Regis continues Notre Dame tradition

GOOD MORNING: It was back to the Coliseum Sunday for Notre Dame coach Ty Willingham following Saturday’s embarrassing loss to USC. He arrived at 9 a.m., walked through the still standing goal posts and marched up to the 50 yard line where he was met — and interviewed — by Regis Philbin. Reege had requested the interview weeks ago when Notre Dame was riding high and undefeated. And it followed a tradition Philbin initiated in 1964. At that time, the legendary Ara Parseghian was the Fighting Irish coach. Philbin (Notre Dame, 1953) was launching his own talk show for Westinghouse out of L.A. following a stand in San Diego. He wanted something special for his show and asked Parseghian to do the Sunday-after-Saturday 50-yard walk/interview whether Notre Dame won or lost. USC won by three points in the final minute of the game. “I didn’t know whether he’d show up,” Regis told me Monday during breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. “Parseghian did — and so did Willingham.” You’ll see this meeting Monday on “Live with Regis and Kelly.” Friday preceding the game, Regis was honored at the Notre-Dame-USC “Game Is On” fete m.c’d by Tommy Hawkins and Craig Fertig, the former USC quarterback … Philbin, recipient of an honorary doctorate from Notre Dame, has endowed a stage for theater and TV in the Notre Dame Arts Center. His daughter Joanna, who has a Notre Dame law degree, is now also completing her MFA in Creative Writing on campus. Later this week, Regis lectures at Fred Hardeman University on Henderson, Tenn., and on Saturday joins Kelly Ripa to tape the Christmas Day Parade at DisneyWorld, Florida to air (on ABC, natch) Christmas morning. … And, of course, I asked Reege about his future with the morning show. He has 3½ years to go on his current contract. Does he want to complete it? “I don’t know,” he smiled. “Why should I quit? My work day is done at 10 ayem and I don’t play golf.”

IF YOU SEE PHOTOS OF GREGORY PECK in the hospital — he was not a patient, but rather a visitor as wife Veronique underwent a procedure to relieve pressure on two vertebrae. She was released the next day and is OK. Greg is still running his Gregory Peck Reading Series at the L.A. Main Library where Saturday, (7 and 8:30 p.m.), Annette Being and Ed Begley Jr. will deliver favorite readings … Elizabeth Taylor, who will be honored at this weekend’s Kennedy Center Honors festivities, is out of the hospital where she underwent dental surgery … All in the family: Gena Rowlands is teamed — a third time — with director-son Nick Cassavetes in New Line’s “The Notebook.” Their previous teamings: “Unhook The Starts,” and “She’s So Lovely.” Costarring are James Garner, Joan Allen, Sam Shepard, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. The pic’s based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-seller and scripted by Jeremy Leven with revisions by director Cassavetes. They’re shooting in Charleston, S.C. — near Sparks’ home and he has visited the set … The “Puerta Vallarta Squeeze” company in Mexico has survived a hurricane and a 4.0 earthquake since shooting began last month. “But we’ve managed to stay on schedule,” reports director Arthur Allan Seidelman. P.S. They also had to vacate their Marriot Hotel digs when President Vincente Fox came to town with his entourage and took over the hotel. The movie troupe moved over to the Quinta Real. Seidelman also reports he’s signed Vikki Carr to play a nightclub singer and will sing two previously unrecorded songs in the pic to be scored by Lee Holdridge. Carr continues to be hugely popular in Puerto Vallarta, Seidelman sez, and visitors have been traveling from Mexico City to catch her.

SYLVESTER STALLONE MADE an appearance today (that’s right, today) at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka as part of the park’s Hollywood Christmas Spectacular. He winged over from Hollywood with U’s Ron Meyer, his longtime friend who, when his agent at CAA, set a hefty three-pic deal for Sly at Universal. Stallone walked down the park’s Hollywood Boulevard, toured the park greeting fans and signing autographs on Monday. He also helped trim a 50-foot tall Christmas tree with (autographed) three-foot long boxing gloves which he presented the Mayor of Osaka, Takafuni Isomura … Speakers set for the James Coburn memorials Wednesday at 7:30 in the Paramount Theater include: Andy Garcia, Mark Rydell, Joanne Linville, Richard Benjamin, Seymour Cassell, Robert Vaughn and Coburn’s widow Paula … Stars of Stanley Kramer’s ‘It’s a Mad (4) World” skedded to attend the 43rd anni screening at the Egyptian Wednesday include: Jonathan Winters, Sid Caesar, Stan Freberg, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Edie Adams, Madlyn Rhue, Carl Reiner, Peter Falk, Don Knotts, Marvin Kaplans The screening’s hosted by Karen Sharpe Kramer, American Cinematheque, TCN and MGM/UA.

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