Friends stunned, saddened by Shore’s death

GOOD MORNING: News of Dinah Shore’s death Thursday brought cries of disbelief and sadness on every one of the phone calls I made/received. The calls came in from every part of the country, each caller wondering if it was possible that Dinah had died. Her illness, cancer — long-kept a secret from her/and friends — wasn’t apparent to almost all until the end. Those closest to her were determined she should not be frightened. I spoke with her the morning Deborah Kerr was announced as an honorary Oscar winner. Kerr, in Spain, asked me to call good friend Dinah in BevHills to let her know she was planning to be here March 21 and would see her during her stay for the Acad ceremony. When I relayed the information to Dinah she was just as happy as Kerr was on learning the news. She gave no indication of her illness … It is impossible to picture Dinah without recalling a smile on her face, warmth in her voice, sincerity in her words … Her accomplishments are chronicled in the adjacent story and they are unmatched, as were her unpublicized acts of kindness, her unselfish appearances, performances for those unfortunate. Her former husband (18 1/2 years) George Montgomery remained very close to Dinah during her last few weeks of pain. “But, we’ve always been close,” he said sadly, even though they were divorced 30 years ago. And Burt Reynolds called Dinah “the sunshine in my life, the most wonderful friend I ever had and for me the world has lost the very best part of it.”

“WE HAVE A WONDERFUL LIFE, we are paid more than we’re worth,” volunteered Sharon Stone. “It’s vulgar, irresponsible to whine and complain and act angst-ridden. We are so lucky!” And as noted, Stone wasn’t complaining as she’s spending every second between the finale this week of “‘The Quick and the Dead” outside Mescal, Ariz. fitting costumes and wigs before winging to Miami and next week’s start of “The Specialist,” interrupting there to foreign-press-the-flesh for “Intersection.” Her plate’s full of projects, including a major love story. While busy with her career, Stone and sister Kelly are also working on Planet Hope, a project creating a camp for homeless kids and their families. She says Jerry Buss has donated a night at the Forum for a fund-raising event for the camp and Kelly’s met with President Clinton to talk about their project … While Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” is adding a new dimension and meaning to movies, Arthur Miller’s readying his new play, “Broken Glass”– about the effect of the horrors of Hitler’s 1938 “Crystal Night” on a Brooklyn family. The wife is played by Amy Irving, husband is Ron Rifkin, Ron Silver’s the doctor , and it’s directed by John Tillinger. From the March 1 break-in rehearsals at the Long Wharf in New Haven, pre-B’way’s Booth bow April 24, Rifkin tells me, “It’s so appropriate for now. The play is Miller at his darkest, at his best. He’s here every day. He’s like a razor — incisive, poetic, eloquent, elegant and very generous. This is the stuff you dream about.” He said they’ve all seen “Schindler’s List” and they expect Spielberg to see the play (Amy Irving is his former wife, you recall). Rifkin earlier starred as a holocaust survivor in “The Substance of Fire” and won Obie and Drama Desk Awards in 1990. In “Broken Glass, ” he’s American-born … Production designer Richard Sylbert, two-time Oscar winner, lends his talents for the first time to a science-fiction film, “Forbidden Planet,” a remake of the 1956 classic for Lindsay Dunlap’s Corlind Motion Pictures. As noted earlier here, the pic’s scripted by Stirling Silliphant, and Oscar winner Stan Winston’s creating the movie monsters for the $ 40 million epic directed by Irvin Kershner. They are, of course, planning computer games and all the new high-tech gimmix to follow.

WITH THE CIA EMBARRASSMENT sizzling in D.C., I had a talk with former CIA director William Colby, who is readying to enter showbiz via his APA-made deal with Activision — six figures plus royalties. He’ll be involved as host, etc., in the interactive spy thrillers on CD-ROM. “I would help them develop the stories,” said Colby, whose personal CIA history (25 years) and OSS outing (two years) sounds like something out of James Bond: parachuting into enemy territory , secret meetings in back rooms, cutting through jungles of Southeast Asia, etc. When I asked Colby about using his own CIA experiences, he said, “I wouldn’t break any security. I’ve been trying for years to explain what Intelligence is all about — it’s not all fun and games.” During his tenure at the CIA, he did not meet Aldrich Ames and his wife Maria, who managed to fool the entire agency with their alleged USSR-Russian spy activitie$ . Colby admitted, “It never should have happened.” Colby’s repped by Stu Miller of APA, where they’re readying more deals in the expanding multimedia field.