GOOD MORNING: George C. Scott’s phone was sizzling with congratulatory calls Monday, following Sunday’s Showtime airing of “12 Angry Men.” I too called George to applaud him — but to also confirm that he bowed out of co-starring with Carroll O’Connor in the latter’s play, “A Certain Labor Day,” because of impending heart surgery. Scott did not attend the gala preem of “Angry Men” at the Academy; on that day, he sadly told Carroll he was bowing out of O’Connor’s show, due to bow Sept. 24 in SanFran. Scott told me, “My doctor asked me not to do the play; the strain would be too much for me.” However, he said there is no surgery planned or anticipated. He took an early exit from B’way’s “Inherit the Wind” in May 1996 when suffering from an aortic aneurysm. On May 8 last year, Daily Variety also reported Scott’s Malibu physician, Dr. Jess Harris, had stated that an appearance by Scott for a deposition in a sexual harassment suit could produce “stress and anxiety (which) could cause the actor’s aneurysm to burst.” Watching Scott in his inimitable, emotion-charged scenes in “12 Angry Men” made you wonder how anyone with a heart problem could have survived that kind of powerful delivery! But, he sounded his usual strong Scott-ish self Monday. And his manager Hank Levine insisted while Scott would not tackle the stage, he is indeed going to accept the many film offers that have come in. What about O’Connor and his play? He’s replaced Scott with “All in the Family” regular Eugene Roche (who also co-starred in “Executive Decision” and “When a Man Loves a Woman,” well as the “Webster,” “Soap” and “Magnum P.I.” series. … On the recovery list in Richard Crenna, who has returned to work with his voice fully restored after six months of treatment. He leaves today for Vancouver to co-star with Leslie Nielsen in Pat Proft’s “Wrongfully Accused.” It’s a spoof of “The Fugitive,” with Nielsen a la Harrison Ford, Crenna as a Tommy Lee Jones-ish character. Kelly Le Brock plays the femme fatale, and Michael York an English diplomat. Proof of Crenna’s complete recovery: before winging north for the feature, he did a voiceover commercial for Deloitte & Touche — who had specifically waited to utilize his recognizable, convincing, stentorian tones.
THE BELLS WEREN’T RINGING for Patti LaBelle Saturday night, in the second perf of her three-night stand as guest soloist at the Hollywood Bowl. When she came on stage after a prolonged wait, she berated the Bowl, complaining of Friday night’s problems and its treatment (?) of her. The audience was surprised at her personal remarks — one of which was, “I will not be treated like Kunta Kinte’s wife.” She read lyrics of two of the numbers in her program — as she had the night before. Calls to LaBelle, her manager and her publicist went unanswered. But Bowl execs issued a statement noting they were “disappointed that Patti LaBelle felt that the Bowl was unable to fulfill all her needs. The Bowl endeavored to work with Ms. LaBelle and her staff in order to accommodate her wishes as best it could within the confines of the rules and regulations stipulated by the County of L.A.” … Meanwhile, Memphis is still rocking from the Elvis Presley concert during which a video was shown with Lisa Marie Presley “duetting” with Elvis on “Don’t Cry Daddy” — much as Natalie Cole has done so successfully with her daddy Nat King Cole on “Unforgettable.” Stig Edgren, who put together the Presleys’ tape (on a rush order!), also edited the unforgettable Nat Cole tape for Natalie in her “live” daddy duets on stage and TV. It’s always a show-stopper. While Priscilla made opening thank you remarks to the concertgoers and brought her daughter on stage, Lisa (as usual) made minimum remarks, and let the tape speak for her. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. And Priscilla ran the tape a second time for the crowd of 9,000! All were searched for videocameras before entering the arena to prevent pirate-tapes. Will the tape of the Presleys’ duet be available — for $ale — to the million$of international Elvis fans? Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, answers, “There are no plans as of now.” There’s the question of rights: RCA owns the master while others own the footage of Elvis singing on the video, recorded at the Las Vegas Hilton, etc. There could (should?) be enough money for all.
KAY STARR CELEBRATES her 50th anni at her Cinegrill bow tonight. On hand to toast her is Nellie Lutcher, also celebrating her golden singing anni. … Buddy Rogers, who starred in the first Oscar-winning (May 16, 1929) movie, “Wings,” celebrated his 92nd birthday Aug. 13 at home with friends, including June Haver, the A.C. Lyles, Peter Marshalls, Susan Stafford. … At Steve and Eydie Gorme’s Cerritos Arts Center weekend shows, Bob and Ginny Newhart chartered a bus, brought along pals Tim Conway, Dick Martin, Mike Connors, Barbara Sinatra and Dick Van Dyke. Others on hand included Edie and Lew Wasserman, Michael Feinstein, Jan Murray and Red Buttons.