GOOD MORNING: “Last summer they found some lumps,” Robert Urich tells me, “but a wonder drug cleared them up.” Last Friday he had a checkup and he’s AOK, five years after the discovery of a very rare sarcoma in his groin. He underwent treatment-surgeries at Cedars-Sinai, Ann Arbor, Boston and Detroit. Nov. 19 he launches the first Robert Urich Celebrity Golf Classic to benefit his foundation for Sarcoma Research at the U. of Michigan. The tourney will be held at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks with a group including Wayne Gretzky, Bruce Jenner, Ray Romano, Kevin James, Jane Seymour and, of course, Emeril Lagasse (Urich costars in the “Emeril” NBC series). Urich has inked a book deal with HarperCollins. He says, “I went through some stuff people wouldn’t believe. Like I had chemo at 8 ayem and at 5 I was doing standup before a live audience. And I underwent major surgery on a Wednesday and was at work a few days after — with blood trickling down my leg” … The adage “The show must go on” was never truer than this past weekend, when Carol Channing fell during a dress rehearsal for an Actors Fund benefit ($150,000) featuring Jerry Herman tunes at Cal State’s Luckman Theater. “They just wiped the blood and gore off the steps,” Carol said, and she went on with the rehearsal after “Angela Lansbury took care of me.” Paramedics took her to Cedars-Sinai to emergency treat her left arm and fractured thumb, and applied stitches to her face. She did the show Saturday night and is recuping at home in Palm Springs. She’s putting finishing touches on her autobio for Michael Korda and Simon & Schuster. Asked what she will tell of the final (unhappy) chapter of her marriage to Charles Lowe, Carol said “Well, we were married for 42 years. I’ll just pick out the good things.” Are she and son Channing Lowe talking? “We will,” she said optimistically.
“I WAS NEVER A FAN of her writing,” Marlo Thomas says of Jacqueline Susann. “I never knew her and I said I wasn’t interested in playing her — until I read this play!” It’s “Paper Doll” by Mark Hampton & Barbara J. Zitwer and directed by Leonard Foglia (“Master Class”). Thomas, as Susann and F. Murray Abraham, as Irving Mansfield bow Nov. 16 at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, hopefully headed to B’way. I “warned” Marlo that I knew Jackie and Irving. She said “Everything’s in it (the play): the ego, the bullying, the language, the extramarital affairs (she with Ethel Merman among others), the drinking, the drugs, the autistic son, the desperation, the humor, the desperation for love her father never gave her, the poignancy, her struggle with breast cancer and death.” Marlo reminded “I was raised in Hollywood, I knew people who needed to be somebody.” Marlo admits she loves being back on the stage, but she’ll also be seen on TV in March, in another based-on-life, mother-and-daughter story, CBS’ “Two Against Time” … Debbie Allen brings “Brothers of the Knight” to UCLA’s Freud Theater Nov. 29; it’s the first gala benefit performance for her dance academy, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Red Cross. Vanessa Williams hosts the evening, which will also include a celeb auction. The cast is 80 kids, ages 4-19 from DADA (Debbie Allen Dance Academy); Howard Hewitt costars with music by James Ingram. The enthusiastic Allen is also planning to remount three productions from her Kennedy Center stand, and another next Spring: “Pearl,” which she describes as “my adaptation of Snow White.”
A PHOTO OP WITH RUDY GIULIANI, Nelson Mandela, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They’re all in wax (from Madame Tussaud’s) and they’ll join a very lively N.Y. Mayor at Pierre Cossette’s All-Star Tribute to Giuliani Wednesday at N.Y.’s Sheraton to benefit the Twin Towers Fund and Forum’s Children Foundation. Performers include Tony Bennett, Joel Grey, Regis Philbin, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler. It’s a sellout … The season is upon us: Dec. 4, Merv Griffin bows his “First Annual Christmas Tree Lane” at his Hilton Scottsdale, benefiting the Greater Phoenix Chapter of Childhelp USA. Proceeds of the celeb tree auction, over which Merv presides, will go to the Childhelp Ranch — which used to be Merv’s Wickenberg Dude Ranch until he donated ($10 million!) it to ’em. On Dec. 9, Connie Stevens is Merv’s cohost at the auction of 25 celeb trees at Griffin’s Hotel & Givenchy Spa “Christmas Tree Lane” benefiting ACT for MS, the charity founded by newshen Gloria Greer. Celeb trees include those of Betty & Gerald Ford, Bob & Dolores Hope, Paul Newman, Sidney Sheldon, Elizabeth Taylor. Dec. 16, at Griffin’s Beverly Hilton, he bows his Gingerbread Village benefiting the Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award Program. Pastry chefs from L.A.’s top eateries are creating gingerbread fantasies to also be auctioned … Jerry Douglas, “John Ashton” on CBS’ “Young & Restless” for 20 years, spent Saturday serenading residents of the MPTV Fund residents in the Samuel Goldwyn theater. (“Y&R” is their favorite show) … RAWA (The Revolutionary Assn. of the Women of Afghanistan) benefits from a Track 16 Gallery evening of art, music and words of support, Nov. Wednesday to raise funds to reopen RAWA’s Malalai Hospital for women and children Afghan refugees and treated up to 400 a day. It was founded in Kabul in 1977.