U puts its theme mark on Orlando

GOOD MORNING: Universal Studios launches its new Orlando theme park, Islands of Adventure, with the studio’s king of adventure, Steven Spielberg, who is “creative consultant.” He arrives Tuesday at the site of the new theme park-to-be, dubbed “the playground for the Millennium,” — in a moving van loaded with new Universal “Roommates” for the park, including “The Cat in the Hat,” “Betty Boop,” “Popeye,” “Spiderman,” “Rocky & Bullwinkle,” “Merlin,” etc. Ron Meyer will be on hand with Spielberg to activate the world’s largest hourglass (weighing three tons) which will begin the countdown to the opening of the Adventure park in the Spring 1999. Of course, they may also have a word or two to say about another “park,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” which opens — all over — May 23. … The versatile Joan Plowright (67), Oscar-nominated for “Enchanted April” and whose film roles range from “The Entertainer” to “Dennis the Menace” and “101 Dalmatians,” will play a champion ballroom dance competitor from Houston in “Shut Up and Dance” for director Randa Haines at Mandalay/Sony. The film stars Vanessa Williams and Chayanne and the choreographers for the hot, sexy Latin dance sequences are Daryl Matthews, himself a champion salsa dancer who also wrote the script, and Liz Curtis, seven times professional dance champ. … And talking music — : Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is not only limiting Michael Jackson’s extravagances but has also bought into Jackson’s record company, MJJ Music. … Warren Beatty’s untitled 20th feature is in front of the cameras again — for another scene with Larry King, who will be here to also play himself in another White House-set movie, “Primary Colors” for Mike Nichols. King is in D.C. today for his 40th anni “live” show, switching seats to be interviewed by Bryant Gumbel. (Ted Koppel couldn’t take King’s chair — he’s in Hong Kong.) Larry gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame May 8 — next to his idol, Arthur Godfrey.

FROM BILL COSBY TO EDDIE MURPHY: Raven-Simone (11) who played Olivia, Cosby’s clever tiniest tyke in the final three seasons of “The Cosby Show” on NBC is now playing Eddie Murphy’s daughter in 20th’s feature remake of “Dr. Dolittle.” She says Eddie is a “very nice” father, too. Raven doesn’t get to act with the animals — which range from squirrels to tigers — onscreen. “But I get to play with them outside the stage,” she said happily. The talented youngster also has a holding deal with WB TV for her own series — now being developed. She was in D.C. last week for the Presidential Summit and met with Gen. Colin Powell. The precocious moppet said she’s already working on the summit program for children and enumerated its five points without missing a beat. … Powell sent Anne Douglas a congratulatory note following the announcement of the $1 million pledged by Kirk and Anne Douglas for a Playground Grant Program. “Permit me to express my most heartfelt appreciation to you for your generosity.” He also thanked Anita May Rosenstein and the Wilbur May Foundation and Mayor Richard Riordan for their contributions (adding up to $2.5 million). Powell noted that their contributions will give “a mighty boost” to the nationwide efforts of the Alliance for Youth which he launched April 28 in Philly. … Among Stanford U. alumna happy to hear that Chelsea Clinton chose to attend Stanford (over Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.) is Clancy Collins (27) — daughter of Mary Ann Mobley and Gary Collins — who is vice-president development of Paramount Domestic TV. She, too had been accepted to those other colleges but chose Stanford. Other Stanford alumna include Jennifer Grant, daughter of Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon and Sigourney Weaver. … Carnegie Mellon U. in Pittsburgh broke ground for its Purnell Center for the Arts building — funds from the March 4 feed here honoring alumni including Bud Yorkin helped to make this come true.

THE GOVERNOR PITCHES IN: Mass. Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci is making the rounds of studios this week along with the Massachusetts Film Office director Robin Dawson personally pitching the “fee-free” attractions, etc. for filmmakers. Celucci will soon be the state’s governor as current Gov. William Weld has been nominated by President Clinton to become ambassador to Mexico. Producer Danielle Alexandra partied ’em — the Mass. movie-wishers gave her mucho support during making of “G.I. Jane” — even got the Army to build a pontoon bridge to an island location. … Marcia Clark and fellow author Chris Darden will be among their agent Norman Brokaw’s personal guests at the SRO Assn. of Talent Agents BevHills Hotel lunch Tuesday honoring him. … The terrif turnout of industryites who RSVP’d for tonight’s screening of “Screening” has forced a second viewing room at the DGA. The short is described as “The ‘Jurassic Park’ of short films” by its director, Gil Cates Jr., and producers Jordan Summers and Jordan Zevon. … As Kiefer Sutherland’s “Truth or Consequences, N.M.” bows in theaters Friday, Ralph Edwards heads for the 48th Fiesta in Truth or Consequences, N.M., the town named after the radio show Edwards made famous.

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