Thesps lobby prez on behalf of prisoner

GOOD MORNING: Jack Lemmon, Sidney Poitier, Barbara Hershey and Harrison Ford are some of those in Hollywood who have joined Jon Voight in his plea to President Clinton to commute the life sentence of Jonathan Pollard. He’s the former civilian U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who gave info on Syrian and Iraqi poison gas production and nuclear capability to Israel in 1985. It was information that the U.S. should have given its ally Israel, they argue, and information that helped Israel prepare for the possibility of chemical weapon attacks during the Gulf War. Voight, still hoping to speak to President Clinton personally, told me, “At this time of the year, it’s important that the true Christian spirit be shown. It’s important that non-Jews speak out for Pollard. The man has more than paid his debt.” Voight has followed Pollard’s case into the only U.S. prison put under watch by Amnesty Intl. … As winter started here this week, summer bowed in Australia, where Bruce Beresford is spending Christmas with his family, swimming in Melbourne. He just wound directing Morgan Creek’s “Indian Summer,” whose title belongs to Disney, so they’ve changed their “Summer” to “Silent Fall.” The film’s about a single eyewitness, a 9-year-old autistic boy, to the murder of his parents. Ben Faulkner’s the lad and Richard Dreyfuss and John Lithgow the psychiatrists, plus Linda Hamilton, Liv Tyler and J.T. Walsh. Beresford hopes the movie will help audiences better understand autism — as well as enjoy an exciting suspense movie. He was attracted by Akiva Goldman’s script — he’s a 12-year expert lecturer and researcher on autism. Beresford brought the film in for around $ 15 million and WB distribs domestically. He hopes to finally get “Bessie” (Smith) onscreen. Beresford, Richard Zanuck and Horton Foote are still partnered. And he’s spoken to New Line’s Richard Saperstein, who’s enthusiastic about it. Beresford then hopes to put “A Voice Cries Out” before the cameras. The Singapore-set WWII story deals with European women imprisoned by the Japanese. Among those he’d like to star: Judy Davis and Emma Thompson … Mike Farrell, on tour in “Clarence Darrow,” written 20 years ago for Henry Fonda, tells me, “It’s nice to say some of these issues are still so pertinent today.” But, he admitted , “It’s a little intimidating and I approached it with trepidation — to be walking in Henry Fonda’s footsteps.”

HOLIDAY CASUALTIES: Sam Elliott suffered third-degree burns on his right leg when someone jarred his arm as he was drawing for a shootout scene on the last day of “The Desperate Trail” in Santa Fe. He underwent a skin graft and is now recuping at home … Julie (Mrs. John) Forsythe suffered multiple bruises in a fall at the BevHills home of Marge Everett, where the Forsythes were staying while in town from their Santa Ynez home to attend the 50th birthday party of Jim Murray’s fiancee, Linda McCoy. Murray narrated a 16-minute “This Is Your Life”-like video for Linda. Among the guests, three-time Pulitzer prize-winning political cartoonist Paul Conrad, who had gotten word the L.A. Times and its syndicate had killed a cartoon in which he drew an NRA-tattoo’d character with a gun protruding from his unzipped fly — the caption, “Mrs. Bobbitt, where are you now that we need you?”… Among those at the Sidney Sheldons’ 10th birthday party for granddaughter Elizabeth, David Gerber, who will produce a four-hour CBS mini based on Sheldon’s “Nothing Lasts Forever” (Morrow) to air in November — his book bows in August. Gerber also produces the Sheldon-scripted two-hour CBS MOW/pilot “Isn’t It Romantic.”

WHITE POINSETTIAS brightened the desert in Mescal, Ariz., where Sharon Stone hosted a colorful Christmas party for the cast and crew of “The Quick and the Dead” Wednesday. Stone also attached Arizona lottery tix to the candy canes she gifted the gang … The Laugh Factory, for the 14th time, hosts a free Christmas dinner (starting 2 p.m.) for struggling and/or lonely comics and thesps, at their Sunset Strippery … Stanley Meyer celebrates his 80th birthday Friday at Chasen’s with 200 family/friends … Publicist Pete Latsis and wife Lillian celebrate their 50th wedding anni Sunday at Saint Sofia Greek Orthodox Cathedral ,1 p.m. … Dean Hyskell celebrates his 94th birthday Tuesday … Frank Sinatra celebrates Christmas in L.A. and leaves on Monday to bow at the MGM Grand with Don Rickles through Jan. 2, then heads on tour winding Jan. 29 at Atlanta’s Omni on Super Bowl eve … Martin Lawrence stepped into the ring with Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns for the pre-Christmas seg taping of “Martin.””Tommy gave me a Christmas present,” said Lawrence –“He let me walk out of the ring alive!” Among those ringside, pal Eddie Murphy … Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We’ll see you Jan. 4.

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