Perry upset by lead-actor Emmy nom

GOOD MORNING: Until reading it here Wednesday, “Friends” costar Matthew Perry didn’t know he was listed in the lead-actor category for this year’s Emmy nominations. He wasn’t happy about my story — which is true — and was furious that he’d been submitted in that category by a staffer at his publicists’ (Wolf-Kasteler) office. Perry had always been submitted in the supporting category, along with the rest of his “Friends” ensemble. WB’s Barbara Brogliatti said she got an SOS from press agent Annette Wolf asking what could be done to correct the error. Brogliatti called the TV Academy to check on the submission of Perry as lead actor and was told the Acad had investigated the submission and was told again (by someone in the praisery) that’s the way Perry wanted himself listed! (He did not.) Brogliatti says she even offered to pay the Academy to send out a new, corrected mailing. But ATAS told her it was impossible and once again reminded that incorrect submissions are made too often by careless or uninformed reps of potential nominees. So, it was left to praisery partner Lisa Kasteler to officially tell the TV Acad that Perry has now totally withdrawn his name from consideration on this year’s Emmy ballot, with an embarrassed Kasteler saying, “It is very important to Matthew and to me that the correct message be sent to his co-stars and the ‘Friends’ audience that he considers himself part of the ensemble. We (publicists) made the mistake and we apologize to both Matthew and the Academy.” Ironically when I first printed the fact Perry was submitted in the lead category, I almost added that the decision could have proven a smart move. Instead of competing against 77 other supporting actors in a comedy — including co-stars Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — Matthew would have been competing against only 29(!) other lead comedy actors and would not split votes against his friendly “Friends” co-stars. Fortunately, the series is not shooting, so Perry was saved the embarrassment of arriving at work to be confronted by his co-stars reading my column!

CONGRATS TO MICHAEL CAINE, who is getting a knighthood. “It’s the greatest moment of my life,” sad the Oscar winner. “I’m ectstaic.” … “I gotta lighten up a bit,” admits “Green Mile” and “Shawshank Redemption” director Frank Darabont as he’s readying his next film “The Bijou,” about a young writer who is named in the blacklist era of Hollywood. “Is this lightening up?” I asked Darabont. Yes, “Bijou” is fictional, he says and actually is Capra-esque. It could be called a romantic comedy. Darabont follows with “Doc Savage” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. (That’s lightening up, too?) Meanwhile, Tuesday, fans of his “Green Mile” stood in line six hours (it was supposed to have been a two-hour event) as he signed “Green Mile” DVDs and posters. WB Video had ordered 1 million DVDs and had to up the initial order to 1.4 million already! (A portion of profits go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.) “Green Mile” has already passed $280 million in B.O. worldwide, he told me. You recall the pic got four Oscar nominations including best picture, but he didn’t get the directing nomination although the DGA had nominated him! But he was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar. Darabont doesn’t give a director-writer seg on the “Green Mile” DVD, but he will when a boxed set of Stephen King’s pix from Castle Rock are released next year. They include “Stand By Me,” “Misery” “Dolores Claiborne,” “Shawshank Redemption” and “Green Mile” … “Green Mile” star Tom Hanks has completed “Cast Away” and is readying to direct the “Crossroads” seg (three weeks) of “Band of Brothers.” The setting’s Oct. 1944 as the Germans are launching an attack on the Lower Rhine in Holland. DreamWorks and Playtone Co. are shooting the 10-part series for HBO in England … Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and Eric Braeden did indeed shoot their scenes for “The Young and the Restless” Wednesday and Braeden tells me, “He is an absolute pro. He was perfect in the scenes, and I’ve seen pros fall on their faces. I have enormous respect for his guts.” In the scene, the duo discuss running for president together. “Ventura and Victor (Braeden’s character for 20 years): That has a nice ring to it,” said Jesse. “It’s ‘Victor and Ventura,’ ” corrected Braeden in the scene.

MORE “ODD COUPLES”: Barbara Eden and Rita McKenzie co-star in Neil Simon’s “Odd Couple” at Chi’s Apollo, bowing July 7. Eden plays the Felix role; McKenzie is Oscar Madison. Harvey Medlinsky directs; he ditto’d Tony Randall and Jack Klugman in London, N.Y. and L.A. The ladies teamed previously in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” … Sherwood Schwartz’s play, “The Trial of Othello,” bows July 21 at Theater West. It’s Schwartz’s first serious play. The courtroom drama is contemporary … Liza Minnelli is recuping — three more weeks — from pneumonia in Palm Beach … Kay Freeman is recuping following bilateral hip surgery at USC University Hospital. She resumes “Still Struttin’ ” cabaret act with Maybin Hewes this fall … Four children from South Africa travel to Denver and Barbara Davis’ Childhood Center for Diabetes, June 16. Nelson Mandela and Sidney Poitier helped arrange for the youngsters’ visit/treatment … Dean Cain and Samantha Torres welcomed son Christopher Dean Cain at Cedars-Sinai June 11.