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O’Donnell expedites adoption for friend

GOOD MORNING: “My whole life has changed — thanks to Rosie O’Donnell,” Kate Jackson told me. Jackson got final adoption papers Thursday for son Taylor, now 8 months old. Jackson says O’Donnell hooked her up with the proper agency to become a single parent, as she’d done. Jackson got the baby when he was just 2 hours old. “Rosie put me in touch with the right people,” said Jackson, and since then, “I’ve become a different person: I never knew I could be so patient. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.” Kate got another clean bill of health this week on her heart surgery of two years ago (she now runs five miles) and an OK on her cancer surgery of eight years ago. She is going back to work. Jackson’s with the William Morris office and “my long-term plan,” she says, “is to return to half-hour series.” She co-starred with Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett in “Charlie’s Angels” 20 years ago; Smith is godmother to Jackson’s son and Kate is godmother to Smith’s daughter. Of course, Kate would like to talk with her old boss, Aaron Spelling, about her healthy return to work … Racist Byron De La Beckwith is not only being portrayed by James Woods in Castle Rock’s “Ghosts of Mississippi,” but he’s also the inspiration for Kiefer Sutherland’s role in WB’s “A Time to Kill.” Sutherland tells me he saw an HBO De La Beckwith docu and patterns his Ku Klux Klan member role on him. “He is the embodiment of racism. And I did it so people would hopefully alter their way of life in respect to hate after seeing how despicable he is.” Young Sutherland, who varies his roles from heroic to heavy, admits, “I’m trying to emulate my dad (Donald), who does it so beautifully.” Of course he would also like to appear with his dad in a film. Kiefer just completed directing his first feature, Triumph’s $8.5 million “Truth or Consequences” No, it’s not about the gameshow; it’s a chase drama in which Sutherland’s again a heavy, “but a little more humorous heavy in this one.” He directs Kim Dickens, Mykelti Williamson, Martin Sheen, Rod Steiger, Kevin Pollak, Grace Phillips and James McDaniel … But Kiefer wouldn’t think of directing his dad! Kiefer’s personal life is also happy these days: he’s planning a late June wedding with Kelly Wynn, a non-pro.

“BIG WEDNESDAY,” JOHN MILIUS’ 1978 surfing film, is being readied for the small screen. Milius would direct the pilot for producer David M. Krieff. The feature starred William Katt, his mother Barbara Hale, Jan Michael Vincent, Gary Busey. Sez producer Krieff, “Whereas ‘Baywatch’ utilizes the ocean as a playground, ‘Big Wednesday: The Legend Continues’ utilizes the ocean as a metaphor — but there will still be babes and hunks!”… Faye Dunaway, who was on hand at the WB museum bow (“Bonnie and Clyde”), heads to London on request of Diana Rigg to join her in “Rebecca.” Dunaway has “The Chamber” and “Twilight of the Golds” in the can here … Hollywood Pictures’ “The Associate” got great test reaction and will now go out Sept. 27 instead of late winter. Tim Daly, who co-stars in the comedy with Whoopi Goldberg, is now at the Sundance Institute’s Filmmakers Lab along with such fellow participants as Sally Field, Martha Plimpton, Frank Oz, Richard Benjamin and Jon Avnet … Writer Stephanie Liss’ “Badge of Betrayal” is greenlighted at ABC-TV with Harry Hamlin to star. Liss will also script “Courage Under Fire: The Karen Sorlucco Story” about a N.Y. female cop who was raped by a squad member, then fired after reporting him. Liss also wrote Lifetime’s “For the Children — The Irvine Fertility Scandal,” starring Marilu Henner and Linda Lavin … Author Gwen Davis completed her novel about Hollywood, “Paradise West” in Bali at the fabled Oberoi Hotel, where she says she was so inspired, she wrote 150 pages in 10 days!

MAX VON SYDOW WAS ELECTED president of the international jury for the Prague Intl. Film Festival June 19-29. Max has moved south from Scandinavia and now headquarters in Provence, but is talking a French-Swedish pic production … Hugh Grant m.c.’s the BAFTA L.A. Britannia Award to Miramax’s Bob and Harvey Weinstein, June 26 at the BevWilshire. Grant starred in Miramax’s “Sirens,” “The Englishman who Went Up a Hill …” and “Restoration”… Rod Steiger and Diane Ladd are honored at the Florida Film Fest this week … Gold Marshak Liedtke signed Pam Grier, Ed McMahon, Sandra Bernhard, David Warner and Roger Daltrey … The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors has volunteered to get the “proliferation of the producer credit” settled. The nets, production companies and the PGA — which is willing to act as arbiter — want it to happen as well. Caucus chair Bill Blinn has called the leadership of TV/cable nets to meet … Edie and Lew Wasserman, Suzanne Pleshette and Tommy Gallagher were a foursome at Dan Tana’s. Also there, Cookie and Magic Johnson, Tyne Daly and Clarence Williams III … Le Cirque closes its 65th Street elegant eatery June 29 — moves to the Palace hotel Madison Ave. site by year’s end.

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