GOOD MORNING: Why does ABC’s Leonardo DiCaprio interview with President Clinton remind me of an old Warner Bros. billboard? WB’s huge sign on Burbank’s Barham Blvd., the approach to the studio, proclaimed: “Combining Good Citizenship with Good Picture Making.” Of course it was war (WWII) time and the message was clear. Ever since, celebs and politicians have teamed for recognition of humane issues, such as the March of Dimes, War Bonds, the Boy and Girl Scouts, and you-name-the-disease. What is so important about Leo and Bill teaming on ABC? Another war — this one, of course, to save the world. The interview was about global warming and the environment. … No use kidding ourselves: Sure, I love ABC’s Sam, Peter and Ted and I’d watch a special hosted by any one of ’em, on anything. But how many other viewers would, compared to the numbers ABC will attract with that great team of Leo & Bill, excuse me, Bill & Leo? During their interview, the president noted to Leo how important it is for young people to get involved and how much he admired Leo putting himself out there to help raise awareness. Despite so-easily-written comedy comments about DiCaprio as a White House correspondent, the young (25) thesp, at the outset of his interview with the president (with some questions on cards submitted from ABC), stated, “Mr. President, I want to thank you very much for your time, and as you know, I came neither as a politician or a journalist — but being given the opportunity to sit down with you here and talk about an issue like global warming was an opportunity as a concerned citizen that I could not pass up.” … As of late Monday, ABC News president David Westin and senior management were screening the rough cut of the proposed one-hour special, deciding whether to air it. DiCaprio was, of course, hopeful it would. The decision has to be made quickly, since April 22 is Earth Day (of which, you recall, Leo is chairman). He’ll make a speech at the giant rally at the Mall in D.C. where other celebs are planning to attend and perform, again combining good citizenship and showbiz. Sunday night, as the ABC decision was being made in N.Y., Leo was in Tokyo for the opening of “The Beach.” His next film is Martin Scorsese’s “The Gangs of New York,” circa 1850, with Leo a gang leader. N.Y. will be re-created on the stages and back lot of Rome’s Cinecitta, starting in September. As for Leo’s other newsworthiness during my week’s vacation, I am told he has no plans at present to take legal action against his ex-financial adviser (!) Dana Giacchetto or his (still) personal managers Mike Ovitz and Rick Yorn. Leo’s had enough tsouris for one week.
NEW PAPA-TO-BE JERRY SEINFELD took a couple of days away from his bride (mother-to-be) Jessica to wing to L.A. to help pal Michael Richards film his pilot for Castle Rock. Three scripters from “Seinfeld” are working on the WB/NBC half-hour show, in which Michael is a neophyte private eye. As for Jerry’s return to the biz, he’s got about 20 minutes for his new stand-up act; it is expected his upcoming fatherhood will give him an unprecedented amount of material — during the expectancy, the arrival and for years to come. As for that American Express commercial he taped more than four months ago, it is still on the shelf awaiting clearances. … Julie Andrews is in N.Y. taping a commercial for drug giant Eli Lilly & Co. She will be named a Dame of the British Empire by the Queen in London, May 16. Husband Blake Edwards is honored April 12 with France’s Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres at the residence of France’s Consul General in L.A., Guy Yelda. Blake says, “I’m deeply honored. I love that country and they love my movies.” … Her majesty Queen Noor of Jordan was hosted by Norm Pattiz of Westwood One at his home, Monday. She spoke about establishing a center in Jordan in the king’s honor, similar to a presidential library. The king was a friend of Israel’s. Pattiz was recently given an award presented by Prime Minister Ehud Barak for his contributions to Middle Eastern peace and is a member of the Israel Policy Forum.
HOW I SPENT MY VACATION: would you believe, after announcing all those arrivals at the Academy Awards, I lost my voice the next day. So, we headed for a quiet, peaceful siesta in Palm Springs at Merv Griffin’s Givenchy Hotel & Spa and its glorious gardens, with the air scented with orange blossoms. And here I am back again talking away to all of you. … While in the Springs, we again caught the amazing “Palm Springs Follies,” now in its ninth year and going stronger. Each year, producer Riff Markowitz continues to outdo himself, both with his own clever repartee and with his un$tinting show: costumes that rival Ziegfeld’s, lavish sets, music and a cast of lovelies whose average age is 70 and looking (acting) half of that. Guestar Dave Barry is 81 and headliner Frankie Laine, still belting out “Mule Train” and his other platinum platters, is 87. Vodvil is not dead — at least not at the “Palm Springs Follies.” Of course, there’s also a (comedy) juggler, par excellence, Nino Frediania. The audience is on its feet at the finale as a giant cannon booms confetti across the theater. So, I didn’t escape showbiz, even for a week!