GOOD MORNING: “60 Minutes” may have a followup to its interview with Kathleen Willey on next Sunday’s airing: Don Hewitt told me, “We’re thinking about it.” Yes, he says they did invite President Clinton to be interviewed, and continued to ask (Press Secretary) Michael McCurry up through Saturday. “And we’re still asking him.” Hewitt noted that the President’s first response to Willey’s accusation (contained in the interview) came during Monday morning’s Maryland Round Table Press Confab appearance. Clinton expressed his dismay and disbelief of her description of the matter. How did “60 Minutes” get Willey to talk? “We’ve been after her a long time.” Hewitt said it was one of Ed Bradley’s seg producers who initiated the story. “We have no assignment desk,” Hewitt reminded, adding that Willey accepted their offer (over tabloids and others) “beause we conduct a dignified interview.” No money was exchanged ever for an appearance on the show, he emphasized … Although Sally Field told Academy voters, “You like me, you really like me” when she won her second Oscar, she has said she is not going to attend this 70th Oscar awards. Field said she will be out of town, but maybe this will encourage her to return: the count is now up to 70 former acting winners who will be there. And they’ll pose for a photo that promises to outshine the memorable 1943 MGM portrait taken of all its contract players … And while John Travolta didn’t show for last Sunday’s gala preem and party for “Grease’s” 20th anni re-release (March 27), nor was he at the press junket, he is skedded for a four-hour press session with Olivia Newton-John the Monday after the film’s opening weekend. Travolta had given primary “Colors” junket interviews.
SO YOU THINK YOU’RE BUSY: Gil Cates, readying to produce the Oscar show, will be back at the Shrine April 14 to exec produce — along with Don Mischer, producer David G. Goldberg and co-producer Dennis Doty — a CBS special, “To Life! America Celebrates Israel’s 50th.” The two-hour spec will air on the 25th. Mischer, Goldberg and Geoff Bennett are now in Israel for a week to coordinate filming at Masada and a “live” interconnection with an audience at Jerusalem’s Tower of David. International co-chairs of the committee are Merv Adelson and Marvin Josephson, with committee members including Lew Wasserman, Steven Spielberg, Gerald Levin, Bob Daly and Terry Semel. The show at the Shrine will include an America-wide celebration from filmmakers James Moll and June Neallor (who were recommended by Spielberg), traveling around the U.S. to give this celebration a truly American flavor. U.S. opera star Jessye Norman will perform on the cliffs of Masada at sunset, certain to be an emotional moment. Among the top talents creating the show are musical director Marvin Hamlisch and head writer Larry Gelbart. The charities benefiting from the event are the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Jewish Federation … Billy Crystal took time out from rehearsing for the Oscars to be entertained by family and friends at his 50th birthday party at the Four Seasons. Pals who entertained him included Robin Williams, Richard Lewis, John Lovitz, Martin Short, Mel Brooks and m.c. Rob Reiner, who also taped a hot tub seg with Christopher Guest and Martin Short. In addition to family on hand, Crystal was toasted by Oscar boss Gil Cates, and longtime friends including Mohammad Ali and Carl Reiner. The latter told a novel way how Jerry Seinfeld should finale his series: marrying Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) after a drunk winning spree in Vegas, giving ’em a chance for a reunion special in a couple of years to see how the marriage worked out. Seinfeld covers the May issue of Vanity Fair; the current April issue is the largest (and best) in the magazine’s history. At Vanity Fair’s Oscar party, Graydon Carter again is politically incorrect — by having souvenir ashtrays made up for the bash! Last year it was cigarette lighters. Of course Graydon is a smoker!
PERILS OF NOTORIETY: The offices of Gold/Marshak/Liedtke agency were broken into and a framed $100 bill with the signature of Leonardo DiCaprio was stolen. The signed message: “Darryl, you were right!” The office was the early agency for a younger DiCaprio, who was touted by ’em to do “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” instead of “S.F.W.,” and a $100 bet was made if the agents were correct. “Grape” earned Leo an Oscar nomination and the other faded quickly. So DiCaprio paid off. And some collector has a DiCaprio autograph –temporarily! … A special memorial service will be held at 6 tonight for John Gary at the Little Brown Church in Studio City. He was always considered “Ireland’s adopted son” for his rendition of ‘”Danny Boy.” Gary died, after a long illness, Jan. 4 in Dallas … A memorial service was held for Lloyd Bridges at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. In addition to eloquent speeches from Bridges’ children and grandchildren, Bridges was farewelled by Betty Garrett Parks, producer-director (“Airplane!”) Jim Abrahams and Jimmy Connors (who, when he was a star for the Bruins’ tennis team, had been encouraged by Bridges).