Hepburn remembered

GOOD MORNING: Anyone who ever met Katharine Hepburn — no matter how briefly — kept that memory a lifetime. I had several meetings with her and I do indeed cherish them, one in particular. It was on April 3, 1967 during the filming of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Spencer Tracy was ill. Hepburn and Stanley Kramer wanted someone to observe the master at work one more time in front of the cameras. Katharine invited me on the set for a scene in which she wasn’t even working. She stood on the sidelines as Tracy and Sidney Poitier worked. It was indeed Tracy’s last film. Fade out to 1964 and Hepburn invited Selma and me to lunch in her Turtle Bay townhouse in New York City. I wrote about that visit for TV Guide’s Dec. 17, 1964 issue headlined: Katharine Hepburn: ‘It’s my last day of acting’. She was referring to her final scene in NBC’s two-hour movie, “One Christmas,” based on a short story by Truman Capote. It was produced by John Dayton, who had also produced her earlier CBS film, “This Can’t Be Love,” co-starrring Anthony Quinn. Duane Poole wrote both. During those two filmings he got to know Hepburn quite well. So for the final scene in “One Christmas,” in which she is giving advice to her grand-niece as played by Swoosie Kurtz, Duane said he tried to make the script fit the real Hepburn: “I have always lived my life exactly as I wanted. I’ve tried to please no one but myself and very likely displeased a great number of others in the process. But’ I’m entirely content. I can sit back in my old age and not regret a single moment, not wish to change a single thing. It’s what I wish for you , my dear (she said to Swoosie), — a life of no regrets.” Hepburn was so pleased with the script, she signed it to Poole, “How lucky!” … Poole has now written a musical, “Wonderland,” a two-hour Manhattan-set contemporary story with music by Bruce Roberts. Industry Entertainment produces.

STRANGER THAN FICTION: On Friday, I received a seven-minute tape from APA of “Tea At Five,” Kate Mulgrew’s one-woman, long-running show at the Promenade Theatre in which Mulgrew plays Hepburn in two acts, September 1938 and February 1983. The set is the Hepburn estate in Fenwick, Conn., where I had my last telephone conversations with Katharine. APA represents playwright Matthew Lombardo who is in L.A. and his play is being discussed as a TV mini-series. One of those being pitched is producer Richard Fischoff who is completing the Natalie Wood TV feature for ABC which Peter Bogdanovich is directing. He’ll also be sought to helm Hepburn. … APA’s chairman/CEO Roger Vorce partied agency president Jim Grosnell on the eve of the latter’s receiving a Vision Award from the Retinitis Pigmentosa at the BevHilton. The evening also marked the first public appearance of Veronique Peck since the death of husband Gregory. Son Anthony made the acceptance speech for his late father. With the deaths of Peck and Hepburn, we are reminded that we are losing our icons — with no one to replace them.

TOBEY MAGUIRE IS WELL and able to do all the stunts required on “Spiderman 2.” I got this word — plus hefty compliments for Maguire — from director Sam Raimi at the Vision Awards where he was presenting an award to producer Avi Arad. Raimi said, “Fortunately for millions of fans around the world Avi Arad has been a fanatic of Marvel comics his entire life and he knows that bringing these characters to the big screen is not an easy task.” Tobey was toasted on the set on his 28th birthday last week and later surprise-birthday-partied at home … Lester Sill Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Burt Bacharach, after being intro’d by Diahann Carroll at the Vision fete, accepted his award — at the piano, playing with Les Brown Jr.’s band … Award recipient and RP supporter Chris McGurk revealed his grandparents were blind … Daniel Gillies, Kirsten Dunst’s love interest in “Spiderman 2,” and leading man duties with Penelope Cruz and Charlize Theron in “Head in the Clouds,” next joins Miramax’s untitled Hollywood musical based on Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice” directed by “Bend it Like Beckman’s” Gurinder Chadha. Shirley MacLaine winged in from her home in New Mexico and Michael Crawford from London to attend the services for agent Mort Viner at Pierce Brothers Westwood. The chapel was filled as was the Beverly Hills Tennis Club later with many of Mort’s friends. Mort was Dean Martin’s longtime pal and agent and Martin’s family was represented at the farewell by Jeanne Martin, Ricci, Gina and Alex, plus Greg Garrison who produced Martin’s TV show. Viner’s tennis player friends there included Kirk Kerkorian and Bob Evans. Also there: his longtime confreres of ICM … Monty Hall is inducted into the Order of Manitoba today at the home of Colin Robertson, Canada’s consul general for California. Hall is a former Winnipegger … The Israel Cancer Research Fund’s Women of Action luncheon at the BevHills featured Carol Connors, Marilyn McCoo, Dr. Carole Hughes Hurvitz, Judge Judith Ashman-Gerst and Suzanne de Passe. Arianna Huffington was keynoter. Writer-director Betty Kaplan, who recently won a Peabody and Imagen Award for “Almost a Woman,” has set Jimmy Smits to star in “Uno” to be produced by ex-ICM agent Peter Rawley. The story’s based on Latin America’s famous talkshow host Rene Ottolina who at one time ran for president of Venezuela but was killed in a plane crash three moths before the elections … Linda Harrison winged in from her home in Berlin, Md., to sign fotos of herself as Nova from the original “Planet of the Apes” at the memorabilia fair at the Beverly Garland Hotel. Harrison signed more than 300 fotos for fans. Harrison’s sons, Dean and Harrison Zanuck, are prepping “a dozen” features, some with their father Richard — and some on their own.

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