Arnold ‘offended’ by Austria’s Haider

GOOD MORNING: Arnold Schwarzenegger responds to questions about Austria’s Freedom Party leader Jorg Haider’s “anti-immigrant” remarks and expressions of sympathy for aspects of Hitler’s rule: “As an immigrant myself, I am offended by anyone who makes anti-immigrant statements, and it is my opinion that someone who makes statements like Haider’s has no place in government. I have never supported him in the past and do not now. I am hopeful that Austria will find a way through this. As an Austrian-born (Arnold became a U.S. citizen in 1983), I am so saddened that, with all the progress we have made working for an open and tolerant society, one man’s statements can taint world opinion of an entire country. I know that there are many tolerant people in Austria. It is my hope that their voices can and will be heard.” Arnold phoned (Vienna-born) Theo Bikel who had declined via fax (printed here) to attend the “Austrians in Hollywood” Feb. 25 reception at the home of Austria’s L.A. consul general Werner Brandstetter. In that letter, Bikel noted “Austria is in danger of sinking back into the slime of neo-fascism.” Haider, whose parents had been active Nazis, is also owner of a large estate formerly owned by a Jewish family that had to flee Austria. Bikel said Arnold told him that he thought Haider’s remarks were “stupid” and that his (Haider’s) recent apologies were “not enough.” Arnold wanted to assure Theo that “it will blow over.” Theo said he hoped so. Arnold (whose father was a member of the Nazi party), is a recipient of the National Leadership Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and is slated to star in the long-delayed Alan Ladd Jr. Par pic, “With Wings of Eagles” in which Schwarzenegger’s to play a WWII German officer who liberates captured G.I.’s — even though he had been given orders to execute them.

WHATTA WEEK FOR MICHAEL CAINE: On the heels of receiving his fifth Oscar nomination (this one for supporting actor in “The Cider House Rules”) Caine was notified by BAFTA (Britain’s Oscars) that he’s to receive their “Fellowship” award — for lifetime career achievement. The BAFTAs will be presented April 9 at the Odeon, Leicester Square, with dinner following at the Cafe Royale. Nominations are announced March 12 … Diane Warren, Oscar-nominated a fourth consecutive time, this one for the title song, “Music of My Heart,” has singles upcoming by Mariah Carey, “Can’t Take That Away”; Whitney Houston, “I Learned From the Best”; Mary J. Blige, “Give Me You”; Christina Aguilera, “I Turn to You”; Celine Dion, “I Want You to Need Me”; and TLC, “Come On Down” … Hard to believe but Richard Chamberlain, who has been a star for more than 40 years, is only now (Feb. 29) receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He reminisced with me how he used to take a streetcar down that boulevard — to place his feet in the footprints of the famous at Grauman’s Chinese. He’ll be back on that boulevard, at the Pantages, bowing March 1, on the latest leg of his 40-week national tour of “The Sound of Music,” winding in May. While in L.A., he’ll meet with the Berkshire Theatre’s producing director, Kate Maguire, who wings out to talk a play date of “The Shadow Of Greatness,” a tantalizing drama about fans, written by Gary Socol of E! Entertainment. Also while here, the multi-talented Chamberlain has an exhibit of his paintings at the West Hollywood gallery of Wolfryd-Selway Fine Arts … Julie Harris who won a Tony in James Prideaux’s “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” on B’way, reunites with him (for a fourth time) in a reading of his three one-act plays, “Scattered Leaves,” at the West Bank Cafe in N.Y., Feb. 21. She’ll be joined by Fritz Weaver and directed by Joseph Hardy.

NEITHER RAIN, NOR — stopped the celebration of Disneyland’s “45 Years of Magic” Wednesday when 500 members of the media chronicled the event as 600 kids were on hand to hear Kenny Loggins preem (“live”) “Your Heart Will Lead You Home” from Disney’s “The Tigger Movie,” and for Kathy Ireland to unveil the new cars at Autopia. Plus the preem of the “Magic in the Stars” parade on Main Street, fireworks — and a party in the Marina ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel. Cynthia Harriss, prexy of Disneyland Resorts, welcomed everyone. Of course, the real 45th anni of Disneyland is July 17 — but there’s nothing wrong with whetting the appetite — even if it’s accompanied by a little liquid California sunshine! … Aftermath of the New Year’s Eve fiascos at the showroom box offices in Las Vegas has resulted in major changes in several hotel entertainment directors. The one outstanding exception was, of course, the success of Barbra Streisand at the MGM Grand … Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were engagement partied by the Ron Meyers at the latter’s Malibu home. Ron, who was Michael’s agent for 25 years, shares the same birthday, Sept. 25, 1944. (Sept. 25 is also Catherine’s birthday). Guests included Douglas’ brothers Joel and Peter, Catherine’s brothers David and Lyndon, David Geffen, Dolly Parton and Sandy Gallin, Danny De Vito and wife Rhea Perlman, Jonathan Dolgen, Jim Wiatt, Richard Lovett, Curtis Hanson. Douglas went on to p.a. Par’s “Wonder Boys” … Dolores and Bob Hope celebrate their 66th wedding anni Feb. 19 … Corky Hale and Mike Stoller partied pals from their worlds of music, theater, TV and movies with a giant, tented Valentine’s Day party.