Bitter pills for Cos to swallow

GOOD MORNING: Bill Cosby, here over the weekend to appear at the 30th anni St. Jude bash Saturday for his late pal Danny Thomas and to guest Friday with Arsenio Hall, also had talks with Par on his new feature pact, parleys with his Wm. Morris agent Norman Brokaw about the new “You Bet Your Life” series bowing Sept. 7, plus an assortment of medical appointments now that he’s 55–“and married (to Camille) for 28 years.” He chronicled all the things she’s got him doing: seeing a Chinese herbologist (ended up with 28 pills a day), had him send “a handful of hair to Phoenix and they sent me a supplement of 11 pills to take daily,” plus a holistic regimen prescribed by another specialist resulting in another 36 pills a day. “I also had my blood drawn and my 177 cholesterol count resulted in more pills. So, when I sit down to eat–maybe I can eat half an apple–because I’m so full of water from the pills. And now I have a sty–I never had a sty before I was married 28 years!” Seriously, Cosby is feeling fine having completed 70 “You Bet Your Life” segs. Is “Life” easier than “The Cosby Show”? “Not really. It’s hard work–but not as annoying. I had to teach on and off the set to get across a story point. In this one–it’s the tension. Comedy is timing. And tension is being the catcher in an aerial act and–we’re working without a net.” At Paramount, he and producer Stan Robertson are about to sign a director-writer to make the two features (sans Cos) for a budget of $ 1.5-2 million. “If it starts getting to $ 1.7 million, we’ll tell him, ‘You have to be like Spike Lee and get friends to put up the rest of the money.’ ” The first feature to star Cos will be “Precious,” in which he plays an unmarried Viet vet who learns he has a daughter. And also finds out he has prostate cancer. “And it’s funny,” he assures. Before taking his Hotel du Cap vacation in September, Cosby also works on Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s new series for NBC. … “Theo is dead,” said Malcolm-Jamal of his “Here and Now” show in which he’s “A.J.,” a Howard U. grad and Columbia U. master in psych who works in a youth center with black and Hispanic kids. “But it won’t be a ‘problem-of-the-week’ show. And don’t expect Bill Cosby to be on it. It’s one of the reasons we changed my name. But fortunately we’ll still have his (Cosby’s) input, genius, his magic (as exec producer)–he makes things better and funnier.” Malcolm will also have plenty of input in his show but will not produce. “Mr. Cosby wants me to work my way up to that title.” Nor will he direct the four-camera show–although the 22-year-old has done several other shows. And he’s developing another series, plus two spex. Warner has followed his “father” Bill Cosby’s footsteps–in signing with Cosby’s longtime agent, William Morris’ Norman Brokaw.

CYBILL SHEPHERD is en route to D.C. to join the fight to rescind the FDA’s ban on importation of RU 486 — the so-called “abortion drug” that made headlines last week when the Supreme Court upheld the confiscation of pills brought in from England by Leona Benton. Shepherd joins Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-Col.) and Marjorie Benton of the Women’s Issue Network testifying before the House small business subcommittee on regulation, business opportunity and energy, led by Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Shepherd narrated a docu on RU 486 and it will be screened tomorrow night at the Capitol building’s Mike Mansfield Room, the showing hosted by Senator Paul Simon (D-Ill.). Sez Cybill, “It’s an opportunity for me to use my celebrity to be of use. It’s not just the ‘abortion pill,’ it has so many uses–for brain tumors, breast cancer, glaucoma, etc. But it could be the pill to stop the abortion wars and put it (abortion) where it fully belongs–privately between a woman and her doctor. I’ve been blessed and it’s the least I can do as a celebrity.” The docu she narrated, “Science Held Hostage: RU 486 and the Politics of Abortion” airs on TBS, Sept. 21.

WE’RE BEATING the recession,” said Michael Jackson’s Wembley Stadium promoter Barry Clayman of the five sold-out Jackson dates–with a record $45 (U.S.) top. But, he was busy over the weekend warning fans not to buy ducats from any unauthorized service–as 2,000 tix were stolen–including 100 reserved ducats in the Royal Box for “Royal Night, July 31.” Can you picture some poor shlepper, with stolen tix, trying to talk his way into the Royal box? Prince Charles is skedded to attend–so far no word on Princess Di, who is a Jackson fan. … Elizabeth Taylor caught up with Michael at his Brussels concert. … Jan and Mickey Rooney celebrate their 17th wedding anni tomorrow in Paris. She’s been married to Rooney longer than his previous (seven) wives combined. Mickey adds to his sked “The Super Squirrels” feature with MetroLight Prods. and says he’s talking to Fox and Nickelodeon, plus plans to do a big screen “Professor Crime.” … Col’s “Hero” got a good preview sendoff at Santa Monica’s AMC Thursday and afterward, at Locanda del Lago, Dustin Hoffman, wife Lisa and costar Geena Davis and Pat Newcomb savored the comments and cuisine. … Actress Nancy Allen and comedian Craig Shoemaker are engaged to wed over the Labor Day weekend in New Hope, Pa. … Bob Mitchum has agreed to host the National Veterans Foundation’s golf classic banquet and auction Aug. 10 at Mountaingate Country Club–even though Mitchum admits to me he does not play golf.