Author adds cover-ups to mysteries

GOOD MORNING: Taking a page from the packaging of women’s stockings in egg-shaped boxes (L’eggs), author Sidney Sheldon’s books will soon be boxed and will contain — a line of nighties and pajamas titled, “Sidney Sheldon’s Knight Wear.” The styles will vary per his nighttime book titles. F’rinstance, “The Other Side of Midnight,””Tales of Midnight,””Memories of Midnight” or — his next novel, “Nothing Lasts Forever,” which is also being readied as a four-hour mini by David Gerber/ITC. Sheldon and Dove books on tape’s Michael Viner are also readying a new anthology series of “Tales of Midnight.” Sheldon’s current bestseller “The Stars Shine Down” is being readied as an NBC vidpic. When 77 -years-young Sheldon’s not busy in the above, he’s also writing country tunes — for a possible B’way musical. He got a Tony for “Redhead” in 1959 … Guess who’s getting into the movie biz? Volvo. The Swedish car company and Sandrews film production company will co-finance a biopic feature on Alfred Nobel. It’s based on the bio written by Kenne Fant, former thesp and head of the Swedish Film Industry who also produced eight Ingmar Bergman pix. The Nobel bio was translated from Swedish for publication in the U.S. by Marianne Ruuth, no stranger to the Hollywood movie community — she is a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. The Nobel pic, “Alfred,” will be directed by Vilgot Sjoman (“I Am Curious (Yellow)”); Sven Wollter stars in the title role of the pic, which may be shot in English as well as Swedish. Will the Swedish National Censorship Board decree a pic about Nobel, dynamite’s inventor, as “psychologically damaging” for kids under 15 as they’ve taboo’d “Schindler’s List”?

WHILE ADJUSTMENTS WERE BEING MADE — mebbe even a wheelchair — for Elizabeth Taylor’s appearance Saturday on the “Jackson Family Honors” show at the MGM Grand, there was a rumor late Thursday she had already entered a hospital. But producer Gary Smith doubted it, saying she’s determined to be there, to get the message across for her AIDS Foundation. Michael Jackson, who had agreed to “participate” in some way with the family, also looks upon his appearance, making two hefty tributes to Taylor and Berry Gordy, as “performances.” Nineteen Jackson grandchildren, from 1-year-old to 22, will also perform. The show airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on NBC — before the Tonya Harding-and-Nancy Kerrigan competition on CBS … I hadn’t spoken to Jane Campion since December, after she received her crix nods and before the eight Oscar nominations for “The Piano.” And now, she is even more exuberant about the accolades — especially “for the women” who received all those Oscar nominations. Sure she’ll be here. And she says the Aussies who carried her piano and the canoe in the movie are threatening to wing up here as well — with the canoe! “They’re not kidding,” she laughs. She arrives a week before the Oscars and Henry and Bob Weinstein will put up the Down Under group in a large house. “Henry (W.) is the phenomenon of our time,” she says. “He has incredible enthusiasm.” While here, Campion will finally get a chance to see the other nominated movies — none of which she’s had the opportunity to view in Sydney. After the Oscars, she’ll return and resume working on the script of Henry James’ “Portrait of a Lady,” to star Nicole Kidman in 1995 … In London, producer Craig Anderson is preparing a $ 50 million (indie financed) feature production of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”– 40 million copies sold. But first, he’s starting Thomas Hardy’s “Return of the Native” for CBS with Joan Plowright. His NBC “The Baby Broker” airs on Monday, and he’s prepping a four-hour mini of “True Women” for CBS. Chris Lofton (“Scarlett”) is scripting.

THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY is saddened by the death of Gloria Stewart; she and Jimmy were the First Couple of Hollywood. Her activities beyond the immediate showbiz charities, hospitals, the L.A. Zoo, helped show the world that showbusiness is made up of responsible, caring people. Sympathies go out to Jimmy and their children who were at her side steadily to strengthen her failing days … Frank Callender, longtime Lorimar costumer, died at the MPTV Hospital Jan. 25 … Debbie Chiesa Miller, Fox publicity VP, and husband Roger Miller welcomed son Justin Tyler M. Jan. 13. During Debbie’s maternity leave, Doug Taylor is filling in at the 20th praisery Bianco will marry Oct. 29 in Newport, R.I. … Nely Galan, host of E! Entertainment channel’s “Gossip” show, is back from Puerto Rico, where she played — host of a TV show — in director Joe Vasques’ “Rice, Beans and Ketchup”… A 10-year-old kid asked Walter Matthau, “Were you in ‘Grumpy Old Men’?” When Walter said ‘Yes,’ the youngster asked, “Was that your first movie?” Well, after all, Matthau’s not a veteran like Macaulay Culkin to kids.

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