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Prez lets H’w’d off the hook, targets guns

GOOD MORNING: Consensus of those who talked with President Clinton following his speech last Saturday night at Greystone: he is more circumspect about the power of showbiz on young Americans and he’s more positive about gunpowder’s toll. Talking to some of those on hand for the Spielberg, Katzenberg, Geffen-hosted Demo fundraiser, he made it clear that the prime issue is guns. David Geffen was forthright in expressing the direction the government should be taking — more gun controls. Clinton had stopped pre-Greystone to visit Edie (Mrs. Lew) Wasserman at home where she is recuping post- knee surgery. The President then continued to the Greystone party accompanied by Lew W. (Greystone is around the corner from the Wassermans’). While Lew will not discuss the private discussion he had with the President, there is no question about Wasserman’s feelings about the need for tighter gun controls … The President was also assured of continued support from this same (DreamWorks) group in the upcoming Presidential campaign — a showbiz event for next spring is in the works to support Veep Al Gore … Meanwhile, the Congressional attempts to involve itself in showbiz continue — Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) has asked Norman Lear for his input on the violence-in-showbiz issue. Lear sent him docus pointing out where-how the Columbine youth duo got the way they were. It wasn’t from watching movies or TV. Lear, believes all this Congressional sound and fury will soon pass — just as “sweeps” do. Meanwhile, Lear is readying his return to (non-violent) showbiz with projects. But, right now he is particularly proud of another successful venture: he is partnered with David Stein in the Son Net relais on Majorca which won a Travelers’ mag award as one of the top 23 resorts in the world. Recent visitors there include Lauren Bacall, Michael Douglas, the King and Queen of Spain.

JOHNNY CARSON’S ATTORNEYS have sent a letter to the Enquirer telling ’em their story about Johnny is all wrong. He has not gone back into the hospital — except for a routine checkup and he’s out and about, driving himself to his office and to his boat (although not going out to sea, yet). And his weight is where it should be … Friends were saddened to learn that Richard Cohen was still unconscious Monday afternoon after collapsing during a dinner at the home of the Larry Flaxes, Saturday night. Cohen and wife Barbara (Grant) were in a party of 18 showbiz diners when he suddenly choked, turned blue and collapsed. Dr. Frank Kamer and his wife who were on hand gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before Cohen was rushed by paramedics to Sherman Oaks hospital … Bill Haber is in Romania, en route to Albania for meetings with his Save the Children offices which are working overtime on the tragic refugee situation. On his return to the U.S., Haber resumes his legit producing career with the workshop presentation of a new musical, “The Molly Maguires.” Let’s hope it fares better than the 1971 movie of the same name about Irish coal miners. It starred Sean Connery and Richard Harris and was directed by Martin Ritt … On the first anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s death, Tina Sinatra visited his grave in Palm Springs. Meanwhile, a Mass at BevHills’ Good Shepherd was arranged by Barbara Sinatra and attended by the Sinatra staff and close friends who were then invited to Matteo’s (private room) for lunch — Frank’s favorite dishes were served … A Mass will be held for Rory Calhoun at 4:30 today at the Good Shepherd. A.C. Lyles delivers the eulogy and Connie Towers sings the Ave Maria. Lyles had known Calhoun since his first days at Paramount — and A.C. celebrated his 81st birthday, Monday — at work in his office, as usual, on the lot.

MIKE FARRELL, ON HIATUS from the highly successful “Providence,” has been crossing the country with appearances for the Human Rights Watch in a super-max. prison in McCallister, Okla., speaking against the death penalty in Pound, Va., talking for the Alliance for Justice in D.C. and on Thursday, Farrell presents Norman Jewison with the Death Penalty Focus of Calif.’s Rose Elizabeth Bird Commitment to Justice Award … Ken Howard gave the commencement address at Kent State, Sunday and also received his MFCA in Theater Arts — at his own graduation! He’s been teaching there as well for the past two years … .Larry Gelbart receives an honorary Doctorate, Sunday (23) at Hofstra … The Age Awareness Committee of WGA West and First Stage tonight showcase 10 veteran writers in short scenes from their original screen and teleplays followed by discussion with the writers, directors and actors … Good timing dept.: John Williams receives the Richard Kirk Award for career achievement from BMI Wednesday, the night “Star Wars — Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” bows.” Williams, of course, tuned all the episodes … Denise Rich who partially underwrote N.Y.’s benefit preem of “Star Wars,” also purchased 1,000 tents in conjunction with the Duchess of York charity Chances for Children to help send tents for Kosovo refugees … This year’s American Oceans Campaign raised $300,000 at its BevWilshire gala honoring Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen and BP Amoco’s Sir John Browne. Howie Mandel m.c’d.