Roth dedicates ‘Christmas’ to King

GOOD MORNING: Joe Roth says “Christmas With the Kranks” will be dedicated to Alan King. Three weeks ago, King, although undergoing chemotherapy in New York, winged to L.A. to play Tim Allen’s boss in the Revolution film being directed by Roth. They were longtime friends, King having worked for Roth in 1989’s “Enemies, A Love Story.” I spoke Monday with producer-director Roth between takes of “Christmas,” which is in its 21st day of filming — “and on sked.” He said of King, “He was terrific in the scene — which I have already seen edited”…Meanwhile, Revolution’s legal department is unhappy with an ad which appeared May 4 in Daily Variety for “Santa’s Slay” — from Brett Ratner and Media 8 Entertainment — which looks suspiciously like the April 29 ad for “Christmas With the Kranks.” While noting the legal aspects, Roth also asided to me, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery”…Among those speaking this morning at services for King at Manhattan’s Riverside Chapel are: Billy Crystal, with whom King did “Memories of Me,” Irwin Winkler, for whom King did “Author, Author” and “Night and the City,” Sidney Lumet, “Just Tell Me what You Want,” and Barbara Walters and Charles Pignatelli. I spoke Monday with Jeanette, King’s wife of 66 years, who said the phone calls from grieving friends included Steve and Eydie, Chevy Chase, and Lena Horne, whom King had encouraged to return to showbiz with him in Las Vegas. We had been with Jeanette and Alan appearing aboard the maiden voyage of the Crystal Serenity. He got laughs talking about showbiz; I got questions about the Oscars. We got laughs talking between our shows. He was unbeatable on stage, unmerciful in his observations obout life, but offstage he was the warmest human being. When he left the ship in London, he went on to talk about bringing his one-man show “Goldwyn” to the British hoards. He had just wound a film called “Mind the Gap” and was about to start “The Tenth Man,” and was talking other pix, plays, books, p.a.’s.When the big “C’ struck him down, Jeanette said to me, “His life was performing — if he couldn’t do that any more — maybe God was right to take him.”

“THE PRACTICE” wound filming its last seg Monday night (it will air May 16), the finale of eight seasons of terrif TV. It has been one of my favorite series of all time. At the party for 600 last Saturday at the Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood, David E. Kelley thanked the family members of the set workers for their patience, giving up weekends and and such as the show went into extra hours. Exec producer Bob Breech also gave ’em thanks, while series’ star Camryn Manheim — wearing a t-shirt emblazoned Unemployed — was emotional in her farewell remarks. (Despite the t-shirt, Manheim’s set for an ABC pilot by Kelley and Dan O’Sullivan). The de rigueur (double) gag reel of outtakes was also shown…As the final seg was before the cameras, James Spader intimated Kelley has so much going to wrap up the hour show, “Ten to 12 minutes will probably have to go.” For the finale, principals involved include Spader, appearing in judge’s chambers now occupied by Spader’s former law firm adversary Eugene (Steve Harris), and Kate Burton. Spader says Kelley has written his character to continue to be “conflictive” with the established players in the show. He and Rhona Mitra are signed for the new (untitled) legal serie, onto which he’s signed for 22 segs. “I’m on board for as many as they want me,” Spader allowed…Meanwhile, William Shatner, who came on board “The Practice” as the irascible Denny Craine of the law firm Craine, Poole and Schmidt, is teaming with Robert Wagner and Lee Majors for an ABC MOW that was designed as a potential franchise called “ActionHeroes, Inc.” It’s about three ex TV heroes who open a private detective agency and solve cases by paying the roles which made them famous — roles somewhat reminiscent of “Captain Kirk,” “Jonathan Hart” and “The Six Million-Dollar Man.” The heart of the movie (series) is the relationship among these three pals, who are fighting ageism, remembering lost love and loved ones and rediscovering what it means to be — true heroes … Fox TV is producing with Windmill Entertainment for ABC Craig Nevius is writer/producer.

CONGRATS TONY NOMINEES: Bob Daly, who is an investor in the five-time nommed “Boy From Oz,” winged to N.Y. Monday with wife Carole Bayer Sager who, with Peter Allen wrote 10 of the tunes in “Oz” and will be a presenter at the Tonys.The Dalys will see the show again Thursday bringing Bette Midler, husband Martin von Hasselberg and Carole King…Marty Ingels wanted to outdo well-wishers with flowers for wife Shirley Jones, bowing with son Patrick in “42nd Street” at the Ford. So, he arranged for a nursery to send her a tree — a bloomng hydrangea — to her dressing room, But, Ingels sez the fire department nixed it — saying it was a fire hazard. So it’s now in front of the theater. Marty, who doesn’t fly, trains into N.Y. June 7 to stay till the closer Aug.1. Tommy Farrell, 82, died of natural causes Sunday at the Motion Picture and TV Country House of natural causes. He and wife Bobbi of 43 years have lived there for the past three years. Tommy, the son of WB star Glenda Farrell, was the multi-talented star of stage, screen, radio, night clubs, westerns, dramas, comedy. You name it, he was successful in all and one of the best-liked men in the biz. Services will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Louis B. Mayer Theater at the Country House. He has one son, producer-writer-director Mark, daughters Erin, Ellen and Kathy and three grandchildren…Tony Martin, who stars at Feinstein’s Cinegrill May 14 and 15 and who celebrated his 90th birthday last Christmas, reminds, “If your mind’s young, the body goes along with it.” His repertoire includes “All The Things You Are,” “You Stepped Out of a Dream” and “There’s No Tomorrow”….And Van Alexander, 89, was asked by Feinstein to write the arrangements for his Carnegie Hall tribute to Benny Goodman May 5. Alexander, who had been on hand in the hall for Goodman’s memorable 1938 concert, orchestrated a number of Goodman classics for Feinstein and orchestra: “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “Goodie, Goodie,” “”Don’t Be That Way” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.” Feinstein called on Alexander to take a bow from the SRO house.

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