Edwards gets memorial tribute at Emmys

GOOD MORNING and good luck Emmy nominees and, of course, happy 50th anni to the TV Academy. Here’s some extra drama before the show. As always an emotional seg of the Emmys and the Oscars is the “Memorial” clip for TV titans who died in the previous year. Among the names to be included in Mike Shapiro’s 1 minute and 50 seconds tribute is Vince Edwards. While the memorial seg was being readied, Emmy producer Al Schwartz’s assistant, Nicole Nadolenco asked to be excused and didn’t want to view it — she’s Vince’s daughter, by Edwards’ second wife, Linda Winters. “I had to leave the room,” she told me. ‘It was so strange for me to be working on it.” I also received a call from Edwards’ widow (and fourth wife) Janet Edwards who said she didn’t know about the tribute seg until called by a member of Dick Clark’s staff asking for info about Edwards. Janet said she asked for a ticket to be there when the final tribute to him (and the others) is shown. Janet wrote/spoke to all parties, from the Clark office to the Acad and was turned down with explanations of the cost of the tickets and the fact they were already sold out. She said to Clark, “It doesn’t matter that the segment honoring my husband is very brief. What does matter is my husband is being honored and I, as his wife and widow was not invited to be there in his honor.” The others in the ‘memorial’ are: Audrey Meadows, Herb Edelman, John Chancellor, Ella Fitzgerald, McLean Stevenson, David Opatoshu, Gene Kelly, Greg Morris, Dean Martin, Erma Bombeck, Jack Weston, Martin Balsam and George Burns. As Shapiro said, “They are like members of our family we grew up with them. It’s our last ‘official’ goodbye.” Meanwhile, Janet Edwards is fulfilling Vince’s last request to complete his book, “Easy, the Hard Way — The Reel to Real Story,” setting the story straight on his life and how she got Vince to conquer his addiction to gambling, which at one point in their four-year romance, had her take him to court for gambling debts owed her they got married immediately after she won the court battle! And were wed a year and four months when he died. Mike Hamilburg’s handling the book deal and she says Herman Rush wants to do the biopic Other “tributes” to the Acad’s 50th prepped by Mike Shapiro for Sunday’s Emmy 48th Primetime Emmy Awards include: the opening Great TV Themes montage with Tom Scott’s orch, TV’s Greatest Prime Time Moments, hosted by Oprah Winfrey , the evolution of family shows hosted by Michael J. Fox, Carol Burnett hosting the tribute to one of the most indispensable characters in sticom history The Door! The Steve Allen family is well-repped at the Emmys: he’s a presenter of the writing awards, wife Jayne Meadows is nominee for supporting actress in “High Society” and son Bill Allen is chairman of the Saturday p.m. Emmys.

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MAKING HIS FEATURE DIRECTING DEBUT is actor Jim Brolin. Now, before you start making smart alec remarks about who inspired him to direct, it’s only fair to remind you the 56-year-old Brolin has been in the biz 30 years in both big and small screen (won an Emmy) and has also directed several Emmy shows. The feature bow is “Brothers in Arms,” for Concord/New Horizons/Saban. Roger Corman and Lance Robbins are exec producers. The pic starts Nov. 11 in Galway, Ireland, with Brolin also starring as a CIA agent. Among others who made their directorial bows with Corman: Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, etc. Brolin’s longtime manager Jeff Wald represented him in the dual “Brothers” feature deal. And that smiling picture of Brolin and Barbra confirming our story (Daily Variety, Aug. 20) noting he was her “steady fella” was lensed by Deborah (Mrs. Jeff) Wald.

HURRICANE FRAN FORCED the Hallmark Hall of Fame CBS “Summer of Ben Tyler” troupe to shut down production in Wilmington, N.C. Director Arthur Allan Seidelman sez they’ll shoot weekends to get back on sked and to complete Jim Woods’ role in time for his next pic .weather permitting, natch. Seidelman called me Thursday night from the evacuation base in Raleigh, N.C. Police told ’em to shut down and he knows parts of their set built in Burgaw, N.C.will be destroyed by the storm.The cast also includes James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, and Millie Perkins The L.A. Opera’s 11th season opening, “Pagliacci,” starring Placido Domingo and directed/set designed by Franco Zeffirelli, a sellout, brought out an applauding SRO crowd which stayed until early morning for the party following on the Music Center Plaza with Zeffirelli himself, dancing until 30 ayem and Domingo surrounded all night by admirers with congrats. Among those on hand for the contemporary version of Leoncavallo’s chef d’oeuvre were Kirk and Anne Douglas, he left after the opera, she stayed for the party at a table including Barbara and Marvin Davis, Pierce Brosnan and very expectant Keely Shaye-Smith, Jodie Foster, Olivia Hussey (starred in Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet”), Natalie Cole, Drew Barrymore, John Lithgow, Jacqueline Bisset, Theo Bikel and Victoria Tenant, and Sharon Lawrence (“NYPD Blue”) who once danced on the Music Center’s Chandler Stage. Mary Hayley and Selim K. Zilkha chaired and Barbara Plasecks Johnson underwrote the production.