GOOD MORNING: The new year will certainly be one of reunions on large and small screens, judging by conversations I had Tuesday. First, let’s talk about the reteaming of Julie Andrews and Jim Garner who, on Jan. 6, start shooting CBS’s “A Winter Visitor” — their first reunion since “The Americanization of Emily” in 1964. Roger Young directs a script by Nancey Silvers. Jim Green and Alan Epstein exec produce, with Gary Pudney as exec coproducer. Green and Pudney tell me they are in constant conversations with Julie, who is in Gstaad with husband Blake Edwards, and that she sounds perfectly fine. There’s no singing required of Andrews in this love story about a widow and widower who fall in love, having met in a hospice, become stranded in a snowstorm, etc. etc. Proof of the confidence Julie will be able to again sing: Pudney plans to (finally) reteam her and Carol Burnett in “Julie and Carol — One Last Time — at Carnegie Hall.” It is a year away … “Winter” producer Green just returned from Canada, filming the CBS “Patty Duke Show — Reunion Show” and it’s the first time the entire cast has been together in 30 years! Neal Israel scripted and coproduced as well; they say this reunion also was memorable — as will be the show … Talking about “Americanization,” producer Martin Ransohoff reminisced that “We all thought it was our best film — Julie Andrews, Jim Garner, Jim Coburn, director Arthur Hiller, Paddy Chayefsky.” The movie created a stir at the time when the Chayefsky script called for “three naked broads” every time Jim Garner opened the door to Coburn’s room. “By today’s standards the scene would be considered very tame,” laughs Ransohoff. Of course the women were covered with a sheet, towel or slip! … Coburn is now enjoying critical reaction to his role in “Affliction.” Daily Variety reviewer Todd McCarthy noted about Coburn, who plays Nick Nolte’s sadistic father, “He rarely has had such exceptional dramatic demands made upon him as an actor, and all but steals the show as Nolte’s impossible father.” He also notes that Nolte “weighs in with one of his strongest emotionally wracked performances,” for which he is already getting crix posies. (Nolte is also celebrating his notices in “The Thin Red Line.”) Coburn, Nolte and the Kingsgate troupe celebrated Monday night at Gabriel’s in N.Y., where Coburn volunteered that Nolte “got sloshed and spilled wine all over me!” Coburn happily notes, “I’m having a resurgence, after doing a lot of junk. It’s rare that you get a role like this one (in ‘Affliction’), with Paul Schrader as your writer and director.” Coburn, who turned 70 Aug. 31, says his beard “is cheaper than a facelift.” His unmistakable voice is heard in many voiceovers and he also dons a hat as an exec producer of “Mists of Avalon,” which Turner will do as a four-hour mini with Mark Wolper as producer.
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM was finding a slum; it’s so prosperous here in Dublin,” said “Angela’s Ashes” producer David Brown as they wound the Par feature. He returns to N.Y. to next prep Par’s “Along Came a Spider,” the predecessor to “Kiss the Girls” — for which Morgan Freeman will hopefully reprise his role. Brown’s wife, Helen Gurley B., is enjoying the success of her current book, “Writers’ Rules” (Wm. Morrow), and is readying another based on her successful life … Gloria Stuart has completed her autobio, “I Just Kept Hoping” (Little, Brown), “to encourage older ladies.” Stuart (88). Oscar-nominated for “Titanic,” recently completed “The Love Letter,” as the grandmother to Kate Capshaw and mother of Blythe Danner. The pic, directed by Peter Chan, also costars Tom Selleck and Ellen DeGeneres … Kate Burton, daughter of Richard Burton, will replace Tony winner Marie Mullen in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” at the Walter Kerr. Burton begins performances Jan. 5, playing the 40ish spinster of Martin McDonough’s touching play … “Fool Moon” winds Jan. 3 at the Brooks Atkinson. Stars Bill Irwin and David Shiner take their show of sly humor, chaos and music (with the quirky Red Clay Ramblers) to D.C.’s Kennedy Center in Feb. They could use some sly humor and music in Washington. They already have the chaos!
TO COMMEMORATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY of the death of William Morris’ president-CEO Lee Stevens, the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation will fund research for Hodgkins’ disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the disease that killed Lee. The events are “Play Hoops for Lymphoma.” The first two events will be Jan. 16-17 at the Barker Hangar and Jan. 23-24 at the Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y. Celebs plus fans will challenge pros in 3-on-3 games. To participate call (310) 937-1893 … Chris and Steve Forrest celebrate their 50th wedding anni today with their three sons, three granddaughters and one grandson-on-the-way … Literary agent Artie Pine and wife Harriette celebrate their 48th wedding anni Dec. 24 … RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) have added Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Franz and Marlee Matlin to the list of those helping to promote the designated driver campaign during the holiday season. Their message: “Designate before you celebrate” … Erik Estrada will don Santa suit and beard at the L.A. Mission Thursday. He’ll ask kiddies whether they’ve been naughty or nice — in either English or Spanish.