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Mancini’s music will live on

GOOD MORNING: The songs are ended — but the melodies linger on. I received calls about Henry Mancini from radio stations and networks from as far away as Perth and London, where audiences also know and love him and his music. It was on March 29 that I wrote, “It was not easy talking to my friend Hank Mancini. I had known he had cancer and he knew that I knew. I had spoken to this gentle gentleman of note a week ago when he had already taken two weeks of chemotherapy. We decided to say nothing at that time, hopeful news would improve with time — and it could.” But it didn’t. He said he would take “alternate routes that don’t follow AMA sanctions” and he traveled south of the border to try some of those last resorts — sadly to no avail. “I don’t want to get a bedridden image,” he told me as he continued to work on the score of lifelong friend Blake Edwards’ “Victor/Victoria,” Broadway-bound (Marquis Theater in April ’95, after February’s Boston break-in). Hank wound the final song, “King’s Dilemma,” last week. The demo record was to have been cut with daughter Monica this week — but has been postponed. After I wrote of his illness, he wrote me, “I would like to thank you warmly for the way you handled the story on my recent problem. If I seemed confused in talking with you, please forgive me. I have never gone through anything like this before. You were patient and knew instinctively what had to be done. There are two ways this story could end, I will accept nothing but remission.” He was able to accept the love and admiration from 3,000 friends at the April 21 70th birthday party given him at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. Hank camouflaged his pain and frailty with his ever-present sense of humor and he told the emotional audience that his ambition was to reach “the millennium.””Let’s get to the year 2000 and we’ll worry from there,” he said. He may have known it was the last time he would face an audience. But we’ll always remember Mancini and his music.

SHARON STONE MEETS with Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro in New York this week to talk “Casino” for Universal. The ’70s-set Vegas story would have Stone playing De Niro’s wife. Joe Pesci co-stars … George C. Scott joins pal Carroll O’Connor this week in Covington, Ga., to guestar in a two-hour “In the Heat of the Night” as Judge Walker … Paul Anderson, director of “Shopping,” will next rein New Line’s “Mortal Kombat,” based on the videogame of the same name … Neil Patrick Harris, who celebrates his 21st birthday today, will age from 14 to 41 in “My Antonia,” the USA Network Event Feature in which he co-stars with Jason Robards and Eva Marie Saint. Joe Sargent directs the pic based on novelist Willa Cather’s novel, which was published in 1918. David Rintels is exec producer with Victoria Riskin as writer/producer … John Saxon tore the Achilles tendon in his left foot — while rehearsing the polka for “The King and I,” in which he was to star later this month with Shirley Jones in St. Louis, then Atlanta and Detroit. Saxon undergoes surgery today … And AFI Dean of Studies Ron Silverman is recuping at Cedars-Sinai after undergoing emergency diverticulitis surgery Sunday. He’s OK and will be out in a week … Shelley Fabares suffered several fractured ribs in a fall at her home. She’s had to curtail duties as national chairperson for the Alzheimer Assn. Her husband, Mike Farrell, and his partner, Marvin Minoff, have set two writers for their Par projects: Steve Oedekerk to script the Patch Adams biopic and Corey Blachman to write their “In Silence”… Elly and John Schneider welcomed their first, daughter Karis Lynn S., Monday in San Antonio where John’s starring in “Heaven Help Us,” Spelling Premiere Network’s one-hour series … Producers Sarah and Sandy Lieberson welcomed their second daughter, Grace, June 7 in London … And press agent Sandi Mendelson and husband Byron Preiss (Preiss Multi-Media) welcomed their second daughter, Blaire Nora P., in N.Y. June 6.

THE STOCK MARKET’S 30-POINT jump Tuesday coulda been caused by the visit there by “Baywatch’s” voluptuous Pamela Anderson. Her manager, Ray Manzella, escorted Anderson there and to Bear Sterns’ office before she appeared at the licensing confab and exposition at the N.Y. Hilton. She’s promoting her sizzling poster and other new products … Hadda Brooks, “queen of the boogie,” who sang to George Brent and Carole Landis in 1947’s “Out of the Blue” and for Humphrey Bogart in 1950’s “In a Lonely Place,” will have her ’50s-era records re-released by Virgin Records this week. She’ll also perform for label staffers at Virgin h.q. Friday and will record new Christmas songs for a holiday platter … Valerie Harper makes her femcee bow June 25 at the Century Plaza where the American Friends of the Hebrew U. honor Vidal Sassoon for his lifetime fight to stop bigotry and anti-Semitism.

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