GOOD MORNING: While the world awaited word on President Clinton’s Monday Camp David meeting with Israel’s Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority President leader Yasser Arafat, I got a first-hand report on the feelings in Israel from someone who was/is there — Kirk Douglas. As I reported last week, Douglas was there to receive honors — and to dedicate a playing field for Israeli and Arab children, also a theater, etc. Douglas’ take on the atmosphere there: “Nervous. It is, of course a critical time, but every time I’ve been in Israel, it has been a ‘critical time.’ ” He and wife Anne had just visited King Abdullah of Jordan. The king and Michael Douglas had attended Eagle Brook school together. The king provided a helicopter for the Douglases to visit the historical sites of Petra. But a Jordanian plane could not fly the Douglases back to Israel; they were driven to the border, then switched to an Israeli’s car and continued on to Jerusalem. Kirk said he was late for the Israel screening of his film “Diamonds” because of his stay with the King of Jordan. “They (the Israelis) gave him (the King) a solid round of applause,” reports Douglas. Douglas received yet another award from Israel and he laughingly noted, “I can’t keep coming here if I’m going to get any more awards!”
PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER has already seen “Running Mates,” TNT’s comedy-drama set in L.A.’s. Demo convention, with Tom Selleck playing shoo-in Demo nominee for President. The pic tells how/why he picks his running mate, trying to balance party power, his conscience and high-powered women … Howcum Carter got an early peek at the show (to air Aug. 13, the eve of the Demo convention)? “Mates’ ” executive producer is Gerry Rafshoon, who was Carter’s campaign and White House media boss; he exec produces with Al Ruddy. Carter’s completed his book, “An Hour Before Daylight,” about the first 16 years of his life in Plains, Ga. Simon & Schuster is so high on it they compare it to “To Kill a Mockingbird” … Tonight and tomorrow in D.C., at the MPAA screening room, “Running Mates” will be shown to a group including Sen. John McCain; Reps. John Dingell, Ed Markey, Christopher Shays and Martin Meehan; Alan Greenspan; Jody Powell, former White House Press Secretary to President Carter; Michael Deaver, former assistant to President Reagan; Greek Ambassador Alexandre Philon, Swedish Ambassador Ralf Ekeus, and AOL’s Jim Kinsey and George Vradenburg … Rafshoon, Ruddy and Sally Quinn are readying “Georgetown,” an NBC series about the underside of the Capital, described as ” ‘Dallas’ and ‘Dynasty’ in Washington.”
TIPPER GORE AND SHARON DAVIS were seated across the dinner table from us and it was only natural I asked California’s first lady if she was getting pointers from Gore on being the Vice President’s wife. No, she said, husband Gray Davis is not seeking that office at the upcoming convention. This $2,500-a-plate dinner was held at Cynthia Gershman’s home to benefit Local L.A. Homeless Charities (there are 84,000 homeless in the city, including 9,000 children!). Tipper had arrived from the L.A. Central Library showing of photos for the “The Way Home: Ending Homelessness in America.” Tipper Gore’s photos were among the exhib. And her speech was devoted to ending homelessness in America. She was intro’d with hefty praise by Sharon Davis.
THE AP’S BOB THOMAS believes Robyn Astaire “regrets” having OK’d Fred Astaire’s Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner commercial. Thomas, who is updating his bio on Fred for New Millennium’s trade paper editions, interviewed her for an update and while he did not ask her about the Dirt-y blurbs, he told me, “I believe she regrets it.” He will do a post-mortem on that subject plus Robyn’s legacy for Fred. He says she was “very candid” about another controversial decision: when she nixed footage of Fred dancing with Ginger Rogers for the Kennedy Center tribute to Ginger. Other books by Thomas getting a new New Millennium release are: Harry Cohn, David O. Selznick, Irving Thalberg and Jack Warner … It was a double header for grads of the Joanne Baron/DW Brown Acting Studio. The first was a three-hour talk at the Canon Theater by Sean Penn (his wife Robin Wright attended the school); the second a black tie gala at the BevHilton, with keynote speakers including Robert Towne, Martha Coolidge and casting director Debra Zane. Baron arrived from the set of “Perfume,” in which she stars and produces with student (director) Michael Rymer. Penn told the group he’s planning a stage return with Nick Nolte on SanFran boards for six weeks … Marni Nixon says, “Now that I’m 70, I’m starting a new career — as Marni Nixon herself, movie, TV and stage actress.” She’s costarring in “The Dead,” bowing at the Ahmanson tomorrow. Nixon, you recall, was the singing voice for Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn in “The King & I,” “West Side Story” and “My Fair Lady,” respectively … Shay Duffin, who also costars in “The Dead,” recalls he was baptized in the same holy water font as “The Dead” author James Joyce and “As a kid I threw rocks at the front door of the long-departed Joyce because the local parish priest said he was an atheist!”