Rifkin relaxes into role of manager

GOOD MORNING: Arnold Rifkin sounded like a very happy (relieved?) man as he outlined his plans to me Tuesday afternoon. When I asked if he would now become a manager, he answered, “I will handle all the affairs of Bruce Willis (again riding high with “The Sixth Sense”), Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover.” Perhaps a few others. But for the first time, Rifkin’s taking a long vacation with his wife and children at their home in Jackson Hole (Indian Springs), Wyo. … HBO’s 16 times Emmy-nominated “The Sopranos” is adding a character in its second season: a psychiatrist to handle the confusion of the psychiatrist (Lorraine Bracco) of Anthony Soprano (James Gandolfini)! Peter Bogdanovich will play the recurring role in David Chase’s terrif series. Chase had previously cast Bogdanovich to play himself in a “Northern Exposure” seg titled “Rosebud.” Bogdanovich also plays a shrink in the upcoming feature “Mr. Jealous” and has roles in “Coming Soon” and “The Independent.” He and wife Louise Stratten have also written a comedy, “Squirrel to the Nuts.” Bogdanovich, who reviews pix for the Observer, has compiled 52 reviews interestingly in a “Movie of the Week” anthology for Ballantine (Nov.). The pix are seasonally appropriate and always delightful; four by John Ford and Howard Hawks lead the list, with Cary Grant in seven. Hitchcock has three; Bogdanovich emcees the 100th-birthday tribute to him Friday at the Acad … The Museum of TV & Radio (BevHills) honors Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner at the Museum’s annual gala, Oct. 5. The Museum’s annual radio festival is skedded Oct. 25-Nov. 5 and the eighth annual Intl. Children’s TV Fest follows in N.Y. and L.A. “Two Five-Letter Words: Lenny Bruce” is a hit in both cities as well. In case you didn’t know, Noel Coward’s TV work is featured Sept. 17-Oct. 21 also L.A. and N.Y.

ABOVE A MINNEAPOLIS CHURCH, in a rehearsal hall, Steve Guttenberg and Woody Harrelson took time from working on the play “Furthest From the Sun” to express their exuberance to me. Harrelson directs the comedy he’s written with Frank Hyman. Guttenberg says he plays “a sexual predator: a little sexist, racist, bigot — but it’s a comedy” … He and Harrelson have been pals for 15 years but this is their first work outing. “I can’t thank him enough,” said Guttenberg, who gave up playing d.j. Alan Freed in a TV biopic in order to do the play, Sept. 10-25. “It’s an investment out of this short money.” Harrelson is financing the play at the Jeune Lune Theater. Guttenberg last appeared on B’way in “Prelude to a Kiss,” Harrelson appeared in “The Boys Next Door” Off B’way. He’ll next star in “The Rainmaker” at the Roundabout in late October and hopes to direct “Furthest From the Sun” Off B’way simultaneously. “This is so exciting — I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I promise you, it won’t be boring!” … Hollywood is activating Operation Starlift in support of the USO’s program winging celebs to the Balkans for handshake visits with U.S. troops. Johnny Grant, Hollywood’s honorary mayor, and Gen. Carl Mundy, prez of the World USO, are revitalizing the WWII, Korean and Vietnam programs. Grant, a vet of 50 USO tours, leaves for Kosovo next week for confabs with military officials, returns Aug. 31. Celebs interested in participating can call Johnny through the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, 323-468-1376 … “Bring Hollywood Home,” a march and rally to “stop runaway production,” will be held Aug. 15 behind Hollywood High, starting on N. Orange Drive and proceeding down Hollywood Blvd. from Mann’s Chinese to the Pantages … The American Cinematheque tributes Dick Fleischer at the Egyptian, screening 19 of his 46 films, with appearances by Kirk Douglas (“Vikings”) and Tony Curtis (“Boston Strangler”).

THOSE WERE REAL TEARS as Halle Berry received a standing ovation when intro’d by HBO’s Colin Callender at the Acad preem of “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.” At the post-preem party at Chasen’s, Berry poignantly noted, “Because of Dorothy Dandridge’s bravery and tenacity and willingness to go through the back door, she enabled actresses like myself, Angela Bassett, Vivica A. Fox, Holly Robinson-Peete and Lela Rochon to come through the front door today.” At the party, she also sync’d and danced “I’ve Got Rhythm” and “You Do Something To Me” from the telepic. Guests included director Martha Coolidge, James Coburn, Paul Sorvino, Lionel Ritchie, Earl Mills, Geri Branton and Lorna Luft. “Dandridge” starts airing Aug. 21 … Chasen’s is the location and subject Thursday for a Food Channel show hosted by Morley Safer with Chasen’s former staffers, manager Ronnie Clint, bartender “Pepe” and Chef Bernard participating … I briefly watched Carnie Wilson’s gastric bypass surgery on the live Webcast via http://www.adoctorinyourhouse.com Tuesday afternoon and found I didn’t have the stomach for it. Nor did Pat Boone, who does a taped talk on prostate surgery on that website as well. “I thought I’d be a doctor,” admits Boone, “but I can’t stand the sight of blood!” Boone hasn’t needed to undergo the (prostate) surgery but he interviews (on the web site) those who have, including Robert Goulet, Gen. Schwartzkopf and Quincy Jones. Would Boone allow himself to be a “live” surgical Webcast patient ? “NO!”

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