GOOD MORNING: “I’m very much an activist,” Christine Lahti enthused as we discussed the “fascinating parallels” between her role of Grace McCallister in the WB’s “Jack And Bobby.” She allows, “Grace is more dysfunctional than I am.” In Sunday’s seg of the show, son Bobby (Logan Lerman) wears 20 Kerry-Edwards buttons. Lahti says she plans to spend every weekend in October flying to swing states on behalf of the Demo candidates — “or to wherever they (Demos) want me.” The show will tackle topical stories including sexual harassment on campus, another on extremist religions. Lahti will also be seen on CBS Sept. 25 in “The Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman.” About a woman, wed 25 years, who loses her husband to a trophy wife, she claims it’s a comedy as her character turns the divorce into “a fantastic opportunity.” Stay tuned. Lahti will also be seen “live” Oct. 4 at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater when she duets with Allison Janney on “Bosom Buddies” (from “Mame”) as part of the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund’s “Les Girls 4 “cabaret show. Others performing include: Peri Gilpin (who started Les Girls”), David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer, Ann Magnuson and Eric McCormack.
THE LIFE STORY of producer Don Simpson is heading to the screen. Simpson, 52, died Jan. 19, 1996, from a lethal combination of cocaine, anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medication. His brother Larry, two years his junior, and son Tait, 26, and Amy Dean are readying the film “Full Titles,” the title coming Don’s edict to have above-the-title credits given creative talent. “It will be a complete story,” sez Larry. Jerry Bruckheimer, who was Don’s partner 13 years, and friend for 25, confirmed to me complete cooperation, saying “They don’t want to shy away from anything.” Larry will also be viewing the two hour interview given by his brother for James Toback’s “The Big Bang.” In that interview he talked about sex, drugs and his life from age 12. Toback, back in N.Y. from Toronto screenings of his “When Will I Be Loved,” says he’ll start work again on his saga of 40 years — “One is the Loneliest Number ” which he describes as “a fictionalized version of me.”
CONGRATS to this year’s Kennedy Center honorees: Joan Sutherland, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, John Williams, Elton John and Warren Beatty. It’s not the first time a non-American will be feted. Producer George Stevens Jr. reminds, “It’s a long tradition to honor people who made a contribution to arts in the United States — nationality is secondary.” Stevens again produces and Louis J. Horvitz directs. The weekend celebration starts with Saturday’s State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State Colin Powell and wife Alma when the honorees receive their medals. Sunday afternoon, pre-awards show at the center, President Bush hosts the honorees at the White House … Stevens will be in L.A. Oct. 1 for the Acad’s kickoff tribute to his dad George Stevens. Warren Beatty hosts the event. He was a part of Stevens fils’ “George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey.” … The Kennedy Center bows “On Golden Pond” Sept. 27 costarring James Earl Jones and Diane Carroll with the Powells’ daughter Linda in the Jane Fonda role … Friday at noon, a giant billboard at Tower Records on the Sunset Strip will unveil Christina Aguilera, her lips sewn together but saying, “Only You Can Silence Yourself. Go to Declareyourself.Com — which has to date downloaded 500,000 registrations — thanks to the support of Yahoo. Christina will be there, live.
HURRICANE IVAN forced the bigscreen “Glory Road” and CBS’ “Canal Street Brothel” to shut down filming in New Orleans and move to higher ground … Blair Underwood, talking from the Ontario Airport location of NBC’s “LAX,” says workers at the airport tell him so many real life tales, “there’ll be no dearth of stories” for this series. In one seg his character, who has a gambling addiction, takes off for Vegas for a day — and doesn’t make it back on sked as his return flight encounters an electrical problem — like Tuesday in L.A.? Underwood and costar (and producer) Heather Locklear will be presenters at Sunday’s Emmys, a first time on that stage for Blair … Pax-TV will air the Yom Kippur service of the Temple Shalom for the Arts from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Sept. 25. and Kol Nidre service on Sept. 24 with Barry Scheck, author of “Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Accused” along with Herman Atkins, one of those rescued from an eight-year jail sentence thanks to DNA discovery … Tom Smothers, now playing the king in ABC’s “Once Upon a Mattress” shooting in Vancouver, gets an opportunity to display his yo-yo talents in the 2004 version of the toy. Smothers, who plays the mime, says a scene with his yo-yo helps convey a message to his young son. Tom and brother Dick will team on screen next in Showtime’s dramatization of their 1969 firing by CBS which objected to their outspoken anti-Vietnam war sentiments on their comedy hour series. David Steinberg, who was also a part of that shameful showbiz history, is part of the upcoming Showtime show which Paul Reiser’s readying with ’em … Bob Eubanks will be honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Friday … There wasn’t a dry eye in the ballroom of the Century Plaza Hotel Ballroom when Melissa Sherak spoke of her 15-year courageous battle with multiple sclerosis at the Dinner of Champions. Nicole Kidman made the presentation to honoree Tom Rothman who noted, “We are a neighborhood of professionals who may compete fiercely with each other, but who also rally for each other willingly. I take heart in such caring pride in our neighborhood, which looks pretty damn good out there and feel blessed to live here.” Roger Birnbaum presented to Teri Garr, who has multiple sclerosis. Byron Allen m.c’d, Randy Newman and Christopher Cross performed … The AFI’s annual Golf Classic will be played Monday at the Riviera Country Club. Bud Yorkin chairs … Peter Cincotti, who plays Bobby Darin’s (Kevin Spacey’s) musical director in “Beyond the Sea,” kicks off his new CD “On the Moon,” with his band at Borders on Westwood Boulevard Saturday. He did the same Tuesday at Barnes and Noble in Union Square in N.Y. He also plays the pre-Emmy party of Endeavor’s AdamVenit on Friday night.