Lansbury has no time for ‘Tea’

GOOD MORNING: While Angela Lansbury admits she “would dearly love to do the bigscreen “Tea With Mussolini” with Joan Plowright and Vanessa Redgrave for Franco Zeffirelli (Daily Variety, June 10), small-screen projects are overflowing her plate. She just wound a two-hour “Murder, She Wrote,” the first of four under her new CBS pact, and next starts “Lady for a Day,” Hallmark’s remake of the 1933 feature; plus, she now has received the competed script for “Mrs. ‘arris Goes to N.Y.,” which follows. Add to her workload “The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.” (Roz Russell starred in 1971’s “Mrs. Pollifax — Spy” as the unexpected CIA agent.) Meanwhile, “Tea With Mussolini,” based on an episode in the life of Zeffirelli, is skedded to start September in Tuscany. For Lansbury to be able to “fit it in,” some fancy scheduling would have to be worked out. “I’m thrilled to be that busy,” says Angela as she and Peter Shaw ready to depart Tuesday for six weeks at their home in Ireland. … The entire cast of “An Unexpected Family” is joined by some added “family” in the sequel “An Unexpected Life” for USA Network. For the sequel, Lee Rose, exec producer and writer, reunions her original players Stockard Channing (who departs “The Little Foxes”), Christine Ebersole, Stephen Collins, Noah Fleiss and Chelsea Russo. Added are RuPaul in a non-drag role, plus Elaine Stritch. David Jones directs. In the sequel, Channing gets “accidentally pregnant.” The telefilm shoots in Vancouver. Tom Scott will play sax in the wedding reception scene. … Producer Rose will next make her directing debut on Universal TV’s “Sipes vs. McGhee,” based on the true story of the black family who passed for white and were later sued by their white neighbors. The case went to the Supreme Court. … One of the soldiers with Tom Hanks’ in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” will be one of Hanks’ young (22) players in “That Thing You Do” — Giovanni Ribisi, who plays Frank Jr. in “Friends.”

RODEO DRIVE ADDRESSES the Entertainment Industry Foundation/Permanent Charities Committee: Sunday, Sept. 21, Rodeo Drive celebrates PCC’s 25th anni with a gala and dinner on the street to benefit the showbiz charity. And this Friday at Ermenegildo Zegna’s, the boutique and Vanity Fair hold a reception to salute young Hollywood and to introduce ’em to fundraising for the foundation. Performances include Az Yet and Hey Wooley. … Rodeo Drive continues to be one of the world’s leading fashion streets with a plethora of party openings. On Tuesday, the world’s largest Hugo Boss shop opened with a benefit for the BevHills Fine Art Commission, with exhibits by celeb artists Donna Summer, Dennis Hopper, Phyllis Diller, Sally Kirkland, Russ Tamblyn, Phil Hartman and Yoko Ono (still on exhibit), plus a Wolfgang Puck-catered dinner following in the BevHills City Hall Plaza where Jon Secada entertained. … And coming up on Rodeo Drive are openings of expanded shops by Ferragamo, Hermes and the new Tommy Hilfiger — on the former site of Dick Carroll’s, now moved to Canon Drive, where Chasen’s and Spago have also recently bowed. … At year’s end, Fred Hayman, one of the founders and leaders of the Rodeo Drive committee, launches his seventh fragrance, Fred Hayman’s Hollywood. In July, Fred makes yet another (successful) appearance on the Home Shopping Network with his line of leather items. … B’way come to L.A. June 18 at Carole and Barry Kaye’s Museum of Miniatures, when Tony Walton, Oscar-, Emmy-, and Tony-winning designer, unveils some of his beautiful miniature sets from shows including “Steel Pier,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Macbeth,” “The Wiz,” etc. Walton will be on hand opening night.

FOUR ARTISTS WILL BE HONORED by the U.S. Postal Service the week of Sept. 8. The event, to be held at the Metropolitan Opera House in N.Y. will stamp Lily Pons, Rosa Ponselle, Lawrence Tibbett and Richard Tucker. … The singing talents of Sarah Lesch, E! Entertainment TV’s PR VP, will be heard June 17 at Dodger Stadium, when she sings the National Anthem at the Dodgers-Angels game. In the past, she’s sung everything from Handel’s “Messiah” to Gilbert & Sullivan. … Publicist Charlie Barrett has formed Windham River Prods. and launches with “Yankee Camera.” a one-hour pilot for New England Public TV. … Vet columnist Eddie Sherman’s here from Hawaii with his new bride, the former Patty Araki, CEO of Jeans Warehouse stores of the Islands. … Director Paul David’s docu, “Timothy Leary’s Dead” kicks off the 30th anni of “the summer of love” in SanFran, Berkeley and San Jose, June 27. Hollace Davids is associate producer Victoria (Mrs. David) Levy will be inducted as president of the Young Musicians Foundation, June 18 at Jimmy’s.

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