Ovitz, Pei reunite to plan hospital

GOOD MORNING: It’s a reunion for Mike Ovitz and I.M. Pei. You recall, the latter designed CAA’s headquarters on Wilshire Blvd. after what Ovitz describes as “the best four-year creative period in my life.” Today, it will be announced that Pei will plan the new UCLA hospital facilities to replace those with earthquake damage. The news will be announced at a press conference at UCLA Medical Center’s Neuropsychiatric Institute Auditorium by Ovitz; Pei; Dr. Gerald Levey, UCLA provost Medical Sciences and dean of UCLA’s School of Medicine; and financier Ron Burkle (managing partner of Yucaipa Companies — Ralph’s Grocery Co., Food 4 Less, etc.). Ovitz and Burkle will lead a campaign to raise $300 million in private funds for the new $1.1 billion complex. (Ovitz and wife Judy recently donated $25 million to the fund-raising campaign.) Ovitz and Burkle were also active in Demo-candidate fund-raising projects, including star-studded events at the Burkle home (the former Harold Lloyd estate). Skedded for today’s announcement is a six-minute docu on the Medical Center and things to come. Ovitz exec produced and Line Postmyn produced the short by Neil Abramson, who had worked on CAA’s Coca-Cola commercials by Shelly Hochron and Len Fink. There will not be any showbiz “events” to raise the funds for the Medical Center, said Ovitz, who claims he is definitely out of showbiz. … Monday he, Pei (80), Burkle and Levey lunched at Spago to discuss today’s announcement. The look of the hospital will be all Pei’s. He said, “The environment of the hospital should be a cheerful one, a pleasant place to be — and not to appear to be big!” His many credits include the east wing of the National Gallery in D.C. and the Mount Sinai Medical Center in N.Y. Ovitz says the new center aims to become the nation’s finest “in patient care and research.”

“HE WOULD HAVE LIKED IT,” said Jimmy Stewart’s daughter Kelly (Mrs. Sandy Harcourt) after Monday afternoon’s services at BevHills Presbyterian Church, which followed Monday morning’s (private) burial at Forest Lawn. The Presidential Color Guard was present at graveside for full military honors and 21-gun salute, and present later at the church. At the service’s end, at the sounding of taps, there wasn’t the proverbial dry eye in the house as Stewart’s friends left to the strains of “Auld Lang Syne,” the closing theme of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. … Other speakers at the Church were Rev. Jim Morrison and Lt. Gen. Roger DeKok, who reminded of Stewart’s Air Force service. … Among those overwrought with emotion was June Allyson, who told me, “He was the best friend I ever had. We made four movies together — but we could never remember the fourth one!” (Three were “The Glenn Miller Story,” “The Stratton Story” and “Strategic Air Command.”) Allyson reminded that Jimmy and Gloria Stewart “stood by me when Richard (Dick Powell) died.” She was on hand with fellow MGM classmate Esther Williams, at whose house Allyson has been staying this week. Other friends on hand included the Bob Hopes, Carol Burnett, Frances Bergen and Craig Stevens, Nancy Reagan and Betsy Bloomingdale, Edie and Lew Wasserman, Jimmy Hawkins, Rosemarie and Bob Stack, A.C. Lyles and Henry Nicklas, Stewart’s barber from the Bel-Air Country Club who regularly shaved Jimmy and cut his hair. During the last shave, Nicklas noted Stewart had a bandage on the left side of his face. He asked Jimmy, “Shall I take if off to shave you? ” Stewart said, “Don’t worry about the left side of my face, God will take care of it.”

I COULDNT’ MAKE THIS UP: It was Neil Simon’s surprise 70th birthday party, carefully arranged by wife Diane — but since guests included Howard Deutch, who’s directing Simon’s “Odd Couple II — Travelin’ Light,” and Joe Mantello, directing Simon’s about-to-bow (July 16) “Proposals,” Simon gave the two helmers new script pages to take home with ’em! The invite said “No gifts,” but invitees were asked to send notes, pix, etc. about their association with Simon. Touching, humorous responses, carefully mounted in two books came from President Clinton, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Christine Baranski (Tony winner from “Rumors” and in “Odd II”), Annette Bening and Warren Beatty (whom Simon wished he’d done something with), Gordon Davidson, Ron Rifkin (in “II”), Sid Caesar (Simon’s first boss), Marvin Davis, Carrie Fisher, Johnny Carson, Mel Brooks, Steve Martin, Carl Reiner, Bud Yorkin. The most touching was a letter from brother Danny; he and Roy Gerber were the inspiration for the characters in “Odd Couple.” Both were on hand to reminisce. Simon proudly announced that daughter Nancy had just won the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for her (first) collection of short stories! Simon, pere, said “Proposals” is probably his last play: it takes too long to get a play on stage. “But, he quickly added, “I’ll never stop writing — movies or TV”. … And talking about writing: the new title of the Alan Smithee film is “An Alan Smithee Film — Burn Hollywood Burn.”

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