Jan. 17, 1969
GOOD MORNING: The pitch for “Shoes of the Fisherman” to be shown in Russia will soon be made by MGM’s Maurice Silverstein says George Englund. Latter’s now awaiting a go-ahead from Leo’s new boss, Louis Polk Jr. to build a replica of WWII Berlin — in Yugoslavia, Spain, West Germany or Romania — for “The Last Battle.” Also awaiting the Polk greenlight on Horton Foote’s script of “Fool’s Parade.” Englund’s bride Cloris Leachman is talking the role of Debbie Reynolds’ sister on the latter’s TV series. They’re pals — and at one time George was producing Eddie Fisher’s TV series — “for about a half-hour.”… 2009 Update: When I reached Englund (by phone) this week at his home in Palm Springs, he said, “Someone here would like to say ‘hello’ to you.” “Hi Army,” she said. “I’m lying here in this super comfortable bed.” It was Cloris Leachman — at the home of her ex — and best friend — George Englund. They are working on the audio version of her autobiog, written “with George Englund,” which will be published (Kensington) in April. George admits the search to find the co-writer had ended with him. “Who better? Just because the marriage didn’t work … five children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild!” Plus the fact that Cloris and George’s second wife, Bonnie, are best friends. Cloris never stops adding accomplishments. George tells me she will next be spokesperson for PETA, adding to her accomplishments on and off the screens (small and large). “She is an amazement. People stop her everywhere!”And George, who has never stopped producing, directing or writing projects, has completed another book and is working on a feature script. (P.S. he didn’t get to show “Shoes of the Fisherman” in Russia. “The bureaucreacy was impenetrable!”) Englund, who started his lifelong friendship/association with Marlon Brando on “The Ugly American,” constantly receives requests to speak about the making of that film. He remained close to Brando and was with him the nght before he died. Brando asked Englund to assemble footage he’d shot on Sean Penn, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams and others — but it wasn’t possible. Barnes and Noble has asked George to do a film, “Coffee With Brando” — he will. “We had a comfort zone,” Englund allows to me. And he and Cloris continue to have more than a “comfort zone” between them — and they will celebrate their mutual 82nd birthdays together this spring.