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Fonda gets $10 mil birthday gift

GOOD MORNING, MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year: I will be back on these pages Jan. 6… Jane Fonda was happy birthday-gifted on her 60th (Dec. 20) by husband Ted Turner with a $10 million foundation in her and her children’s names. (Turner already has one for himself and his children). At the black-tie party in Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, Jane, looking spectacular, showed a 30-minute film of her life. It featured segs with her father Henry (including clips from “On Golden Pond”), brother Peter, her children, Troy and Vanessa, ex-husbands Tom Hayden and Roger Vadim. It closed with these words: “To be continued.” The Turners are spending the holidays in Argentina… Elizabeth Taylor tells me she looks forward to the next year, hopefully “as a charm – the third year has got to be a charm. I’ve been sick for the past three.” She’s been getting out a bit more. Rod Steiger escorted her to a party at the Bob Dalys’. “We’re both survivors,” noted Steiger, who calls Elizabeth, “one of the most heroic people I’ve ever met.” Steiger’s completed five “small” films in a row – and has an idea for a really big feature. And Taylor says she’s anxious to work again, adding, “There’s something in the wind.” As for her “pixie-ish” tresses, Taylor says she now wants to go “real platinum.”

BEFORE HEADING TO BOSNIA, the Clintons invited guests to dinner at the White House.They included Whoopi Goldberg with Frank Langella. He was given the night off “Cyrano” (with the blessing and insistence of the Roundabout management – and understudy Ray Virta went on). Also dining with the Clintons were John Cusack and Denise Rich. And on Sunday, pre-Bosnia flight, the Clintons’ brunch guests included Bobby Zarem, who told the President about Vernon Jordan’s cameo in Bob Altman’s “The Gingerbread Man.” On Jan. 8 Clinton returns to N.Y. for more fundraisers: one a lunch at Jane Rosenthal’s apartment in the Dakota ($5,000 a head), and dinner at Susan and Alan Patricof’s ($20,000 a couple) … Angela Lansbury wound CBS’ “The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax” with three days in Paris and she and husband Peter Shaw will holiday at their home in Ireland. While on location in Paris last weekend, Angela (who’s playing a CIAgent), Peter and son-director Anthony Shaw and Scripps Howard (the production entity) president and CEO David Percelay were visited by Paris CIA chief Mike McBride. Coincidentally, Percelay is preparing yet another CIA pic, this one with producer Jeff Apple (“In the Line of Fire”)… A giant trek’s assembling for the Jan. 3 preem of “Star Trek: The Experience” at the Las Vegas Hilton. Participants will not be disappointed in the $70 million “Experience,” assures Rick Berman who has been senior consultant to the “Experience” through its inception and construction. The “ride” portion is in a “space shuttle” inside an 80-foot dome and is “the climax in which riders are kidnapped into the 24th century – and then returned to Earth.” Berman says, “The ‘Experience’ pushes ‘Star Trek’ ahead light years!” And he should know – he’s done eight “Star Trek” features, readying a ninth (budgeted over $50 million) plus three TV series and a 35-40-minute “Star Trek” Imax feature. Berman, who has a long-term development pact with Par (where he’s been helping ’em make hundreds of millon$), is looking forward to doing projects with “people on the ground wearing blue jeans.”

“ON TIME AND UNDER BUDGET”… ah, those magic words. They were spoken by first-time feature director Kevin Sullivan as he and 20th’s “How Stella Got her Groove Back” returned from Jamaica locations. The pic stars Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg and newcomer Taye Diggs, 20 years Bassett’s junior and her love interest. Sullivan says the “amazing chemistry” between Bassett and Goldberg made it possible for him to allow them to improvise constantly. “They make magic together.” And, he adds, Diggs “hold his own with them.” Do Bassett and Diggs go off into the sunset together? Can they survive? Stay tuned. But one thing’s certain, says Sullivan ” there’s no sequel – It’s a story completely told.” The pic’s producer Deborah Schuller set Bassett for the film of Terry McMillan’s book while also doing McMillan’s “Waiting to Exhale.” Angela even delayed her honeymoon with Courtney Vance to do “Stella.” Bassett told me about working with Whoopi, “she’s so generous – a unifying force with the cast – and the crew as well”… In Toronto starring as Cap’n Andy in “Show Boat,” Dean Jones is paged by Garth Drabinsky to continue with the SRO show in London. Although Jones admits, “I feel so privileged to deliver such joy into an audience with this show,” he is set to produce, along with Howard Kazanjian and Bruce Isaacson, Frank Poretti’s “This Present Darkness” for 20th. Chuck Russell directs his screenplay… Drabinsky is now readying the Dec. 26 opening of “Ragtime” at the Ford Center on 42nd street – across the street from the New Amsterdam theater and the greatest B’way show I’ve ever seen – “The Lion King.”

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