Poitier does diplomatic duty

GOOD MORNING: “I will weave my professional life and my responsibility to the Bahamas into the fabric,” says Sidney Poitier, Bahamas’ Ambassador to Japan on his return to his N.Y. home Wednesday from Nassau. He had just reported to Prime Minister Hubert Ingram on his (Sidney’s) presentation of credentials to Japanese Emperor Akihito in the Tokyo Palace. It was a memorable event, one of which Sidney and his family (many of whom still live in the Bahamas) are duly proud (as are his friends in the industry). The formal protocol (in formal morning clothes) meeting with Poitier and the (“charming”) emperor lasted twice as long as ordinary presentations. And while this was a ceremonial event with the traditional bowing, the well-informed Poitier says he also touched lightly on Japanese-Bahamian issues. One, he says, is agriculture — a favorite item with the Japanese is grapefruit which the Bahamas hope to export in greater numbers. Another field Poitier hopes to “expand” is tourism. The Japanese have had “happy experiences,” he said, on Bahaman golf courses, beaches — and casinos. Poitier, born in the U.S., has two passports — using the Bahamian only for his official ambassadorial visits. He is not required to spend time in Japan — the Bahamas have no embassy or staff there. While on this initial official visit to Japan, Poitier also tried to contact Akira Kurosawa, (87) whom he had met — when en route to London to start — “To Sir With Love.” Kurosawa, however, was in another part of the country and unreachable. Poitier hopes to visit him on his next ambassadorial visit. Before this official trip to Japan, Poitier completed his role with Bruce Willis and Richard Gere in “Jackal.” He returns to Hollywood in two weeks to prep “Out of Eden” for Showtime.

“THIS WILL MAKE JOHN GOTTI look like Julie Andrews,” promises Steve Shagan who is readying the “Scarpa” story for HBO. Greg Scarpa’s career, from FBI informant on the mob, with connections ranging from Washington to Vegas and Moe Dalitz, Howard Hughes and Johnny Meyer. Scarpa led a life filled with murders — and died following an AIDS-infected blood transfusion from a (trusted!) fellow mobster. The three-hour telefilm follows Shagan’s “Gotti” for which he received a PEN West literary nomination. The winner will be named later this month and a gala skedded for October for all PEN’s category (drama, screen, TV, journalism) winners. … Danny Aiello, who stars as “The Don” in CBS’ six-hour mini (May 11, 13, 14) based on Mario Puzo’s novel, tells me “I’m very apprehensive — I’ve never played age before.” He ages to 85. Aiello says he has been reticent about doing TV. “I’m simply an actor who requires more time to develop a character.” But he says he a happy experience on “Don” — with director Graeme Clifford and with CBS entertainment president Les Moonves — so he’s piloted “Dellaventura” for a CBS series. He plays a private eye, exec produces (with Richard DiLello), and his sons Danny and Ricky are also involved. Michael Dinner directed the pilot. Aiello says part of the deal states the show must be filmed in N.Y. “I don’t like to fly!” … “It’s like getting ready for a fight,” admits Harry Hamlin who will be playing “Henry V” in D.C.’s 5,000-seat, free outdoor Shakespeare theater — “rain or shine” in June. Monday (May 5), Hamlin makes his fourth guestint on “Ink” and says, “I’d like to come back and smooch with Mary Steenburgen a few more times.” Seriously, Hamlin says, “It’s an honor to work with her and Ted Danson.” Hamlin’s wife of one month, Lisa Rinna, who plays Taylor McBride on “Melrose Place,” is guesting in an NBC pilot and stars in Fox’s telefilm “Nick Furie” with David Hasselhoff while awaiting the new sked of “Melrose Place.” It will probably restart early because of Heather Locklear’s expectancy. The newlywed Hamlins may be further separated if he accepts an offer for a Fiji-set feature.

CAA’S PARTY FOR (client) Ellen DeGeneres and a “live” screening of “the” show plus “Primetime Live” Wednesday filled the agency theater and atrium. Yes, Anne Heche was there with Ellen. And Laura Dern (who guestarred in the seg) was with Billy Bob Thornton, plus Melissa Etheridge (also in the seg) and Julie Cypher, Nathan Lane, Amy Heckerling, Sheryl Crow, Catherine Keener, Kathy Najimy, Shirley MacLaine, Jonathan Silverman, Griffin Dunne, Peter Gallagher. CAA’s Kevin Huvane toasted DeGeneres for her “courage” and promised “support.” There were supporters there from almost every studio-production company as well. … One of the last of the confirmed bachelors, Ma Maison’s owner and founder, Patrick Terrail, is marrying the beautiful Jacqueline Lee Lloyd May 24, at Westwood Hills Christian Church. … And Kristen Hoffman, “masseuse to the stars,” and writer (“Boy Meets World”) Mark Blutman will wed Sunday (4) at the Miramar in Santa Monica. … Mike Ovitz is honorary dinner chairman for the Big Sisters gala May 19 at the BevWilshire. Pam Dawber femcees.

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