Nicholson won’t be billed as ‘Evening’ star

GOOD MORNING: Jack Nicholson starts his four-day role in “Evening Star” Wednesday — choosing billing appropriate to the size of his role. Only last week, Nicholson wound his “Blood and Wine” starrer with Michael Caine; Jack’s last scene was in Florida waters, which he admits “were kinda chilly.” Next, Nicholson takes on two roles in pal Tim Burton’s “Mars Attack”– he plays the President of the U.S. and a Vegas hustler … Blake Edwards, basking in the success of “Victor/Victoria,” is noodling two other B’way musicals: one based on the Trilby-Svengali saga, the other a modern musical, “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” based on Gershwin music. Edwards and producer Tony Adams are also planning a one-nighter on a Monday, “Mancini Broadway,” with stars singing Hank’s hit tunes to benefit the AIDS charity Broadway Cares. Of course one of the stars participating will be Julie Andrews, singing two tunes from “V/V.” On Friday, Julie joins her cast in post-show stage and audience appearances to sell special , limited edition souvenir items to benefit B’way Cares … Today’s the day for the first read-through of the CBS pilot of “Network”; among names being mentioned for lead roles are Jamie Lee Curtis for the role that won Faye Dunaway her Oscar, and Tom Selleck for the Bill Holden (Oscar-nomination) role. Exec producer Larry Gelbart does the TV script; Paddy Chayefsky won the Oscar for the original screenplay. The Oscar-winning (posthumously) role by Peter Finch will only be seen occasionally in the TV’er. And Walter Cronkite will be paged to narrate. Gelbart tackles other media bosses in HBO’s “Weapons of Mass Distraction.” Larry and Pat Gelbart’s son Adam Gelbart, a special effects specialist, weds non-pro Nicole Dehne April 6 at the family BevHills home.

“THIS IS THE STORY THEY (Dept. of Defense) didn’t want made.” “Courage Under Fire” is now in the can and producer John Davis tells me, “This story’s about truth and they tried very hard to discourage us from doing it. It’s the story of friendly fire. At one point we had cooperation but then they (DofD) sent us notes asking us ‘in any positive light to relieve them of culpability.’ They wouldn’t give us any tanks, planes, and in effect tried to censor us.” Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan star in the Gulf War story directed by Ed Zwick. David Friendly and Joe Singer also produce. I asked Davis how do you sell a movie about friendly fire deaths? “As another meaningful picture,” he said.”There is a message to tell the truth here.” When the company was unable to get the armament, they bought 12 U.S. tanks in Australia and brought ’em to the Texas location. Luckily they’ve been able to sell them again to future war filmmakers, who also may not be able to get DofD assists. Marvin Davis wanted one of the tanks, laughed John Davis. No, Marvin doesn’t plan to make any movies these days — he’s busy in his successful oil biz, plus building gaming casinos in Missouri, etc. … Also this month in Playboy, “The Curse of Desert Storm,” by Kate McKenna, tells of the plight of our Desert Storm soldiers now suffering from the “Gulf War Syndrome” plus other after-effects from Saddam Hussein’s diabolical war machinery “that military and civilian scientists are only beginning to understand,” sez McKenna. As always, “the first casualty of war is — truth”… The Navy Memorial Foundation honors Bob Hope, Kathryn Sullivan and Richard Nixon Feb. 24 at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda … Once again George Kennedy finds himself in an airport — this time as a guestar in “Wings.” He’s a fan of the series, sat with a Par audience to view a taping, was spotted, natch, and is now written into the seg taping Wednesday. He plays himself.

SURVIVORS OF “WAR STORIES Our Mothers Never Told Us” wing in from their homes in New Zealand for Sunday’s Associates of the American Film Institute screening. Six of the seven women (one has since died) will be on hand, along with New Zealand director Gaylene Preston at Consul General Terry Baker’s residence for a q&a as well after the dinner and screening. Chairs Helen Tobias and Ethelda Singer tell me a few ducats are still available for the unique evening … And the Women’s Guild of Cedars-Sinai, which has raised over $11 million via its movie premieres, goes a new fundraising route this year on May 16 as they host the bow of the L.A. Antiques Show, L.A.’S first international fair at the Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar … Dana Miller and Fred Rosen set Janet Jackson to tape psa’s for AIDS Project LA’s AIDS Dance-A-Thon, April 27 with a private night at Universal Studio Hollywood’s tour deck … Jackie Mason sings (wasn’t he once a cantor?) — this time in his new “Love Thy Neighbor” show bowing at the Booth on B’way March 20. He’ll be backed by the Harlem Boys Choir (on video tape) … It’s the Chinese New Year 4694, The Year of the Rat, and Madame Wu’s got her dragons parading between courses of Peking Duck this week at her eatery … Another LAndmark bites the dust: Emilio’s closes April 30 after a 30-year stand in Hollywood — pasta la vista.