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Lemmon still waiting for ‘Odd’ dollars

GOOD MORNING: “And they still owe me money,” said Jack Lemmon. It’s 30 years since “The Odd Couple” filmed on the same stage at Paramount where they are now shooting “The Odd Couple II — Travelin’ Light.” Lemmon volunteered that info when he, Walter Matthau, Neil Simon and I were discussing the relative costs of the two pix. And Matthau reminded that he got $300,000 for his role in the original Howard W. Koch production, and Lemmon got $1.1 million plus 10% of the gross. Whereupon “Odd Couple(s)” playwright and screenwriter Simon expressed surprise: “And you had a percentage of the gross and they still owe you money?” “It’s over some of the TV sales,” Lemmon said. “The only way you’ll get it is to keep demanding it,” Simon advised, sounding like a man who knows how to get what’s coming to him! We reminisced about the making of the original “Odd Couple,” which was delayed when Matthau fell off his bike while riding on Pacific Coast Highway and broke his arm. He arrived at the Academy Awards — to receive his Supporting Actor Oscar for “The Fortune Cookie” with his arm in a cast. He asked me not to reveal the broken arm when introducing him outside the Oscars site, the Santa Monica Civic; he didn’t want his mother to know he was riding his bike on the highway! (Of course millions of viewers saw the cast!) Walter then worked in the pic with a “soft cast” on his arm. And Monday, Lemmon told me he had been taken to the Cedars-Sinai emergency room last week when a piece of steak became lodged in his esophagus! Attempts with the Heimlich maneuver weren’t successful for this kind of blockage. He was unable to swallow even his saliva. A specialist was called in at the hospital for the emergency procedure. Lemmon was given two days to recupe. Simon congratulated Lemmon on his “12 Angry Men” performance — and revealed it was “Men” screenwriter Reginald Rose who gave him his first playwrighting pointers when Simon was writing his first B’way play, “Come Blow Your Horn.” On Monday, I found Lemmon, Matthau and Simon in fine fettle — although the two thesps were covered from head to toe with “dust” having been sprayed by a crop-dusting plane, following which their car crashed, after which they were picked up by a truck carrying illegal aliens, after which they were arrested. And all on the way to the wedding of their respective son and daughter in San Malina (?), Calif., having been dropped off five hours away in the town of Santa Menendez (no kidding!) and having traveled through the Simon-created towns of San Cantina and San Patina. And there’s other celeb-monickered towns also in this final (?) teaming of the duo. There’ll be no “Grumpiest Old Men,” director Howard Deutch and producer Robert Cort confirmed. Nevertheless, Sophia Loren visited her “Grumpier” costars on a location shooting next door to her Hidden Valley ranch. … Neither Matthau nor Lemmon seemed to mind that they weren’t bouncing into another film immediately. Lemmon is committed to the CBS-Hallmark “Against the Wind” (gets a new title) for producer Larry Turman and director Glenn Jordan. After that he wants to direct his son Chris’ feature, “Publicity Stunt.” He was delighted with its theme: an actor murdering his agent! Matthau said he next plans to do “Macbeth” — in the nude — in a small Melrose theater. (He hasn’t lost his sensahuma, as you can see). Simon continues to work days setsiding the movie, and nights, in the theater honing his “Proposals” in its last week here pre-eastern trek en route to B’way. Jean Smart, who costarred in Simon’s “Promises(2)” at UCLA, and Christine Baranski, in the same role when it played N.Y., duet in a scene for the “Odd II ” movie. Deutch is next prepping “Rogues” — about two Harvard students in the pre-Revolutionary War days!

JANE SEYMOUR’S ILLNESS was more serious than first diagnosed, her husband James Keach reports from the Puerto Rico location of their feature, “The Swiss Family Robinson.” He says the original Dengue-1 Fever diagnosis was incorrect. Two medics sent by Puerto Rico’s Minister of Tourism sent her blood samples to the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control where it was determined she had Leptos Spirosis, caused from animal feces-infected water! The antibiotics prescribed kicked in and she may be back at work as early as today! Costar David Carradine’s girlfriend Marina Anderson, returned from visiting him on location, said the night she left the movie, Seymour had a 104-degree temperature. During the break in filming the pic, Carradine and Anderson did a scene here for “Drop Dead” for Regent. … Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman got a week off Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” — they also had five weeks off last Christmas, three during the spring. Nicole’s now doing press for “The Peacemaker.” The Cruises also attended Jane and Terry Semel’s 20th wedding anni party at the Bruce Willis-Demi Moore house, where 20 Murray Korda fiddles serenaded as fireworks exploded and a blimp and plane flew messages overhead. … Drai’s Cafe shuttered but Drai’s La Cienega eatery continues to pack ’em in nightly.

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