Griffin to immortalize Richard Gully

GOOD MORNING: Fade out: June 14, I wrote here “Richard Gully’s life would make a terrif movie.” Gully had just celebrated his 93rd birthday — but, sad to say, he died Oct. 4. Fade in: Rupert Everett learned Merv Griffin will produce the movie and Charles Peters will script; Everett winged in from England to meet Merv to say he wants to play Gully. Now comes the question: who will play Jack L. Warner? From 1948 to 1958, Gully was special assistant to J.L. at WB (and all around the world I might add). For special services to France on behalf of WB, Gully was decorated with the Legion of Honor. Gully, the personification of sartorial splendor, always in precise attire, was never recognized as the Englishman who, as a GI, battled from the watery graves of Utah Beach on D-Day through the mud and mortar fire to the finale on the banks of the Rhine River at Bad Godesburg, where he achieved his life’s ambition: He was sworn in as a U.S. citizen … His association with royalty, and the swells of society and Hollywood, gave him an entree to places, people and contacts — even with those who had Hitler’s private phone number — which he used to save friends from their finales in camps. Hysterically funny reminiscences of Gully were lovingly told at a toasting to him by Griffin and Frances Whittenberg in L’Escoffier Room of the Beverly Hilton. Griffin knew him well. Merv was a contract player at Warners and many times he and Gully (laughingly) suffered through many of “the Colonel’s” vocal (and physical) faux pas in (otherwise) polite situations. Among those speaking was Line Renaud; she told of Liberace’s arrival in Paris for the bow of his film, “Sincerely Yours,” with Gully arranging for her to make Liberace look like her dearest friend. They’d never met! Line also serenaded the group at the Hilton with “La Vie en Rose.” George Hamilton, freshly tanned, told how Gully and Warner gave him the proper advice at the Casino in Monte Carlo, which allowed the broke Hamilton to make a bet — which won him $30,000. Gully wrote his obit for Beverly Hills 213, where he’d handwritten his column for 13 years. Publisher Seth Baker barely got through reading it to the equally emotion-packed room of friends. They also included Ricardo and Georgiana Montalban. Ricardo told a hilarious story of his association with society columnists, thanks to friend Gully. (On a serious note, Montalban noted to me that he is a triple invisible man in Hollywood, because “I am Mexican, a senior citizen and physically handicapped — in Hollywood, that makes you invisible!”) Another friend who spoke and sang Gully’s praise was Howard Keel. Also speaking: Alex Trebek, George Sidney. Friends there included Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin, Jill St. John and Bob Wagner, Rosemary Tomich, Martin Manulis and Frances Bergen, David Niven Jr., Neil Papiano, Rod Taylor, Dominick Dunne, Kathy McGavin, Angie Dickinson, Julie and Herb Hutner, Gerard Ferry, Kurt Niklas and Barbara Warner. Griffin and Charles Peters, who are readying the Gully biopic, are also prepping a George Hamilton bio. It’s a comedy about George up to the age of 14 and is mostly about his mother Ann Hamilton who drove her two sons across country. She too was broke and bamboozled everyone from coast to coast to get her boys to the promised land: L.A. When George related it to Griffin, he said, “It’s the funniest story I ever heard — that’s a movie.” It will be made for Beacon pix. Who to play George’s mom? Mebbe Annette Bening or Michele Pfeiffer. Will the 14-year-old George already have a tan? … Griffin’s banner is also prepping a pic for Pierce Brosnan to film in Ireland next summer, and a third biopic — this one on Albert Barnes.

IF MY CAREER HAD DIED after last night (Tuesday) I would have died a happy man,” David Hasselhoff told me the morning after his B’way bow in “Jekyll & Hyde” at the Plymouth. Well, he was very much alive and happy — and already thinking about a second musical, “Zorro.” Hasselhoff was enjoying praises for his preem at the post-party at the Russian Tea Room. Those applauding included Cheryl Ladd (who is also bowing on B’way, in “Annie Get Your Gun”), Lorenzo Lamas and his mom Arlene Dahl, and Pierre Cossette. Cossette is reading the B’way musical “The Body (Jesse) Ventura”; on Saturday, he previews a demo of the music by Steve Stolingoff who has also written the book. Cossette’s also readying for B’way the Melissa Etheridge starrer, “The Truth Is –” … Gilda’s Club, New York City, hosts its sixth annual Comedy Gala honoring Jonathan Tisch (Dan Aykroyd makes the presentation), Lee Grant and Ernestine Bradley, Nov. 16 at the Plaza. Al Roker hosts; performers include Linda Eder, Jon Stewart and Judy Gold. Gilda’s Club builds essential social and emotional support, at no charge, as a supplement for the medical care of cancer patients … James Cameron and wife Suzy Amis, who were married June 4, are expecting a baby next year. They dined this week at Santa Monica’s Locanda del Lago, where Gloria Stuart urged Cameron “to write a movie about an old lady in outer space.” His “Titanic” Oscar nominee just wound playing a 112-year-old (!) in Angela Lansbury’s latest CBS vidpic, “The Last Free Man” … Busy man Burt Reynolds, who just wound “Driven” with Sylvester Stallone in Toronto, heads to New Orleans to star in “Tempted” for Bill Bennett and is due in Amsterdam next month to start “Hermit of Amsterdam” for Pierre Spengler.

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