Filmmaker in talks for trio

May 29, 1968

GOOD MORNING: Apparently “Funny Girl” was such fun for William Wyler at Columbia that he’s now talking “several pictures” with the Gower St. gang. He may produce and/or direct three pix. And one possibility is Mike Frankovich’s “Doctors Wives” … Wyler was ogling Hugh O’Brian at the latter’s “Cactus Flower” Huntington Hartford bow. Hugh admits he’s played the show 11 months — for the five weeks at the Hartford theatre, where the advance is $104,000. (2008 Update: When I read the above column to Hugh, he laughed and admitted, “I’d like to go back to 1968 and start all over again!” He started off this week as principal speaker at Memorial Day services at the Veterans Center in Westwood. O’Brian, 83, robust and actively traveling around the country with HOBY — the Hugh O’Brian World Youth Network — would like to put his hand back into show biz again. But he reminds, “it’s the insurance people.” He told me the problems during the filming of “Love Has Many Faces” in Acapulco when the film’s star Lana Turner became ill during the middle of production and all had to wait her return to finish the film. O’Brian also reminded me of making “The Shootist” with John Wayne, who took ill. “He had only one lung — and there was no insurance when he didn’t show up for four days.” Further, O’Brian reminded that “Fireman Save My Child,” in 1954, was to star Abbott and Costello, but when Abbott became ill, Universal subbed O’Brian in his role and Buddy Hackett in Costello’s. Of course, O’Brian, as “Wyatt Earp” carved an entire new career — and life. He remains recognized as a Western hero and is proud it has enabled him to launch HOBY “It is absolutely amazing what anyone who earns a name in showbiz can create, do, to better our world. Over 500 CEOs have taken my calls wondering, ‘What does ole Wyatt Earp want from me?’ And I hook them into my HOBY program” — a program Hugh created after spending nine days in Africa in 1958 with Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer. Now, more than 11,000 students attend HOBY Leadership Development Seminars programs each spring. Nice going, pardner.)

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