GOOD MORNING: He was a classic. So it’s appropriate that he also be remembered by “The Tartikoff Classic.” Brandon Tartikoff died of Hodgkin’s disease, Aug. 27, 1997. The Entertainment Industry Foundation launches an annual tribute to him via a golf classic, funds from which will be used by the Southern California Prostate Cancer Research Program under the direction of Dr. Dennis Slamon, chief of Hematology-Oncology at UCLA. Of course, Lilly Tartikoff is the driving force behind this “Classic.” She is partnered with Lisa Paulsen, EIF president and chief executive officer. The event is hosted by the great Arnold Palmer and will be played at his private golf course, Tradition Country Club in La Quinta, April 24-25. The event is co-chaired by Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports, who was Brandon’s best friend — and sometimes golf partner. But, Lilly admits, “Brandon was a terrible golfer.” Co-chairing is Scott Sassa, prexy, NBC West Coast. Eight top PGA pros together with eight top entertainment celebs play in the two-day event with 34 foursomes made up of showbiz and business leaders who’ll compete in a “team best ball net” format in which pros and celebs “drop back” thus enabling each group to play a hole with them … Lilly Tartikoff says, “This is the end of my ‘saving body parts’ campaigns.” She has previously been a major fund-raiser in the battles against breast and ovarian cancer and colon cancer. She admits she’s “obsessed, addicted” with her drive to help eradicate these terrible diseases. “I should belong to ‘saving body parts anonymous,'” she smiled. Arnold Palmer’ wife, Winnie, died last month of stomach cancer. The Palmers had been married 44 years. And Arnold is in remission from prostate cancer surgery in 1997 … Although there is no Fire and Ice Ball for women’s cancer research this year, Lilly assures me, “We will never stop raising funds for breast and ovarian cancer.” At Revlon’s (recent) “Run and Walk,” $3 million was raised. Dr. Mark Pegram of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Research Center reminded me, “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men and the leading cause of death in men. Funding has not been strong. Women have been successful activists in funding for breast cancer. We need to get that same kind of funding for men.” With Lilly Tartikoff, the EIF and men like Dick Ebersol, Scott Sassa — and Arnold Palmer — that funding may soon be here.
MUHAMMAD ALI WILL BE AMONG those “Athletes of the Century” nominees on hand at Madison Square Garden Dec. 2 when CBS airs “Sports Illustrated’s 20th Century Sports Awards” — live. Seated next to Ali will be a man who has been his fan and friend since he was 13 years old and met Ali in Miami. He’s Bernie Yuman, who has also been in Ali’s corner for every one of his bouts. This time, he’ll be rooting for him to win the Athlete of the Century award. And this time Yuman will be at his side — as his personal manager. Yuman, best-known for the past 24 years as the manager of Siegfried and Roy, is opening a management firm — in BevHills and his first client is Ali. Plans for Ali’s future include opportunities in showbiz — live and on film — as well as endorsements, p.a.’s, etc. Although Ali has Parkinson’s syndrome, “his mind is as crisp as ever,” says Yuman. Meanwhile, Siegfried and Roy are on their annual hiatus from the Mirage. Siegfried is en route to visit the pyramids in Egypt; Roy, to India. The cats are being well-taken care of — and well-fed — in Vegas.
ALTHOUGH NOTRE DAME DIDN’T HAVE MUCH to cheer about this year (5-7), they’ll be cheering Friday. Their biggest fan and biggest winner, Regis Philbin, appears at their annual football banquet. Reege says he does not — as yet — have a new ABC deal, but he allows “everyone on the show deserves one,” for bringing in the winner at the smallest budget. … Radio City Entertainment is all over the country(ies) this time of year. On Monday, RCE’s Eddie Micone held a press conference in the RCMH’s Grand Foyer, announcing the first-ever boxing match on its stage — Jan. 15 — between Roy Jones Jr. ad David Telesco. They were accompanied by the Rockettes, natch, and a string quartet! Today, RCE and LM Concerts, Scott Nederlander and Stewart F. Lane bow the previews of “Minnelli on Minnelli” at the Palace Theatre — official opening Dec. 8 for four weeks — with a box office record already set. Micone next flies to Mexico City for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, bowing Thursday when it also kicks off at Universal! Jane (Mrs. Michael) Eisner and Rose Tarlow hosted a book signing Tuesday at the Bel-Air Hotel for Ernestine Schlant (Mrs. Bill Bradley) on publication of her book, “The Language of Silence, West German literature and the Holocaust” (Routledge). Schlant is professor of German and comparative literature at Montclair State U. in New Jersey. In her acknowledgments, she thanks, “more than anyone else” her husband Bill Bradley “for his steadfast encouragement — he understood and supported my need to write this book and gave me the confidence to see it through to completion. But, as the saying goes, it takes one to know one.” … Add literary note: Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg (“Lindbergh”) celebrates his 50th birthday Friday at the California Club. Kevin McCormick is hosting the party for 150 friends and relatives.