Luft rift opens over memoir

GOOD MORNING: One “review” Lorna Luft won’t like about her book “Me And My Shadows, A Family Memoir” (Pocket Books) is from her father, Sid Luft. He tells me, “It’s in the venue of the National Enquirer.” He’s not objecting to her portrayal of him, but of others, including her ex, Jake Hooker. In the book, Lorna admits the rift between her and sister Liza: they haven’t spoken for over two years. Now a silence exists between Sid and his daughter. He is well, after a year of chemotherapy — and is listening to an offer to put films (he owns ’em) of Judy Garland singing on a bigscreen, backed by live music. (Similarly, Elvis Presley was seen singing “with” an on-stage orchestra at three sold-out nights last month at Radio City Music Hall.) Sid Luft met with Dick Edgrin (who had successfully first mounted the Presley idea in Memphis) and with Jerry Harrison, and next talks to RCMH Prods. Luft thinks London would be a suitable first-time outing for this show idea. Garland has a fantastic following there. … And talking of books with Hollywood’s history told first hand, Ava Astaire and husband Richard McKenzie are in town to launch their books from Roberts Rinehart Publishers. Hers, “At Home in Ireland,” is basically a book about her cuisine in their Ireland home, as well as tales of her illustrious heritage. Richard’s “Turn Left at the Black Cow” details their marriage, and days with Ava’s father Fred and Fred’s sister Adele, correcting previous tales of their lives. Both books are fascinating; those of us lucky enough to have visited them in Ireland, and known them from earlier Hollywood days, welcome both books.

A FIRST FOR LAUREN BACALL: she’s guestarring in a two-part CBS “Chicago Hope,” playing a famed artist, with an inoperable brain tumor, who embarks on a final voyage of self-discovery. This week, Bacall started production at 20th Century Fox, where “Hope’s” exec producer John Tinker had wooed her to the series through conversations that began last year. Bacall, with an awards-winning record on bigscreen and stage, had generally limited her small screen work to telefilms. … When we see Sally Field on the April 6 seg of “Murphy Brown” (as another of her bumbling secretaries), it may be the role that encourages Field to return to a series of her own. A series will be among topics she and CAA’s Richard Lovett discuss today (features, as well, of course). When Field filmed the seg with Candice Bergen and company, exec producer Marc Flanagan said she was “fantastic — and this was a great way to test the (series) waters.” Of course, this (‘Murphy Brown’) is as good as a series gets! Among others to play “Murphy’s” short-lived secretaries in the final segs: Don Rickles, Rosie O’Donnell and Bette Midler. … Also in the April 6 “Murphy” seg with Sally: Dick Clark, Fabian, Chubby Checker and Leslie Gore in a 50th birthday party scene. Exec producer Flanagan is talking a new series with Universal, a pilot for the WB net, “1973,” about three teenage girls. … Sam Elliott, who has turned down series offers while busy on the bigscreen, has accepted “TexArkana,” a pilot for Paramount TV-CBS. He’s seen next on the bigscreen in “Hi-Lo Country” with Woody Harrelson. … Don (Donny) Most, who costarred alongside Ron (Ronny) Howard as Ralph Malph in the happy days of the “Happy Days” series, reunites with director-producer Howard. Most will play a TV exec in Imagine’s “Ed-TV” produced by Howard’s partner Brian Grazer and starring Matthew McConaughey as Ed, plus Ellen DeGeneres, Jenna Elfman, Elizabeth Hurley, Sally Kirkland, Martin Landau, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper and Woody Harrelson. … Tom Selleck, who last week danced in white tie and tails with Bernadette Peters while singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” for a seg of “The Closer,” heads to Oklahoma City this weekend and the Cowboy Hall of Fame Awards to accept, along with co-producer Michael Brandman, for TV’s outstanding feature film, “Last Stand At Saber River.” That’s show’em cowboy, biz.

“I’M THE FIRST ACTOR on that (new) stage, so I’m not going to miss that opportunity to do something, bombastic or otherwise!” He’s John Lithgow, who emcees the “Encore” celebration of the reopening of UCLA’s Royce Hall Saturday. Lithgow has “previewed” the hall and says “It is both beautiful and intimate — now the best concert facility in Southern California.” Although Lithgow is a Harvard alum, his ties are to UCLA, as wife Mary Yeager is a teacher of economics there. In addition to Saturday’s already-announced star performers, look for Paul Reiser to surprise with his musical talents. Wednesday, at the table reading of the “3rd Rock From The Sun” seg, the writers nearly had a heart attack when two strange pages of dialog suddenly appeared. It was Lithgow’s idea — for April Fool’s Day. During the series hiatus, Lithgow heads to Europe to costar with Dianne Wiest in “Portofino” for director Malcolm Mowbray. … Recent Oscar nominee Robert Forster (“Jackie Brown”), deluged with scripts, decided (with manager Alan Somers) on Walter Hill’s big-budget sci-fi’er “Super Nova” for UA with James Spader, Angela Bassett and Robin Tunney.

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