GOOD MORNING: The line king visits the lair of “The Lion King” Thursday. I’m talking about Al Hirschfeld, artist extraordinaire, who will appear in a Q&A before the Disney animators. He will be a treat, I can assure them after breakfasting with him — and his bride of four weeks, Louise, Tuesday at Le Parc hotel here in L.A. Hirschfeld says he was not aware that his inimitable style influenced the Disney depiction of its “Aladdin” character. He trained out from N.Y. — the 93-years-young caricaturist says he likes to fly but the doctor said it might injure his hearing — he’s here for tonight’s preem screening of “The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story” at the AMC Cecchi Gori Fine Arts. While here, he’ll also renew friendships with old pals Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon and Roddy McDowall. The Hirschfeld biopic by Susan W. Dryfoos (87 min.) chronicles his amazing career and life, in which he has depicted artists of stage, screen, radio and television. Even the U.S. Postal Service has utilized his talents for stamp caricatures of stars in movies — 20 in all, including Chaplin, Abbott & Costello, Jack Benny, etc. He insists his caricatures are not intended to make fun of anyone. “Michelangelo’s drawings were caricatures,” he reminds. His career in movies dates to his stand as David O Selznick’s very young art director. And he is as contemporary as the next B’way opening. He has already done the drawing for the soon-to-B’way bow “Once Upon a Mattress.” His career has taken him to each show’s out-of-town tryouts — from New Haven to Chicago. And he’s not satisfied with a drawing “until it’s in its simplest form — eliminate, eliminate.” He never plans to retire. “I envy people who can retire — 15 minutes is all I can retire on! After 70 years, the New York Times asked me to sign a contract.” He did — for a minimum of 28 drawings yearly. Of course, he also does private drawings — at $10,000 per. And has also drawn every President from FDR up to but not including Bill Clinton — yet. Two of the favorite ladies he has caricatured are Julie Andrews and Carol Channing throughout their B’way careers. He also encouraged Carol’s son Channing Lowe to pursue a cartooning career — he has become enormously successful. But Hirschfeld says young artists don’t really need encouragement. They have it in themselves. “And I certainly don’t have to encourage those at Disney — they’re all working!” … He doesn’t see many movies — “I used to be a movie buff, but today there’s too much violence and science-fiction” — but did catch “The Crucible” because of longtime friend Arthur Miller. But he does think movie “actors are much better today than they were in the days of the old star system” … When Disney opens its new Amsterdam Theater on 42nd Street with its legit “The Lion King,” the play will then truly be immortalized — by the art of “The Line King” — Al Hirschfeld.
I’M ONLY GOING TO DO GOOD THINGS from now on,” Woody Harrelson told me after the preem of “The People vs. Larry Flynt” at Mann’s Village theater Monday p.m. He showed at the party Flynt hosted at Mario’s Restaurant across the street from the theater. Woody said he felt justified in his Golden Gate climb to try and stop the destruction of thousand-year-old redwoods. While Woody made the rounds of the well-wishers in the eatery, Courtney Love and her mother-in-law Wendy O’Connor sat in a corner of the eatery along with Flynt and his entourage … Love had remained in the theater after the credits and had to be urged, by her press agent Pat Kingsley, to go out in the crowd to get the applause she deserved — and received. No doubt about it — she is a new, big movie star … Although besieged for pix on her arrival in the theater, Love said the movie preem crowd was tame compared to those at her concerts — and not nearly as noisy, natch. During the making of the film Love was tested weekly for drugs — of which she was clean. A bond was posted for her by director Milos Forman, the studio and Woody as well. They got it back on the pic’s completion, of course. Cast member Richard Paul, who plays (beautifully) Rev. Jerry Falwell in the pic, told me Love was totally cooperative throughout. Flynt attorney Alan Isaacman, portrayed in the film by Edward Norton, was on hand and confirmed to me the that scene in the Supreme Court where he defended Flynt (successfully) was accurate down to the quotes from the justices and even their likenesses. However, the film faulted when it had Isaacson shot alongside Flynt — it was Larry’s previous attorney who was hit — and who later quit. Isaacson also just represented Geraldo Rivera (successfully) in a suit filed against him by Sonny Gibson … Coincidentally, Hugh Hefner just received the Intl. Publishing Award from the Intl. Press Directory in London as “a man who has profoundly influenced not just publishing but society in the second half of the 20th century.” Hefner declined winging to London for the award — as he was delivering his annual speech to the USCinema-TV students taking a course in censorship he endowed four years ago … Another champion vs. censorship, Mort Sahl, who bows tonight at the Tiffany through New Year’s Eve, has invited Charlton Heston to join him onstage for a coupla nights. Heston has agreed. This I gotta see.