All-star cast reads Eszterhas’ ‘Rhapsody’

GOOD MORNING: Bill Clinton is played by David Dukes, Monica Lewinsky by Melissa Gilbert; Bill Maher plays Ken Starr, Susan Rattan is Linda Tripp, Arte Johnson’s John McCain and Edward Asner is Joe Eszterhas. They are among the cast of New Millennium’s audio version of Eszterhas’ “American Rhapsody.” Both the book (Knopf) and the audio debut July 18. In the book, the characters speak for themselves, via words by Eszterhas. The casting for the audio was made by New Millennium toppers Deborah Raffin and Michael Viner, who are readying three audio formats: abridged tapes, CDs and an unabridged tape that includes the entire book plus additional chapters that, for reasons they say “will become apparent, were not included in the final draft of the book.” Among those who may not be happy to learn how Eszterhas has included them in the book: Sharon Stone, Warren Beatty, Robert Evans, Farrah Fawcett, and certain agents and agencies. Joe is not shy and he’ll no doubt prove it “live” on the “Today” show July 18. (In case he doesn’t remember to tell, his last film scripts were “Burn, Hollywood, Burn,” “Telling Lies in America,” “Showgirls” and “Jade”) … On a healthier note about New Millennium Audio, Carl Reiner is recording Mark Twain’s “From the Earth,” which Twain’s widow had banned from publication until 50 years after his death. Reiner plays Satan on this audio, having previously recorded (for New Millennium) Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and “The Prince and the Pauper.” Reiner receives the Mark Twain award from the Kennedy Center on Oct. 24, and will receive an “Audie” for the audio of his book “How Paul Robeson Saved My Life.” Sorry to learn that Carl’s wife Estelle, is at UCLA Medical Center undergoing treatment for acute bronchitis.

BOB HOPE WILL RECUPE at the Palm Springs home for a week, returning to their Toluca Lake house on/about the 12th when additions, like an exercise pool, are completed. Hope’s unending sense of humor persists, daughter Linda tells me. “Every time Dolores tells him, ‘You know, we should make some arrangements’ ” (you know what for), Hope answers, “Surprise me!” Before this hospital trip to cauterize bleeding in his colon, the Hopes attended the Library of Congress inaugural of the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment, where his humor files and papers will be kept. He and Dolores then visited with Laura Mako at the latter’s Chesapeake home where Hope went fishing. Among the many plans for Hope’s three-dimensional memorabilia (like a giant replica of the royal barge given him by the King of Thailand) is a Bob Hope museum. It has long been talked about to be built on Hope’s acre and a half, across the street from NBC in Burbank. It continues to remain vacant, except when Hope lets the YMCA hold Halloween pumpkin or Christmas tree sales on it. There are also 16 vaults filled with his videotapes and files, including 300 hours of specials and outtakes, and 80,000 fotos. Bob, 97, is in “good spirits,” says Linda. Dolores, 91, is planning to record another album this summer … Michelle Philips and plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Zax will marry Aug. 1 in Hawaii. Rumors they’d already wed in Mexico were wrong, said Zax. Michelle is off to Seattle Film Fest where she’ll see “Lost at the Pershing Point Hotel” for the first time. “I play an evil mother in that one,” she laughed as she celebrated her birthday with Zax and daughter Chynna and her husband William Baldwin at Pastina in Westwood. Chynna, who welcomed daughter Jameson three months ago, is going back to work to once again record with the Wilson Phillips group.

OUT OF 17TH CENTURY FRANCE and into the ’20s in Hollywood: After almost three years as “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” Douglas Sills (Tony-nominated) departs the show at the Ahmanson June 18 and tells me he’s next legit’ing “Mack and Mabel” at the UCLA Reprise series Nov. 8. He also has a date at South Coast Rep to play “Much Ado About Nothing” and is talking with Bill Haber to co-star with Vanessa Williams in “Storyville,” a musical set in the red light district of New Orleans at the turn of the century … Ernie Lehman’s latest book, “Sweet Smell of Success, The Short Fiction of Ernest Lehman” (Overlook Press) is now hitting the stalls as the legit musical version of “Sweet Smell” is about to finalize pacts with John Lithgow to play the J.J. Hunsecker role (Burt Lancaster in the pic) and Brian d’Arcy James as Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis). Workshop rehearsals begin June 26. And Castle Rock is budgeting the film version of Lehman’s last novel, “Farewell Performance” … How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Standup comic Hugh Fink — and his fiddle — open for Jon Stewart at the Hall tonight … The well-liked Anita Cotter departs as PR director of N.Y.’s Palace Hotel to head publicity for the Savoy Group (the Connaught, Claridges, Barclay, etc.) as director of their publicity for the Americas … Jim Yeager and his Universal Studios Recreation Group PR team won three “Bulldogs” for the campaign to open U’s Islands of Adventure in Florida … The Flanders Intl. Film Fest — Ghent (Oct. 10-21) — sponsors Friday’s concert by Ennio Morricone conducting the Belgian National Orch in Kuipke in an anthology of his classic film scores plus a first-time performance of his score of the 1912 silent, “Life and Death of King Richard III.” Mace Neufeld is president of the Flanders Film Fest jury.

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