Sinatra family goes online

GOOD MORNING: Frank Sinatra told daughter Nancy Jr. he misses those personal contacts with everyone. So, she started a web site for him — http://www.sinatrafamily.com— and over 12,000 have already responded with questions, stories, reminiscences, etc. “It picked up his spirits a lot,” reports Nancy. No, Frank, isn’t sitting in front of a computer and logging himself in: Nancy says she goes over to his house with her power book and shows him what’s being said and then inputs his responses. Nancy says Frank’s wife Barbara will be getting a computer at the house, where she can also link up with her Children’s Center. Nancy allows, “People know that he’s now really retired, but their (continued) interest has picked up his spirit. And if he gets stronger (following the last hospital stay), perhaps he’ll even record again.” Nancy is planning to return to touring next year, but now, she’s occupied with the Sinatra Family Album on the web. “Each member has (her) own page,” she adds. “And we will make (the web site) an ‘extended family,’ where those who log in can also send in their pictures so dad can see who’s writing.” She admits some of the material coming in is amazing — both the information given as well as the questions asked of him! Frank has moved back to BevHills from the beach house where he was plagued by paparazzi, Nancy reports. “They kept him from taking walks on the beach and waited with telescopic lenses.” But she admits it is hopeless. “Even when they can’t get pictures, they create computerized photos, like the recent one of him supposedly lying on his deathbed with us at his side! Legislation protecting privacy, as well as preventing music bootlegging, is necessary.”

MARLON BRANDO IS VIEWING IT as “a comeback” role: his part as a prison warden and father of twin teenage girls in “Free Money.” Exec producer and co-scripter Anthony Peck describes the movie “not as a black comedy, but rather a bleak comedy. And not as a western but rather a mid-western.” Peck and partner and co-exec producer Joseph Brutsman are already talking a second picture with Filmline, “Undesirable,” also a black (bleak?) comedy. They also have a script, “Dr. Demott,” under development with Martin Scorsese to direct Gregory Peck (Anthony’s dad). It’s inspired by “Wild Strawberries.” “Free Money” is budgeted at $30 million — $3 million of which go to Brando for four weeks work. Alec Baldwin is being paged to cameo in the cast, which already includes Charlie Sheen, Thomas Haden Church, Donald Sutherland and Mira Sorvino. Nicolas Clermont is producing, Yves Simoneau directing … John Cusack, who just co-starred for Clint Eastwood in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” has agreed to narrate “Eastwood on Eastwood” for TNT, airing Nov. 2. Clint filmed appearances to be shown between film clips in the 90-min. special produced, written and directed by Richard Schickel. Eastwood appeared on his spec, “Gary Cooper: American Life: American Legend” … James Horner, who did the giant “Titanic” score, now dittoes of “The Mask of Zorro.” He’ll record in London with a symphony orch that will include top musicians from Spain to add torrid flavor to “Zorro,” which stars Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas … Auditions will be held Oct. 29 at the Laugh Factory for the 16th Media Access Awards’ first Norman G. Brooks/Geri Jewell Grant award to a comedian/comedienne with a disability. The Media Access Awards were started in 1978 by Fern Field and her late husband to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The awards will be held Jan. 28 at the BevHilton. Field’s currently director of original programming for the Sci-Fi Channel and the USA Network, where she’s supervising the second season of “La Femme Nikita” in Toronto.

DUSTIN HOFFMAN CHOSE the Jonsson Cancer Research Center and BAFTA-LA’s scholarship fund as recipients of BAFTA-LA’s most successful fund-raiser: the Britannia Award gala Wednesday at the BevWilshire honoring Hoffman. The talent ranged from m.c. Billy Connolly, who was cheered as he demonstrated his standup talent, which is a strong contrast to his current dramatic performance in “Mrs. Brown.” Tony Bennett blew away the room with his generous performance ranging from his salute to Fred Astaire musicals plus songs of great femmes like “Over the Rainbow” and “People.” The BAFTA event was an appropriate evening for Bennett as he leaves for London to appear at the Royal Albert Hall. On hand were Hoffman co-stars Warren Beatty, Jon Voight, Geena Davis, Rene Russo and John Travolta, who presented the award with helmer Barry Levinson. Hoffman kidded his own reputation and called himself “the designated hitter.” He allowed the evening was so warm and touching, he wished it had been given for someone other than himself … “All in the Family’s” Jean Stapleton and “In the Heat of the Night’s” Denise Nicholas joined the standing ovation at SanFran’s “Theatre on the Square” for Carroll O’Connor’s play, “A Certain Labor Day.”

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