New Yorkers get in on Oscar party

GOOD MORNING and welcome aboard, New York, New York: Among previous Oscar winners winging out N.Y.-L.A. to participate in next Monday’s doings: Michael Douglas, William Hurt, Timothy Hutton, Teresa Wright, Joel Grey, Denzel Washington and, from overseas, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Jeremy Irons, Luise Rainer, Ben Kingsley, Vanessa Redgrave, Brenda Fricker, Anna Paquin. Meanwhile, Academy members living in N.Y. can view the televised awards and dine at the Acad’s party at “21.” Arthur Manson, chairman of the Gotham Event Committee of the Acad branch, and Arlene Dahl, vice chairman, host with guests attending include Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley, Robert and Audrey Loggia, Jane Powell and Dick Moore, the Anthony Quinns, Robert Vaughn, Vic Damone, Rita Gam, Sylvia Miles, Werner Klemperer, Jerry Pickman, etc. … Meanwhile, here at the Shrine, the doors will open early, at 3:30 p.m., for pre-parties, which were so successful last year, they will now be expanded to enlarged areas of the lobbies … In Bev Hills Sunday, Lew Wasserman celebrated his 85th birthday quietly at home with wife Edie, having partied with his family Saturday at Le Dome on the Sunset Strip. On Friday, Lew was birthday-lunched in the Universal commissary by hosts Edgar Bronfman Jr., Frank Biondi and Ron Meyer. Guests included Steven Spielberg, Casey Silver, Barry Diller, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and execs of the Motion Picture & TV Country House & Hospital. U’s birthday gift to Wasserman was something close to his heart: the studio is underwriting a project for UCLA film students to film a “Living History” from residents at the MPTV facility. Spielberg is among the first who will oversee the students on the project. Wasserman told me he was most grateful for this present.

BEFORE GOING TO ’60 MINUTES,’ which last night aired the story of her “unwelcome sexual encounter with the President,” Kathleen Willey had offered her autobio to New Millennium publisher Michael Viner. Willey is a former White House aide who recently gave indie counsel Kenneth Starr a deposition in the Paula Jones sexual misconduct suit on her reported involvement with the President. She had initiated the book-deal talk a month ago with Viner, but he says he turned her down because “It’s not the kind of publishing we want to do. Further, we are supporters of the President.” However, Viner admitted, “I feel sorry for the lady. She’s in hock.” (Her husband Ed, a suicide, reportedly left over $400,000 in debt.) When I reminded Viner that his former company Dove had published “Private Diary of an O.J. Simpson Juror” (Michael Knox) and published Faye Resnick’s book, “Private Diary of a Life Interrupted — Nicole Brown Simpson,” Viner explained his reason for publishing them: “We always believed O.J. was guilty” … The last segment of “Ellen” was taped without an audience and over an interrupted four-day period, to accommodate the celeb guestars for a one-hour show. The air date is not yet set by ABC (hopefully during sweeps), nor is it determined whether this will be the final seg of the season — or of the series. “Ellen” producer Tim Doyle, busy editing the unique seg, says because of DeGeneres’ remarks re the show’s future, the network isn’t giving out any info on any of the above. Meanwhile, “Ellen” has received support from players including Glenn Close, Woody Harrelson, Linda Ellerbee, Richard Benjamin, Phil Donahue, Bea Arthur and many others guesting in this “autobiographical” show tracing “Ellen’s” showbiz history (fictional) from vodvil (plate spinner), hoofer, ventriloquist, gameshow host, etc. … CAA’s staff is back today after weekend retreating at the Ojai Valley Inn.

WHILE HOLLYWOOD WAS PREEMING the return of “Grease” Sunday with a gala Palladium party following the screening at the Chinese (guests transported back and forth in “Rydell High” buses) “Wide Awake” had its preem in New York at the Ziegfeld, with two parties following: one boasted the appearance of Vice President Al Gore, a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Rhiga Royal; the other benefited the For All Kids Foundation at the Bryant Park Grill … Friday night, a birthday party for Marty Richards, Sam Crothers and Bruce Klein was held at the Hudson Theater … Gordon Davidson, who had caught Jon Robin Baitz’s “Mizlansky/Zilinsky or ‘Schmucks,’ ” at the City Center Stage, is talking about bringing the show to L.A. next year — and says “the line about the Taper will be back in when it plays here!” … Larry Gelbart, in N.Y. this week to p.a. his book “Laughing Matters” (Random House), insists, “It’s not a memoir, it’s a sampler.” Here’s some samples from the versatile writer, who covers his life through radio, TV, stage, screen (big and small) and dinners (large and boring): “In the beginning of TV comedy, in the beginning was the word and the word was ‘Don’t.’ Don’t show life as it is, people as they are — and then ‘Archie Bunker’ went to the can — and from off-camera — could it be true? — we heard him flush!” Gelbart is now working on the screenplay to “Chicago.”

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