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Lazars leave generous legacy

GOOD MORNING: Irving Lazar and his wife Mary leave a legacy beyond the nickname “Swifty” (which he hated), the tall tales of his deals for clients — including the likes of Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Humphrey Bogart, Neil Simon, Larry McMurtry, Kirk Douglas, Michael Caine and Joan Collins — and their legendary Oscar parties they hosted at the Bistro and later at Spago. The Lazars’ Trust has donated almost $4 million apiece to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA Medical Center/School of Medicine. Irving died Dec. 30, 1993, Mary having preceded him on Jan. 14, that same year. Both had been patients at both hospitals. At Cedars-Sinai, the main lobby has been named for both Lazars. At UCLA, a program in Health Services Research and scholarships for future doctors and researchers and a waiting area have been established in their names as well.

WITH THE DEMOS’ DEFEAT in N.Y., N.J. and Virginia races, President Clinton steps up his appearances, arriving in L.A. for three dates Nov. 16. The topper is a fundraising dinner for the Democratic National Committee hosted by Cheryl and Haim Saban at their home with contributions ranging from $10,000, $25,000 to $100,000 (for co-hosts). Earlier (5-7 p.m.) the President will appear at Spago for “Rock the Vote.” This is a non-profit org — “to motivate young people in the political process” — thus, the $1,800/person, $2,500/couple contributions are tax-deductible. Chelsea is expected to be with the President in L.A., arriving from studies at Stanford … Wednesday night in N.Y., JFK Jr.’s George magazine celebrated its second anni with a party at the Asia de Cuba restaurant in Morgan’s Hotel. And “Meet the Press” celebrated its 50th anni at the Rainbow Room … Kevin Costner is George’s December cover subject — not in historic garb … “I’m becoming the Steven Spielberg of Viacom,” laughed Dick Van Dyke as he put on another hat on his “Diagnosis Murder” series (now in its 5th season). In the seg filming this week. Van Dyke, a whiz at working f/x on a computer — “It’s my passion” — puts that expertise to work on the “Down and Dirty Dead” seg. It’s written by Dick’s son and series co-star, Barry. And also features guestings by Barry’s sons/Dick’s grandsons Carey, 22, and Shane, 19, all expert motorcyclists and riding in the seg. Further, Dick has used the computer to put his head on a cyclist for the action that includes a bike flying over the Eiffel Tower — “and maybe over the Grand Canyon,” added Dick. Actual stuntwork is done by Brian Manley. The series has completed 100 segs and will probably equal the original “Dick Van Dyke Show’s” 175, he says. CBS ordered two additional segs for this season. “And I’m the guy who said, “This show will never last!” Always honest, he also says about the seg airing tonight — about the workings of a TV network: “It’s too mean-spirited” … Cheech Marin, co-starring in “Nash Bridges” with Don Johnson, is now readying a feature version of his “Cheech, the Bus Driver” for his already-established children’s audience. Marin got his “From Dusk to Dawn” director Robert Rodriguez to play a role in “Bridges” — as a commercial director for Cheech’s “Joe Dominguez” character’s salsa. Marin tells me he is in negotiations to merchandise Cheech’s Salsa. “I want to be the next Paul Newman,” he adds.

TAKING OVER FOUR STUDIOS at Sony in N.Y., “The Lion King” CD (Disney) was recorded by Grammy-winning composer Mark Mancina with the show’s director Julie Taymor in time to have the disc delivered at the B’way preem (the New Amsterdam), Nov. 13. “We did it ‘live’ with cameras in each room,” said Mancina, who dashed between ’em. “When Disney exex came in and saw what we were doing they got a little nervous.” They were working on music in the theater up until two days ago, he admitted. This despite the fact the show already received rave reviews — from Daily Variety in Minneapolis. The “Lion King” movie had only five tunes, by Mancina and Hans Zimmer, but the show has 13 more by Mancina plus three by Elton John and Tim Rice … Eddie Albert received a Bronze Star from the Navy — 54 years after saving the lives of several Marines trapped in shellfire from the shore off Tarawa. Albert fished them out of the water and brought them (many wounded) to Navy mother ships. Nineteen of those men — now in their 70s — went to D.C. to once again thank — and salute Albert. He will be 90 on his next birthday and has established his own Web site on the Internet. “I’m very excited about it,” he told me. He talks about “trees, the air, the environment. That’s what I want to do the rest of my life” … On three consecutive days, concluding at Wednesday’s lunch, “special guests” Monty Hall, Loni Anderson and Peter Marshall were center-staged by the 500 Club of the City of Hope at the BevHilton where they raised $250,000 for the cancer center … Dee Wallace Stone today joins Fergie, the Duchess of York, and Frida in Oklahoma City for the “Chances for Children” fundraiser.

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