GOOD MORNING: Why were Harry Belafonte, Don Mischer, Cisco Systems exec VP Don Litwin and United Nations Development Program special assistant Robert Piper all on the phone with yours truly? NetAid. Belafonte told me he’ll sing, “I Am Somebody,” live from the Geneva Palace of Nations on the Oct. 9 NetAid event as 20 other stars join in from live concerts at Giants Stadium in New Jersey and Wembley in London. Harry noted the song, “I Am Somebody,” written by the Congo’s Nkosi, is what NetAid is all about: a chance for everybody to be somebody “to help make this a better world.” That’s the purpose of this giant multi-media melding of the internet, radio, TV and showbiz, with world leaders — Nelson Mandela for one — with Belafonte at the U.N. site’s command post. The NetAid website launches Sept. 8. It is http://www.netaid.org and it will be 10 times bigger than any Internet event ever attempted. Cisco promises it will be capable of 60 million hits per hour, with more than 100,000 video streams going on, plus 15 hours of performances and pic packages, performances, chats, etc. Why? To eradicate poverty in 134 countries, to eliminate the problem of 260 million children who are not in schools, 840 million who are malnourished — 40 million of whom die of starvation. Log-ins can start Sept. 8 when you can get information — and take action on these fronts as well as helping to secure human dignity, clean the environment and relieve Third World debt. As the U.N.’s Piper told me, “It is a partnership of unexpected bedfellows. NetAid is a whole new ballgame, simply conceived and putting power in the hands of you and me.” Cisco says it will stretch the highest usage of modern technology applied to the social consciousness of humanity. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 12 for the superstar concerts at the Giants and Wembley stadiums.
“SNOW WHITE”: LIVE ON FILM. That’s one of Robert Halmi’s plans for Grimm Fairy Tales, long famous in their Disney-created animations. “It will be more believable than the animated,” promises Halmi of his live actioner. Caroline Thompson (“Edward Scissorhands” scripter) will direct her screenplay. And it will be different, Halmi promises: “It’s not for 6-year-olds but for an audience 18-25. And the ‘dwarfs’ will be seven-foot tall basketball players,” he laughed. Halmi also plans the same live treatment for “Sleeping Beauty.” “When she awakes and the prince kisses her, she’ll wonder, ‘Who the hell are you?’ ” Halmi’s kidding — I think. He’s not kidding about three starts in October: “Jason & the Argonauts” in Turkey, “The Monkey King” in China and “Snow White” at Shepperton. They are all for NBC. Planned for A&E is “The Visit” to star Elizabeth Taylor. How does Halmi get all the financing for the $30 million TV productions? “My son Robbie is brilliant,” he says.
I DIDN’T THINK I’d get so emotional.” Sherry Lansing admitted as she readied to speak at the farewell party for Allan Carr at Par Wednesday. She praised Carr “who loved movies; he was movies’ greatest fan. And an extraordinary producer. And he loved parties. He would have loved a party like this.” Indeed he would have. Caterer Michael Hollingsworth prepared Carr’s favorite dishes, from chicken pot pie to carrot souffle, etc. Emotions really flowed when a teary Ann-Margret read Allan’s favorite poem, part of which says it all: “Perhaps my time seemed all too brief/Don’t lengthen it now with undo grief/Lift up your heart and share with me/My suffering’s over, God set me free.” Others who spoke movingly, humorously included Angie Dickinson, who recalled Carr’s acting guestint on her “Police Woman”; Budd Moss; Randal Kleiser, Carr’s “Grease” director; Alana Stewart, Phyllis Diller and Asa Maynor who said, “He was the best man I’d ever been with. He always complimented me, he took me to fabulous places, brought me flowers, bought me jewelry — and gave me all his money.” Maynor was his financial investor. Carr left his possessions in trust to all those who took care of him. His ashes will be strewn in the Pacific Aug. 15 outside the house he loved on Oahu. Others on hand at Par included neighbors Gwen and Arthur Hiller, Par’s Jonathan Dolgen and Robert Friedman, A.C. Lyles, Sid and Marty Krofft. And Deborah Raffin and Michael Viner, whose Millennium Entertainment feature of Stephen King’s “A Bag of Bones” will be directed by Billy Friedkin.
DAILY VARIETY FAREWELL-PARTIED Donna DeLong Thursday. You’ve heard her smiling voice for these many years when you’ve called here and asked impossible questions, which she’s patiently answered while juggling a dozen calls. She’ll be missed by all of us — especially me … Nancy Reagan and Diane Sawyer had a lovely, lengthy lunch Wednesday in the Hotel Bel-Air’s newly redecorated patio. Nancy laughed when I asked if she was planning to do a TV show with Diane … Soon Yi and husband Woody Allen dined at Elaine’s Wednesday with birthday-girl Jean Doumanian and Jacqui Safra … Gene Barry, a hit in the Oak Room of the Algonquin, is getting requests to return — also to come back to B’way … McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica presents a special retro of John Stewart (the Kingston Trio) Saturday to benefit Stewart’s wife Buffy Ford, seriously ill and facing mounting medical costs.