Hunt, Robbins to be one of ‘The Guys’

GOOD MORNING: Helen Hunt and Tim Robbins will co-star in “The Guys,” Anne Nelson’s two-character play about the dilemma of the firefighter chief (Robbins) who has to deliver eulogies to the eight men in his firehouse who perished on 9-11. He talks the problem through with a writer (Hunt). They act a la “Love Letters,” reading their roles from music stands. The duo will appear for three weeks bowing July 10 at the Actors’ Gang theater in Hollywood and it is hoped that celeb duos will follow as the show has been onstage since Jan. 20 at New York’s Flea Theater. It bowed with Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver and currently boasts Amy Irving and Bill Irwin with Carol Kane and Steven Lang to follow. Robbins tells me a portion of the box office goes to the Firemen’s Fund. And Robbins also played “The Guys” at the Flea with Swoosie Kurtz and with Susan Sarandon. Robert Egan directs at the Actors’ Gang and Robbins, who produces, plans to take it to the Edinburgh Festival and the Abbey in Ireland. “I really love doing the play,” he says. “It honors the men, but also shows a sense of humor — what happened in their firehouse (pre 9-11).” Robbins finances the play here as well. “That’s the least I can do for them,” he adds. He plans another stage outing, “Alagazam,” which he wrote with Adam Simon. This one boasts 16 characters in a traveling sideshow. Robbins is also planning a return to the bigscreen and is in negotiations to star in “Mystic River.”

KEVIN SPACEY DID HIS (TERRIF) imitation of Johnny Carson as he joined “Yarmy’s Army” Sunday in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Motion Picture and TV Home and Hospital. It was actor-writer Pat McCormick’s 75th birthday and his pals of the “Army” were there to brighten his day. McCormick, who was one of Carson’s chief writers, suffered a stroke and, sad to say has been silenced — but was able to laugh at the show his showbiz pals put on. Jack Riley hosted and those performing included Peter Marshall, Joanie Somers, Jim MacGeorge, Shelley Berman, Don Knotts, Tom Poston (there with wife Suzanne Pleshette), Sally Struthers, Howard Storm, Christopher Weeks and Larry White on piano … Storm, Sam Denoff, David Yarnell and Deborah Bauman are producing A&E’s “Old Friends,” the story of Helen Clippinger (103 years old), Mildred Mulligan (102), and Anne Prichard (101) who have been friends all of their lives. The producers tell me Julia Roberts will host and narrate the special … Roy Scheider and Gianni Bozzacchi are back from Florence where they sealed their deal with the city that will provide them 25 acres for the site of their studio where they’ll film their 24-hour telling of the Renaissance. Bozzacchi assures me their banner, TriWorld, has $120 million “in the bank” to launch the production. While in Florence, they also completed confabs with leading Florence families for use of their archives. They’ll shoot 65% of the series in the Florence studio, the rest, worldwide, says Bozzacchi. “Factual accuracy” will be provided by the Sorbonne, the U. of Bologna, Oxford, Yale and Harvard. Scheider will produce with Bozzacchi and will play Galileo as well as narrate. Chazz Palminteri has been asked to write one seg and to also play a role. John Baxter is writing the “bible” for the Renaissance. Others already being approached to participate include Carlo Lizzani, Fred Schepisi and, Bozzacchi adds, “We are talking to HBO.”

LUCIE ARNAZ AND BROTHER DESI JR. are in L.A. to send the ashes of mom Lucy and grandma Deedee back to the hometown of Jamestown, N.Y. Lucie is also looking at college sites for daughter Kate. And Desi’s cutting a CD with Ricci (Martin) and Billy (Hinsche). While here, Lucie and Desi were talking over old times with pals at Matteo’s in Westwood. Also at Matteo’s, Stephanie Zimbalist, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, Pleshette and Poston, Loretta Swit, Tony Martin and Cyd Charisse, Gianni Russo, Mike and Marty Erlichman, Al Davis and “The Sopranos'” Vincent Pastore, Louis Lombardi, David Aprile and Ed Lauter … Catherine Deneuve, in N.Y., caught “The Producers,” then proceeded to Elaine’s — where she just missed Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft … Songwriter Roxanne Seeman’s tune, “Hold On to the Good Things,” was chosen out of 100 songs for the second end title of “Stuart Little 2” and recorded by Shawn Colvin the week the film locked; the final mix was delivered the day it locked … Andy Williams winds a two-week tour of the British Isles tonight at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Andy (71) reports (with a big smile on his face), that for the first time in years “women were throwing panties at me onstage.” … There’s another “Dr. Crane” onscreen — this one is Michael Nouri — and he’s a plastic surgeon in “Lovely and Amazing,” the digital pic distributed by Lions Gate. And oh, yes, the gorgeous Emily Mortimer is also seen in full frontal nudity in a bedroom scene … Jackie Lee Houston has been awarded an affiliate agreement with CBS TV — the first CBS affiliate in Palm Springs … News that pooches will no longer have to spend six months in quarantine before entering the British Isles should come as good news for Elizabeth Taylor — she and Richard Burton once kept their doggie on their yacht in the Thames so he (she) could be near ’em … And now Merv Griffin can finally visit the isles with his pooch and constant companion, Charlie Chan, a Chinese Shar-Pei, without whom Merv goes no place.

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