‘Rich’ keeps its star looking young

GOOD MORNING: “Sabrina” gets a remake at Paramount, and look for Harrison Ford to star … Time — and height — wait for no man, including 13-year-old Macaulay Culkin. So how do they keep Mac looking smaller for his latest outing, “Richie Rich”? Easy, says his movie mom, Christine Ebersole, “All the rest of us are tall — I’m 5 feet 10.” Edward Herrmann, who plays his father, is well over 6 feet, and so is John Larroquette, who plays the villain, Van Dough. The Warner Bros. pic is filming in Biltmore House, the Vanderbilt mansion near Asheville, N.C. The place is so huge, Ebersole reports, “the driveway is seven miles long.” Herrmann plays the world’s richest man. How rich? Likenesses of Culkin and his movie mom and dad are sculpted on “Mount Richmore.” The movie, directed by Donald Petrie for producers Joel Silver and John Davis, will be action-packed — including a chase around Mount Richmore and the bombing of a plane from which Ebersole and Herrmann parachute to a desert island, where computer wiz Richie tracks ’em down. Movie “Richie” is a wonderful kid (for which Mac reportedly gets $ 10 million-plus), and he’s just as nice offscreen, reports his movie mom. Culkin’s dad, Kit, is, of course, on the set, and Ebersole and Culkin Sr. discovered they had at least one thing in common: Richard Burton. She starred with the late Welsh actor in “Camelot,” and Kit appeared with him in “Hamlet”…”An Evening at the Improv” was picked up by A&E for 45 new shows — for a total of 400! And June 21, Budd Friedman and Mark Lonow open their 13th Improv — this one in the Condado Plaza hotel in Puerto Rico … Phil Hartman is departing “Saturday Night Live” after eight seasons to launch a movie career — and mebbe his own series. He joins Sinbad in “Houseguest” for Caravan/Disney … And “SNL’s” David Spade joins Chris Farley and Rob Lowe in “Billy the Third” at Par.

LATEST MERGER/TAKEOVER FOR Dove Audio is Prentice-Hall Audio. Michael Viner’s and wife Deborah Raffin’s Dove has also entered a co-venture with Kiplinger for business tapes. Raffin just recorded Robin Williams and Meryl Streep for Dove’s giant celeb tape of poems and stories by Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang campers — all proceeds go to the camp. The Viners were honored Thursday night at the Beverly Wilshire with the Portals award for their contributions “to improve the human spirit.” And this week, Chesebrough-Pond’s Faberge National Hero Awards nominated Raffin in the business group with these four other candidates: Barry Diller, Suzanne De Passe, John Paul Jones Dejrla and Dave Thomas … Barbara Bain, a founder/creator of SAG’s BookPALS, travels weekly to a South Central L.A. (111th and Wilmington) elementary school to read to youngsters. “Every time I ask for volunteers” from SAG, she says, “the response is enormous.” Bain, longtime star of “Mission Impossible,” is back on the TV front again with ABC’s new series “My So-Called Life” from Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz … Midway through Thursday ayem’s HBO press confab here for “White Mile,” Alan Alda got a call from N.Y. telling him he’d become a grandfather for the third time. Alan headed straight to LAX, flew home to be with daughter Beatrice and his new granddaughter, Isabel … Maximilian Schell’s wife, Natasha Andreichenko, Russia’s leading actress for the past decade, stars with Corbin Bernsen in Hess/Kallberg’s “Nightwatch” for Trimark.

AMONG THE 2,000 TRANSPLANT RECIPIENTS at UCLA’s reunion picnic Sunday will be Jim Nabors, who received a liver transplant there. He’s skedded to sing a song of thanks to the Medical Center … After a 10-year run, the Columbia Bar & Grill at Sunset & Gower closes after tonight. The classy eatery is owned by Wayne Rogers, Harvey Pool, Paul Witt, Tony Thomas, Susan Harris and Jason Kane. Their successful Pasadena branch of the Columbia Bar & Grill remains open … It was standing ovation time for Cloris Leachman and co-star Craig R. Nelson in the Wednesday bow of “Joy Ride: The True Story of Grandma Moses” at the Westwood Playhouse … The cast of “Sunset Boulevard” at the Shubert raised $ 30,000 for Genesis I, Pilot Dome Village for homeless, from sales of autographed posters … Walter Cronkite m.c.’s the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Awards at the Waldorf. The Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation is the beneficiary … Betsy Palmer is honored as Woman of the Year by Wise Senior Services, Saturday night at the BevWilshire … Phoenix House saluted John and Marion Anderson for public service (he contributed $ 15 million to UCLA). The BevWilshire dinner raised $ 250,000 … Lester Lanin was honored by the Orchestra Leaders’ Assn. with their first annual “Golden Baton” award. Lanin (80 years-plus) has been baton’ing since he was 15.

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