GOOD MORNING: “I’m in good snub company,” Joel Grey rationalized to me between acts of “Wicked” backstage at the Gershwin Wednesday afternoon. While the musical received 10 Tony nominations, former winner Grey (“Cabaret”) was “snubbed” by the nominating committee. What will he say when he is brought on stage to introduce the “Defying Gravity” number from the top-nominated nominee? “I’m showing up,” he laughed, recalling others in the “snubbed” category, past and present: Dustin Hoffman, Edie Falco and Nicole Kidman. “I was really disappointed.” While receiving consolation from “a lot of mail saying I was robbed, I can’t put ‘I was robbed’ on my shelf.” He had once before missed out on a Tony nomination when producers forgot to enter his name for “Chicago.” And in addition to the win for “Cabaret,” he was also nominated for “George M” and “Goodtime Charlie.” Grey, who celebrated his 50th anni in the theater and 72nd birthday this year added, “It’s really time to do a commitment to television. There’s so much good TV these days.” And it would also bring him back to L.A. — where he’s a first-time grandfather.
“IT’S MY TRIATHALON,” said Frank Marshall, who follows his banner’s “Seabiscuit” on the horse racing track with Neal Bascomb’s “The Perfect Mile,” on the historic four-minute mile track saga of Roger Bannister, John Landy and Wes Santee. Next for Marshall is the biking tale of Lance Armstrong, “It’s Not About the Bike,” which, of course, has the latest chapter of Armstrong and Sheryl Crow … Marshall, vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, sez he’ll be on hand in Sacramento next month for the track and field trials. Marshall winds his 10-year term on the committee at the Athens Olympics. While in Sacramento, Marshall says he’ll be looking at runners to star in “The Perfect Mile” film. “I want a runner who can act — not an actor who can run,” he says of the Bannister role. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his history-making record and the book chronicles the intense rivalry of the trio — Bannister from Great Britain, Landy of Australia and Santee of the U.S. The book also pays considerable tribute to Al Franken, a top track and field promoter, for his showmanship in taking the sport to its sucesses in the halcyon years in L.A. Marshall’s interest in this sport is understandable — he was a marathon runner at UCLA. And Lance Armstrong “keeps trying to get me on a bike!” His interest in horse racing continues with the ownership of At’swhatI’mtalkin’about, who will be OK to run again in the fall. The horse who starred in “Seabiscuit,” Fighting Ferrari is enjoying life with the Marshalls’ children at home in Telluride, Colo. Marshall and company are readying Universal’s “Bourne Supremacy” for a July release. While opposing films including “Spiderman II” and “Catwoman,” Marshall is confident “Bourne” will succeed. “We’re the dose of reality with all those cartoon books out there.”
YES, JUNE 6 is the 60th anniversary of D-Day, but “Nightline’s” Tuesday show paid long-overdue tribute to forgotten, yes, hidden heroes of April 28, 1944. 639 Americans died on a sandy beach at Slapsten, England, where “Exercise Tiger” was the ill-fated tryout for the proposed Allied invasion of Europe. Chris Bury beautifully hosted the show interspersed with interviews not only of U.S. survivors, but of a German E-boat commander who sank several of the LSTs. Bury reported two of the survivors called after seeing the show. While Dec.7, 1941 was “a day that will live in infamy,” April 28, 1944 was a day that lived in ignorance. “Nightline” did those 639 a service … Lionel Chetwynd, who gave us “Ike: Countdown to D-Day” on A&E (which showed a reference to the “Tiger” event), told me both John and Susan Eisenhower had liked his Tom Selleck-starrer. Chetwynd receives an honorary captaincy in Montreal’s Fraser Highlanders next month. He is now readying a PBS documentary on the U.S.-U.N. Middle East history. And he meets with Richard Dreyfuss in N.Y. to talk his U.S. Grant biopic. Chetwynd is also talking to MGM to obtain rights to remake “Exodus,” the 1960 power-packed film that Variety called “a real dramatic gem.” The Otto Preminger pic scripted by Dalton Trumbo boasted an all-star cast headed by Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint and Ralph Richardson. “The film brings into life the creation of the state of Israel. This is well-worth doing,” Chetwynd says.
BREAKING NEWS WITHSTANDING, Ted Koppel talks to Elie Wiesel on tonight’s “Nightline” on the horrific murders occurring in the Sudan. Koppel and Wiesel had been talking at Wiesel’s 75th birthday anniversary … George Hamilton is in Blytheville, Ark., today for the burial of his mother Ann, who died in Palm Beach, Fla., May 21 at 94. “She was more famous than I,” George would have us believe, and he regaled me with loving stories of her life. “She drove across the country for weeks in a 1949 Lincoln convertible, stopping to visit her ex- boyfriends and former husbands. She was the one who wanted me to be an actor,” he claims. “I wanted to be a doctor.” George, who travels the world for Turnberry developments, is also readying to produce/star in “Love At Second Bite” … David Foster is arranging the duet between Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond on “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” for “An Evening With John Kerry And Friends” at Disney Hall Monday … Theo Bikel is toasted with an all-star concert Sunday at the Wadsworth Theater, the event to benefit the Shaare Zedek Medical Center … Forbes’ special Investment Guide issue pays tribute to Dennis Weaver for his actions during his days as SAG president … Phil Crosby Jr. (27) debuts his quartet Sunday at TEN20 in the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood. His repertoire include songs his grandfather Bing made famous, including “Blue Skies,” “When The Blue Of The Night Meets the Gold of the Day,” etc. Phil’s father died Jan. 13. He was one of the four Crosby boys who sang in act — which I renamed “The Crosboys” in true Varietese.