Rogers award ‘better late than never’

GOOD MORNING: “I’m like a bouncing ball–with joy,” Ginger Rogers told me when she received word she’s one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors–along with Lionel Hampton, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Mstislav Rostropovich and Paul Taylor. From her Rancho Mirage home, Rogers recalled she had been a participant 14 years ago honoring Fred Astaire when he was medal’d. “I wondered why I was left out,” Ginger admitted to me. “It was a man’s world, then. But it’s better late than never,” she said happily. It won’t be her first visit to the White House–Rogers was previously hosted by FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan. The Dec. 6 awards are again produced by George Stevens Jr. and Don Mischer. … Emmy nominee Roseanne Arnold will do a schtick with Julia Sweeney, “Pat” of “SNL,” in the audience at Sunday’s Emmys. And Super Dave (Bob Einstein), who will do the accountants’ bit, will also do a number with the show’s producer-director Walter C. Mille. …r Emmy nominee Alice Ghostley arrived here from her hometown, Henryetta, Okla., where her high school auditorium was named for her. “It was very emotional for me,” Alice said. … Cicely Tyson wings in from N.Y. to Emmy-present with James Woods. … The Sept. 16 Hollywood Women’s Political Committee’s star-studded Clinton fundraiser at Ted Fields’ will be satellited to a dozen other fundraisers around the country where celebs–plus Hillary Clinton, Al and Tipper Gore–will be interspersed. … Tomorrow, Clinton phones a happy birthday message from Little Rock, Ark., to Martha Raye, feted here at the Friars. He’ll urge the Medal of Freedom for GI entertainer Raye. … And Bob Hope wings here to attend Martha’s bash from D.C., where tomorrow he receives the Marines’ Desert Shield/Desert Storm Service Award. Sunday, TV Guide holds a post-Emmy party at the Hopes’ house. (Bob’s not attending the Pasadena doings.) Hope says he told Barbara Bush they (she and George, that is) could have the use of his place for a pre-election Bush bash. … Barbara Bush is honorary chair woman and Leeza Gibbons and Gil Gerard co-host the second annual ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Awards at the Four Seasons Hotel Sept. 21. Clinton campaigners Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason present awards to Dixie Carter and Hal Holbrook, and White House Hollywood aide A.C. Lyles does the honors for Donald O’Connor. … Cybill Shepherd, daughter Clementine, Chevy Chase, Gladys Knight, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk Jr. are at the Little Rock State House Convention Center tomorrow night for a dinner honoring the Clintons and Gores.

IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING, FOLKS: Wednesday night’s SanFran national tour bow of “The Will Rogers Follies” went over so well with original cast leads Keith Carradine and Dee Hody, the show will go beyond its planned tour (Dallas. Chi, L.A.). Pierre Cossette is now negotiating to buy/build/lease a theater in Branson, Mo. where a “Follies” company would play the entire six-month season(s) , annually. The SanFran version (a few minutes shorter than B’way), played so well, Cossette says they’ll ditto changes in N.Y. “Son of the Pink Panther” was downed for five days when “Son” Roberto Benigni suffered a sprained ankle in one of those memorable Blake Edwards film fights. The movie had been five days ahead until then and will wind next week Producer Ralph Singleton, who winds “Leap of Faith” next week, opens “Pet Sematary Two” today and tells me “Pet” has a new ending. “The first one wasn’t strong enough. Dead is better,” he laughed. P.S.: He doubts there’ll be a third “Sematary.” He also tells me Stephen King “was right to ask for his name to be omitted from this one. I never had a problem with tha.t.” … Steve Forrest is unbilled in 20th’s “Storyville” bowing today. He plays a heavy judge as a favor for golfing pal, director-scripter Mark Frost. Forrest’s now playing a crusty multimillionaire knocked off by wife Tyne Daly in an upcoming “Columbo.”

ALTHOUGH THEY RETURNED TO KEY WEST to start the next seg of the ditto-titled series, the “Key West” company was warned not to drink the water yet. And Jennifer Tilly also told us the markets have only “weird items” left on the shelves. And, the upcoming seg about a hurricane, which was scripted as “Edna”–you guessed it–it’s now called “Andrew.” … Henry Rogers, retired founder and chairman of the board of Rogers & Cowan, read about cutbacks in the Cal State Long Beach budget and volunteered to teach a class–gratis. He starts next Wednesday in their journalism school. … Mark Canton turned in a double play in the 9th inning stopping Mike Medavoy and a TriStar rally as Columbia beat ’em for the second year in a row in the inter-company competition. … This weekend’s La Costa-Mazda Pro-Celeb Tennis Classic benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. … “Say you’re president: what’s your agenda?” That’s the Grace Mirabella-Mirabella mag final forum, Sept. 22 at Pacific Design Center with Blair Brown as moderator, the panelists Debbie Allen, Kathleen Brown, Elizabeth Glaser, Mary Lake Polan, Claudine Schneider and Marianne Williamson. The Women’s Campaign Fund benefits from the night, which includes a Spago party following the gab.