Robbins sets sail on ‘Columbus’ project

GOOD MORNING: Here comes another Columbus–well, sort of. Tim Robbins and his Actors Gang will star in “Columbus the Discoverer Meets the Gulf War.” It’s for radio, and NPR will air it on Columbus Day. The busy Mr. Robbins just completed “Short Cuts” for Bob Altman, in which he plays a cop in a seg dealing with, you should pardon the expression, “family values.” And next he stars in a Gary Cooper-ish role in “The Hudsucker Proxy” for the Coen freres and co-star Paul Newman. It’s been described as “How to Succeed in Business Meets John Doe.” Last p.m., Robbins and Susan Sarandon were joined by a group of friends and admirers at the Writers Guild theater for a screening of his sensaysh “Bob Roberts” to benefit FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) … Paul Newman’s done it again: His Newman’s Own Inc. is distributing truckloads of Newman’s Own Lemonade and pasta sauce to the tent cities and shelters in Hurricane Andrew-stricken areas of the South. Since founding the company in 1982, Newman has donated nearly $ 48 million (100% of the after-tax profits) to worthwhile causes and charities … Charlton Heston’s on the Mongolian plains of Bishket for a three-week stint in “Genghis Khan”…”Russian Holiday,” starring Susan Blakely, Barry Bostwick, E.G. Marshall and Jeff Altman, gets toasted (vodka?) Sept. 8 at the Russian Tea Room on its start in St. Petersburg. Steve Jaffe produces, Greydon Clark directs … Mary Tyler Moore’s back in front of the cameras in November for Lifetime’s “Stolen Children,” in which she plays the head of a Tennessee black-market baby adoption racket. Next week, Nick at Night launches nightly airings of the classic “Mary Tyler Moore Show”… Bo Derek and Bob Mitchum will co-star in “Woman of Desire” written-directed by Bob Ginty and to film either in Israel or South Africa. Mitchum is now co-hosting “African Skies” with Catherine Bach. Bob took over for the ailing Glenn Ford … Telly Savalas is at the Dunes filming “The ABCs of Winning at Blackjack.” He’ll ditto videos on poker, roulette, craps and other games. The videos will be available in time for Christmas. It’s a nice Christmas present for Telly. Agent Charles Stern wrapped MORE DIAMOND-HOPPING THAN JOSE CANSECO: Tom Selleck segued from the Little League Championships to a “Most Valuable Player” outing with the Detroit Tigers, to batting practice in Philly (where he hit one out of the park) to a day with the Chicago Cubs. It was all for “Mr. Baseball,” of course. And he’s having the time of his life … Add travelers: Dickie Attenborough wound editing “Chaplin” in London, winged directly to Kauai (to which there’s no direct route) to start acting in “Jurassic Park” for Steven Spielberg … And Larry Fishburne wound the telepic “Choices” in N.Y. while on B’way in “Two Trains Running” and ran for the plane to join the “Searching for Bobby Fischer” troupe in Toronto … And among those headed to the San Sebastian Film Fest are: Joe Mankiewicz, Roman Polanski, Sharon Stone, Ray Liotta, Marisa Berenson, Carmen Maura and Marisa Paredes … Add Joyce Brothers to those taping guestints as themselves–with overbite–on “The Simpsons”…”Leap of Faith,” starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger, wound yesterday in Dallas. The movie’s filled with music ranging from rock gospel to country & western. And yesterday, David Picker set Cliff Eidelman to write the score. The Par pic’s a Christmas release … After the Sept. 9 MTV Video Music Awards, the Variety Club of Southern California holds a tribute at the BevHills Hotel with second-generation co-hosts for Variety Clubs’ Young Hearts division: Jennifer Nicholson, Victoria Sellers, Marvin Gaye III, Lou Rawls II, Tracy Davis , Bill Asher, Brennan Thicke and Damon Welch.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR WINGED FROM yesterday’s Loews Santa Monica Hotel press confab (for the Cirque du Soleil’s alliance with E.T.’s AIDS Foundation) to Palm Springs where her mom, Sarah (96), was to undergo surgery after a fall. Telling of the AIDS crisis and the absence of adequate government support, E.T., when asked whether she’d support Bush or Clinton, said she’d like to meet Clinton to discuss his views. She left no secret about her opinion of the Bush administration’s lack of support … Clinton’s birthday letter to Martha Raye: “I know you have been nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. You deserve it. And I’d be thrilled if things go well to be able to present it to you!”… Charlotte Crossley, a former Harlette who sang backup to Better Midler for 20 years, weds football coach Steven Fortier Friday at the Ablaze Believers Christian Center. Midler will be there to witness for Crossley, as will Whoopi Goldberg, Allee Willis and Beverly D’Angelo … Rita and John Cossette welcomed daughter Maria Helena C. Aug. 9 … And a son, Robert Parker Chenoweth, was born Aug. 25 to Deborah Chenoweth at Cedars-Sinai … Buddy Rogers (88), George Montgomery (76) and Ann Hamilton celebrated their birthdays at the bow of Toshi Kihara’s Melrose Place restaurant. George Hamilton flew in for mother Ann as did his son Ashley and latter’s mom, Alana … Brentano’s in Century City’s the site for the pub party of Dorothy Rice’s “Israel With Love” book (Glen House) of paintings and prose. Rice, wife of producer Stanley Chase, previously published “Los Angeles With Love.”