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Three pix vie for Newman’s time

GOOD MORNING: Paul Newman’s paged to join Mel Gibson in WB’s feature “Maverick” directed by Dick Donner — but there’s a problem. Newman’s also paged to star in “Nobody’s Fool” directed by Robert Benton at Par. Meanwhile Newman’s also penciled in for Roman Polanski’s “Death and the Maiden,” hopefully teamed with Meryl Streep for Thom Mount next Jan. But all can hold their breath as Newman takes to the track June 26, racing at Portland, Ore. … LeVar Burton’s invited to the White House Thursday, the 25th anni of the Corp. for Public B’casting. It’s also Burton’s 10th anni as host/producer of “Reading Rainbow,” seen by 8 million children three-four times a day on PBStations in the U.S. and Canada. Burton, who signed for his seventh year on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” tapes the PBShows on weekends and on series hiatus and says, “I love what I do — we just taped a show in South Carolina on the Underground Railway and one on the richness of Mexican culture in East L.A.” Burton’s looking forward to the White House visit to talk to Hillary Rodham Clinton about her dedication to children and education. “We have so much in common,” he told me. He’s disappointed the invite was only for him and does not include his wife, makeup artist Stephanie Cozart B. But he’s hopeful another invite will follow for both. (Yeah, we all know that Stephanie could give some good advice to Hillary for her next TV appearance following the one with Katie Couric, but LeVar didn’t mention it) … The Clintons will hold a White House reception for “The Great Ones — The National Sports Awards” honors. The show tapes June 20 at Constitution Hall. The NBC special is produced by George Stevens Jr., Michael Stevens and Don Mischer (latter also directs). Anita Baker sings — she wrote a song for the occasion, “How High, How Far?” Also on the show are Bruce Hornsby and the Joffrey Ballet. Honorees are: Ted Williams, Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph, Arnold Palmer and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The show airs on the 22nd. Also on the 20th, Arnold Palmer golfs with the President. It will mark the first time Palmer’s played golf with a Democratic president.

YOU’VE READ THE REVIEW ABOUT THE MOVIE so let’s talk about the premiere and the party for “Last Action Hero.” It was the biggest bash ever seen in these parts — even bigger than the blowout for “Terminator 2.” Cost for Sunday’s launching of “Last Action Hero” was estimated at more than half a million bucks. As noted, the pic was shown on both the Village and Bruin screens, with our interview platform between them. Arnold Schwarzenegger headed to the barricades along both streets to press the fan flesh in his inimitable style and then later thanked those he missed via a giant closed circuit screen. He brought his mom and expectant wife Maria. Later in both theaters, director-producer John McTiernan intro’d cast members, Arnold, F. Murray Abraham, Charles Dance, Mercedes Ruehl, Anthony Quinn and Austin O’Brien to the audience while thanking Columbia and Sony toppers. McTiernan admitted he was inspired for his movie career by seeing Francois Truffaut’s “Day For Night” 14 times … Preemgoers paraded along a red carpet through roped-off Westwood streets to the party on the giant parking lot where Sonja Henie’s Ice Palace once stood. Now, it was converted by John Chuck’s ELS, Ambrosia, Mike Stern’s Regal Rents and Keith Edwards Entertainment into a party rivaling none on that turf before. In the sky , fireworks shot up from the roof of a nearby parking structure. The giant (70 -foot-tall) Arnold balloon beamed down as lasers, neons, shot through the sky and across a stage backed by an 80-by-40-foot painted canvas. The L.A. Heat, Hip Hop and Triple Threat Dancers performed on stage and later, guests including young (12) co-star O’Brien were invited to dance on the floor. “Last Action Hero” pinball machines were the delight of other youngsters while their parents finale’d at a 100-foot-long dessert table. Columbia’s Carlotta Floria and her staff did the terrif job on the preem.

THREE MILLION DOLLARS has already been raised for the MPTVFund “Sleepless in Seattle” benefit preem, June 23 honoring Edie (Mrs. Lew) Wasserman. (The romantic TriStar movie was screened at the White House over the weekend) … Two hundred thousand-$ was raised at the “Hope in Sight” dinner benefiting the Center for the Partially Sighted and honoring Gordon Stulberg with the Vision Award. Jerry M. Reinsdorf, chairman of the Chicago Bulls, flew into L.A. after the game to make the presentation to his friend … Donald Trump landed his copter in Pilots Field, Buffalo moments before the benefit softball game hosted by Bills’ quarterback Jim Kelly with sports and showbiz celebs playing. P.S. Trump also drove in the game-winning hit … Lunching at Cicada Monday: Arnon Milchan, as enthusiastic as ever, talking projects with ICM’s Jeff Berg and Jim Wiatt at one table. While CAA’s Michael Ovitz, at another table, was lunching with investor Charles Munger. And CAA’s Ron Meyer at a third table, with Howard Weitzman, Tony Thomopoulos and Irwin Winkler. At yet another, David Geffen and Brad Grey.