Clean finish for ‘Born Yesterday’

GOOD MORNING: Melanie Griffith wound her role as Billie Dawn in “Born Yesterday” in classic Hollywood style–in a bathtub covered with bubbles (and–?). She was studying a book on democracy, and in delightful double Billie Dawn character–watching cartoons on TV. It was late Saturday night at Warner Hollywood studio’s Stage 2 where the Hollywood Pictures troupe completed the movie on a set duplicating (and glamorizing as only Hollywood can!) the previous location at D.C.’s Willard Hotel. Griffith wound the scene, dried, dressed and joined the company on Stage 1 for the wraparty. The movie went over a couple of days in the tight 55-day sked in which Washington locations included the Library of Congress, the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Ave., the Vietnam Memorial and Georgetown U. While in D.C., Melanie and Don Johnson dined with Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee, who have small roles in the movie. (Sally also winged to L.A. for an added scene.) Here, Glendale doubled for Georgetown and the city OK’d Disney filming on its Central Ave. Jane and Michael Eisner came by to view the night shooting. Griffith told me she will not work again this year. But Johnson is set to star in “Beyond Innocence” with Rebecca de Mornay for director Sidney Lumet, also at Disney. Doug McGrath, who wrote the new “Born Yesterday,” said his script was 70% true to Garson Kanin, “the rest, inspired by it.” He’s now writing “The President Elopes” for Robert Redford … Writer David Mamet visited director Luis Mandoki on the “Born Yesterday” set … John Goodman, who co-stars as Harry Brock in “Yesterday,” missed the wraparty as he was doubling in “Roseanne” and had a week off from two jobs! … Edward Herrmann, who plays Goodman’s (Brock’s) unethical lobbyist, told me he’s off to France to co-star with Jeanne Moreau and Alec Guinness in BBC’s “Veterans,” written by Roy Clark and directed by Charles Sturridge (“Brideshead Revisited”) … Griffith and Johnson will reteam in the fall of ’93 with “Born Yesterday” producer D. Constantine Conte in “The Moon Palace.” But first, Conte takes Terry McMillan’s “Disappearing Acts” from TriStar to MGM/UA, where Myra Lebo’s the exec in charge of the production. Tony Thomopoulos is partnered with Conte in this feature (the deal made before he ambled to Amblin). It’s slated for Whitney Houston and Danny Glover. Stratton Leopold, who exec produced “Born Yesterday,” also is producing, with Taylor Hackford on the latter’s controversial “Blood In, Blood Out” for Disney. It’s skedded to get a sneak this weekend and a qualifying weeklong release at year’s end … Stephen Traxler co-produced “Born Yesterday” and is president of Conte’s Pegasus Prods.

SHOCKED AND SADDENED: That was the reaction of many here to learn that items from author Alex Haley’s estate, including his Pulitzer Prize, would be auctioned to satisfy debts. (Shades of Sammy Davis Jr., Wayne Newton, etc.) How did it happen? Those close to Haley tell me there was no way to keep financial reins on him. His lifestyle was more than he could support. “And once you get behind,” one associate said, “you never catch up.” Tax lawyers constantly advised him to rein in. But he maintained two complete households, an office here, research staffs. He had a large farm outside Knoxville, Tenn. And David Wolper, who stayed there, reports, “It was a ‘gentleman’s farm,’ with four guest houses, a lake, etc.” Wolper reveals that during the making of the upcoming six-hour CBS version of Haley’s (unfinished) book “Queen,” Haley needed “advances.””I felt bad,” says producer Wolper, Haley’s longtime friend. “I knew he was having financial difficulties.” Wolper guessed Haley received around $ 7 million for “Roots,””Roots, The Next Generation” and “Queen.” And the estate continues to receive payments for reruns from Haley’s percentage ownership of all. Wolper next films a six-hour “Thorn Birds–The Missing Years” (20) with WB, but sans network deal. “We feel we can do better ourselves,” Wolper claims.

THE SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL’S Donostia Award will be presented to Lauren Bacall this year. Previous honorees include Gregory Peck, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis … Susan and Burt Lancaster celebrate their second wedding anni tomorrow. His condition is about the same … Ivan Goff, recuping from aneurism surgery, would be delighted to get a note from pals … At Nicky Blair’s, Andrew Dice Clay announced he and Trini were married last Friday. They have a 2 -year-old son, Max. Clay pere will be roasted Nov. 19 at the Friars … Comic Elayne Boosler, whose parents’ home in Homestead, Fla., was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew, joins the Sept. 26 “Hurricane Relief” troupe at Joe Robbie Stadium (55,000 capacity) in Miami. Also contributing their talents: Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Bobcat Goldthwait, Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia … Brentwood’s Stanley Lefcourt, 70, won the 1992 Poet Laureate $ 10,000 prize at the SanFran poetry convention–he donated the dough to the hurricane victims’ fund … Hollywood Press Club toasts former Daily Variety editor Tom Pryor at an “informal dinner gala” Oct. 12 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge … Dennis James gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame tomorrow. Celebs who’ll attend include Bob Hope, Buddy Rogers, Efrem Zimbalist, Dick Whittinghill and Dennis’ son, manager Randy James.