O.J. book collaborator may be called to court

GOOD MORNING: Producer/director/photojournalist/etc. Lawrence Schiller, who is collaborating with O.J. Simpson on the latter’s book “I Want to Tell You” (Little Brown), could be called as a material witness in the upcoming trial. Thus the reason for his first visit to see the accused, Simpson, on Halloween and continued visits, according to records, up to and including Thursday. Their association dates back to Simpson’s graduation from USC, and continued to 1976 — pre-Brentwood days — when Schiller’s daughter Suzanne babysat for Simpson’s older children. And thus the possibility of Schiller’s testimony regarding his knowledge of spousal abuse: if there was any and if he knew about same. Schiller’s association with Robert Kardashian originated when Schiller produced musicvideos for Kardashian’s company. After the renewal of friendships, Kardashian asked Schiller to do some “interviews” with Simpson; they led to the book. He wrote it in eight weeks. In the book, Simpson claims his innocence, discusses it at length. “This was a business decision,” Schiller reminds. “It had nothing to do with any of his (Simpson’s) criminal attorneys including Bob Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, etc.” Does Schiller have movie/TV rights? “My interest is in preserving history and everything was done within the law,” sezze, “and if there is a movie in it — a movie will come.” He says when this is all over, “I’ve got to get back into the movie business.” Projects include “Chernobyl” on the 10th anniversary of the catastrophe next year. J.P. Miller is scripting. Also, “A Place for Noah,” by Robert Anderson and scripted by Josh Greenfield. In May, Random House publishes Norman Mailer’s “Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery,” for which Schiller and Mailer collaborated a fourth time. They were in Russia for a year getting KGB files and interviews. Another teaming was on Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song” for which Schiller conducted all interviews with death row inmate Gary Gilmore and Larry produced-directed the Emmy-winning TV’er starring Tommy Lee Jones. “Larry is a helluva good interviewer,” Mailer told me. “We worked together very well as a team. And I’ve enjoyed working with him. But I have no participation in this (O.J.) book.” Mailer’s working on his next, “Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man” (Atlantic Grove) … Add trial news: I reported Roger Williams offered to perform a private concert for sequestered jurors and Judge Ito has now accepted the offer, writing to Williams, “On a personal note, I am a great fan of yours and look forward to attending the concert along with the jurors.”

MALIBU SHOWBIZ RESIDENTS were stranded at home, unable to get to work. Among ’em was Dick Van Dyke, star of “Diagnosis Murder,” whose Sierra Retreat home barely escaped the last Malibu fire when flames literally were licking at his door … Ron Meyer had to do his CAA dealings on the phone from his Malibu home as mudslides blocked the highway. Bob Radnitz, who was able to get in from his beach home in the ayem, was then unable to return later in the day … Pacific Palisades residents were powerless much of the day … Gil Cates, who has enough headaches these days, found himself on the seventh floor of the Academy HQ in BevHills when power failed and he joined the group groping their way down the stairs … Only the brave ventured forth Tuesday night to Par and the preem party for the two-hour “Star Trek; Voyager,” which launches on the United Par Network Monday — here on KCOP, 9 p.m. weekly. Astronaut Sally Ride was invited to be toasted and to well-wish Kate Mulgrew, the first femme “Star Trek” captain. Exec producer Rick Berman says Kate “is wonderful, remarkable. And the cast has melded into one in just three short months — normally it takes years.” Asked whether Kate (Capt. Janeway) will have an outer-space romance, he said, “There’ll be an inkling of it in the eighth episode.” Stay tuned — and he’s sure the faithful Trekkies will stay tuned. “‘Star Trek’ always holds its audiences,” he says confidently of the airing on the new net.

A GREAT MEETING WAS HELD at CBS between producer Gary Smith and CBS VP Chuck Segers plus the net’s Randy Haberkamp, discussing “Jerusalem 2000” and upcoming Tonys. BUT — it was all a ruse. Fred Rappoport arranged the phony meeting to keep Smith occupied while his wife, Maxine, and 65 pals gathered at the Smith house to surprise him on his 60th birthday. “You mean it (the deal) was all fake?” Smith asked when he arrived after the meeting. Yup. The night was filled with love and laughter for Smith as pals entertained him. Gail Purse arranged the program, which was background-musicked by Young Musicians Foundation players. (Smith supports the YMF.) … Steve Tisch and Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter will once again host their Oscar party at Morton’s.

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