Thesp, agent had brush with murderer

GOOD MORNING: The Merced murders might have had another gruesome chapter — with Hollywood principals. About the same time Cary Stayner murdered his fourth victim, also vacationing at that now-famous Cedar Lodge were agent April Rocha (Shapiro-Lichtman-Stein) and her beautiful actress-client Dina Garbis. After an exhausting day hiking-climbing in Yosemite, the two women returned to the lodge where, Rocha relates, they headed for the jacuzzi to unwind. Although the pool area closed at 10 p.m., they were told to give the caretaker (Stayner) a beer; “He’ll let you stay longer.” Rocha returned to their room but Garbis remained in the jacuzzi, where her singing attracted Stayner. He started flicking the pool area lights to let her know, they thought, it was time to leave. He came over to Garbis and noted, “You have a lovely voice; what room are you staying in?” Garbis just answered, “I don’t know the number, I’m staying with my friend.” She went back to the room and locked the door. The previous day, the two women were locked out of their room and had to get a caretaker to let them in, but it was another caretaker not Stayner. The Hollywood duo left the lodge next day … Strange history is repeating itself: 30 years ago, in the famous Manson murders, Roman Polanski’s Polish writer-friend Voytek Frykowski was among those who was stabbed to death. Now comes word his cinematographer-son Bartek has died under mysterious circumstances from stab wounds in Warsaw. He received $100,000 last year in a “victim’s rights” settlement related to the Manson case … Thousands of skeletons of plague victims are in a scene of “Dungeons & Dragons,” Jeremy Irons reports from the Prague location, Monday. “People will think it’s a set,” he said, “but it’s in a bone chapel where these skulls were exhumed, two hours out of Prague. And,” he adds, “there are a lot of dragon images in Prague — for the movie.” Oscar-winning thesp Irons was last in Prague for “Kafka” eight years ago and he reports the city is more beautiful than ever, “with a new feeling of Paris.” He is playing Profion, “an operatic heavy — bigger than life” in the pic version of the game that young (28) director Courtney Solomon has nurtured for 10 years. It is now being made by Silver Pictures and Sweetpea Entertainment. Joel Silver was expected from his honeymoon on the set momentarily. The pic version of the game, of course, features many f/x. “That means a lot of blue screen,” reminds Irons. “It’s easy enough, but tiring on the eyes.” He next heads to the blue skies of Ireland, where he’s rebuilding a castle that has been derelict since 1603. The versatile Irons is next prepping to produce “Last Face” in which he’ll also star — in Africa.

“MY FANS ARE EITHER KIDS OR GAYS,” said Joely Fisher as she heads back to the stage to star in the national company of “Cabaret.” Her frame-of-fan references are from her roles in the current bigscreen “Inspector Gadget” and the TV series “Ellen.” Fisher winged back from N.Y. viewing “Cabaret” in time to be toasted, Sunday, by mom Connie Stevens with a lavish “Midsummer Night’s Dream and Bon Voyage Bash.” Joely bows Aug. 8 in Toronto and winds March 12 in Miami — playing SanFran during the millennium celebration (Nov. 17-Jan. 2). Joely, who had starred in “Grease” on B’way, has turned down pix and series offers to return to the stage in “Cabaret.” Joely’s sister, singer Tricia Leigh, told me she too is anxious to get on stage. Connie (who looks more like her daughters’ sister than their mother), says the sprigs won’t let her sell her mansion in which they grew up. It’s valued at $11 million and Connie bought it for $250,000 from Sonja Henie’s husband, Nils Onstad. It boasts an Olympic-size pool — and Esther Williams, one of the party guests, has swum 20 lengths in it, said Connie … The Librarian of Congress has appointed Academy president Bob Rehme to the National Film Preservation Foundation, to a four-year term. Roger Mayer is board chair of the non-profit org that’s dedicated to saving America’s Film Heritage, focusing on “orphan films” not protected by commercial interests.

REALISM IN FILMS: Joshua Evans, directing and starring in “Orange County,” filmed a bondage club scene — in a bondage club in Hollywood. Among those in the scene: Michelle Phillips, Dick Van Patten, Alexis Arquette, Balthazar Getty … Chynna Phillips and Billy Baldwin expect their first in March … Jennifer and James Belushi welcomed daughter Jamison Bess Belushi, July 28 at Cedars-Sinai … Oscar-winning documaker William Gazecki and artist-wife Valerie Hennessey welcome twins, Kealan John and Savannah Anne G., July 20 at Glendale Adventist hospital … Raymond Katz and Barbara Darnell will wed “probably before the end of the year” … Kathleen Hughes and Stanley Rubin celebrated their 45th wedding anni … Larry Baum, senior VP of community relations at Cedars-Sinai, receives the United Hostesses’ Charities’ 1999 Humanitarian Award Nov. 6 at the BevWilshire … Lance Fuller , sidelined by a stroke, is at the Crenshaw Nursing home on Washington Blvd. and would love to have visitors … Gregory Peck has accepted the invite from producer Terry Hodge Taylor to join the Oct. 18 Gala Salute to Lena Horne at Lincoln Center. Four generations of stars will honor Horne.

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