbie probably didn’t even know she’d been approved for the theatrical star in ’87. But now that “Mother” is out, Par has agreed to sponsor (pay for) her and she can celebrate both stars at the same time while also enjoying her return to movies; she’s also in Scott Rudin’s “In and Out” for Par. That pic goes on and on and Tom Selleck, who co-stars, returns to shoot in N.Y. following his appearance at the Cowboy Hall of Fame Sunday in Oklahoma City for TNT’s “Last Stand at Saber River.” Selleck is also winding his final “Friends” seg this week. And after the “In and Out” doings, he returns here to start pre-production on his CBS sitcom for the Fall.
“IT WAS ONE OF THE GREAT openings in the history of B’way,” said “Victor/Victoria” producer Tony Adams, following Liza Minnelli’s bow Tuesday. She’s taking over for vacationing Julie Andrews for 32 performance only. “We brought back Julie Andrews after a 30-year absence from B’way and now Liza, after 12 years,” reminded Adams. “That’s a pretty good double hit for B’way and a tough act to follow.” Before the opening curtain, an offstage voice announced, “For tonight’s performance, the role of Victoria Grant, usually played by Julie Andrews, will be played by Liza Minnelli,” and the audience cheered; when she made her first appearance on stage, they stood and applauded for five minutes. Adams and Blake Edwards are talking to Liza to make a full return to the stage in a new play. A courteous Julie Andrews was not in the audience for Liza’s opening night: she was in Switzerland on her needed vacation. Blake joins her this weekend. Among those on hand for Liza’s return were Lee Minnelli, Ben Vereen, Gwen Verdon, Lucie Arnaz, Tony Randall, Chris Walken and Rosie O’Donnell. Liza also celebrated receiving a Grammy nominations for “Gently” (Angel) Bea Arthur, who decided not to return to the stage in “Bermuda Ave. Triangle” (as reported here Wednesday) told me she’s agreed to do “a couple” of “Dave’s World” segments.
AFTER TED HARBERT MADE his decision Tuesday to depart his ABC Entertainment chairmanship, his wife Susan readied a surprise dinner for him at her mom’s, Marsha Sand’s, Camelions restaurant in Santa Monica. Guests included Jeff Katzenberg (rumor has Harbert joining DreamWorks, but he’s still saying he’s undecided about his future), Steven Bochco, Les Moonves, Barry Gray, William Morris’ Jerry Katzman, ICM’s Alan Berger, etc. Gifts included a book on how to interview for a job and how to prepare for a test to get a job in the post office. … Alice Gobel, widow of comedian George Gobel, died Wednesday at Encino Hospital. Services are set for Saturday at St. Cyril’s Church in Encino at 10 ayem. Gobel fans will recall he constantly referred to his wife as “Spooky old Alice” in his shows. But she was a very lovely, very private lady all during their 49-year marriage. … Bill Dana, who owns rights to 42 half-hours of his “Bill Dana Show” starring Jose Jimenez, is now talking syndication of ’em with Vin Di Bona. Dana’s also developing a new show with the Jimenez character. He’s also active in the CHEETA, project (Committee to Help Enhance the Environment of Tropical Animals) in Palm Springs, where Susie, one of the last two remaining chimpanzees to play Cheeta in the “Tarzan” movies, died in her sleep at the amazing age of 64. Her brother Jiggs, a healthy 57, survives in Palm Springs, where a salute will be given the two Jan. 20 by the Palm Springs Fest. … Roxanne and Jack Carter celebrated their wedding anniversaries at Dan Tana’s with Joni and Jody Berry. “The first marriage lasted 27 years,” said Jack, “the second five I hope this marriage is as successful as our divorce was.” … The Beverly Hills Hotel, the Peninsula Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air are three of the 25 hotels in North America to receive the Mobil Travel Guide Five Star Award for 1997. The Peninsula and its Belvedere restaurant also received the American Auto Assn. Five Diamond Award. Congrats.