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Minnelli takes on ‘musical reality’ show

GOOD MORNING: Liza Minnelli and David Gest have finalized their deal with VH1 for “Liza and David,” a weekly, life with the Gests, one-hour “musical reality” show. The newlyweds arrived in L.A. early this ayem for a formal press shmooze and as soon as they let everyone in on their future public life they head off to Visby, Sweden, for a private three-week vacation … NBC will bookend the Emmys, Sept. 22, with a one-hour pre-show plus an hour’s worth of post-awards frolicking. Usually, L.A’s local channels follow all the awards show presentations with ad nauseum party poop … At a party preceding the last Oscars, celebs were asked to autograph Banana Republic white shirts. Thesps including Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks, Sharon Stone, Rob Lowe, etc. put their John Hancocks on the shirts that will now be auctioned, starting Aug. 13, on www.BananaRepublic.com. All proceeds go to the Entertainment Industry Foundation … Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who plays daughter Meadow on “The Sopranos,” is the latest to tell all — about herself and the show’s principals (and principles) in her book, “Wise Girl” (Pocket Books) with Sheryl Berk. The 21-year-old star bows in “Beauty & the Beast” on B’way this fall, playing through “The Sopranos” hiatus. But she also is taking two features while legit’ing. They are “Goddess,” a musical set in a high school, and “I Want Kandy” for MGM. She’ll first be seen in “Extreme Dating” with Andrew Keegan and Devon Sawa … While “Road to Perdition” is being seen (and enjoyed) by everyone, Paul Newman has not as yet seen it. Nor has he read the (rave) reviews. He never reads ’em.

I DON’T WANT TO JUMP THE GUN, but — here’s the story. It’s about “American Gun.” The film, a winner at the Seattle Film Festival, stars James Coburn and in his Daily Variety review, Ken Eisner noted the pic “reps one of the most serious perfs ever from topliner James Coburn.” The same review on “American Gun” notes “remarkably, members of the National Rifle Assn. helped advise makers of this critical yet carefully balanced look at the six-shooter’s place in American life and history.” When I mentioned to Coburn that NRA president Charlton Heston might be interested in the film, he thought he would be. I asked director-screenwriter Alan Jacobs if he would show his film (not yet signed with a release) to Heston. He said he’d be delighted. And so I called Chuck, told him of the above conversations and the “American Gun” review in Daily Variety. He was enthusiastic about the theme and said he’d view the pic. A tape is on its way. … I asked Jacobs about the NRA’s involvement and he said he didn’t want the movie to be polemic. “I befriended a couple of NRA members — one of them helped to get me into a gun factory, another member, actor Martin Kove was helpful and he plays a role in the film.” Coburn, who has handled guns in many of his films, said he wanted the film to show “a balance on how a gun can be used properly in the story” — in which he seeks the owner of the gun that kills his daughter. The trek takes him from the gun’s beginning in the factory to –. Coburn knows Heston from having worked together in four films, including “Major Dundee” for Sam Peckinpah, whom Coburn said he loved working for. “He was a genius — six hours a day. He was a working alcoholic.”

IT WAS REUNION for Quincy Jones and Mike Myers at the preem of “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” Quincy reminded me they’d last worked together in a hilarious sketch for “Saturday Night Live” in 1990. But Jones’ classic in the pic, “Soul Bossa Nova,” was written in 1962 and Quincy delights in telling that he wrote it in 20 minutes. He’d just returned from an amazing trip — 35 days and eight countries ranging from as far away as Egypt where he recalled playing with Dizzy Gillespie at the Sphinx and Great Pyramid 46 years ago! … And from another desert — Wayne Newton takes a night off from the Stardust in Vegas to host Marshall Field’s Glamorama in Chicago, the Aug. 9 fundraiser supporting cancer research and the arts. Newton follows previous hosts, Ellen DeGeneres, Brooke Shields and Queen Latifah. On hand for this event will be the Hiltons, Kathy and Rick — and daughters Paris and Nicki … AMG agent Joel Gotler’s suddenly getting calls regarding James Halperin’s novel, “The First Immortal,” the sci-fi’er based on the first human to come back to life after being cryogenically frozen. Natch, the revived interest is due to the news of the family squabble over the body of Ted Williams. Coincidentally, author Halperin has himself made arrangements to have his body frozen at the same Alcor Life Extension complex in Phoenix … And talking about Williams, his reminiscences in Warner Books’ “What Baseball Means to Me,” edited by Curtis Smith, are enough to now initiate renewed interest in a biopic. It’s an All-American tale…At a party for the visiting Television Critics’ Assn., Emmy-winner Fyvush Finkel, returning for the third season of Fox’s “Boston Public,” was told he would need photo I.D. to attend. “Would an autographed 8×10 glossy be OK?” he asked.

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