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Ed McMahon heads for Times Square

GOOD MORNING: Uncle Miltie is “doing fine,” wife Lorna assures. Sure, he has a small tumor (in the colon) near the rib cage but doctors have decided against surgery: “He is in no pain and he is living his life with incredible spirits.” He is now assisted by a wheelchair because his legs have weakened, but she says “he gets a kick out of sailing into restaurants in it.” He and Lorna dine twice a week at Spago, where he is a center of attraction for showbiz and fan diners. They dined with the Jan Murrays last week and were at Morton’s Monday night after he spent the afternoon at the Friars’ Club in BevHills. Tuesday night, Miltie and Lorna dined with Pat and Larry Gelbart at Spago. Even at that table, you can bet 92-year-old Miltie was the funniest … And talking funny: George Clooney continues to practical-joke with his perfect imitation of his “Ocean’s Eleven” producer Jerry Weintraub. In his perfect Weintraub tones, he called the location switchboard and insisted on a wakeup call at 4:30 ayem! Yes, Weintraub was awakened and to no avail denied he’d given those instructions … When you gotta go, you gotta go: Producer Irwin Winkler winged to London to loop Kristin Scott Thomas for his (New Line’s) “Life as a House”; she’s there in Bob Altman’s “Gosford Park.” Then Winkler jetted to Halifax to check the set of his (Miramax) “Shipping News” starring Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore. Winkler then planed to N.Y. to loop Kevin Kline for “Life as a House”; Kevin is in Gotham for U’s “The Palace Thief.” He also looped “House” costar Hayden Christopher in Gotham. He then jetted to L.A. in time today for Jennifer Lopez’s big wedding scene in his (Sony’s) “Enough.”

LOOK FOR ED MCMAHON to star on Times Square. A most happy fella, McMahon called me Tuesday to report his “Next Big Star” series is set for 26 original shows on Pax on Sundays, launching Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. “I’m very thrilled,” said McMahon of the two specials that acted as pilots for the pickup. Further, Toys R Us is the title sponsor and audition will be held on a stage in the giant, new Times Square store starting in September. “I plan to drive down Broadway in a parade,” he enthuses … Jim Bailey does two songs a la Barbra Streisand in his guestint Mondayon “Ally McBeal”; he plays a man obsessed with Streisand who wants to sue his surgeon after he’s unhappy with his enlarged nose operation! Bailey will do his Judy Garland carbon at the SHARE show this year and plans his own Garland B’way outing … Robert Goulet guestars as himself in the May 6 WB “Nikki” seg titled, “And the Winner Is … ” He plays the MC/judge of a Vegas showgirl pageant … Funeral services are held today for Jack Haley Jr. at 11:30 ayem at Holy Cross Chapel, Culver City. In lieu of flowers, Jack wished donations be made to the AFI where he’s also left his film collection. The AFI will set up the Jack Haley Jr. Memorial Fund in his honor. He’d previously established the Jack Haley Jr. Video Collection … A 21-gun salute noted the deposit of Carl Reiner’s brother Charles’ ashes in Arlington National Cemetery. He was in 11 WWII battles and received five commendations. At the services, his son Richard read Omar Bradley’s tribute to the 9th Division’s 37th Infantry, of which Charles Reiner was a member. Seven Reiner family members were on hand … At the Ellis Island Family History Day event, Tom Brokaw introed Joel Grey as one of “America’s national treasures.” Grey sang Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies,” dedicating it to the composer and “my brave grandparents, the Katzes and the Epsteins, without whom I wouldn’t be here today.” Grey, along with Eva Marie Saint, Dawn Upshaw, Mark Morris and Herbie Hancock, receive the L.A. Music Center’s Distinguished Artists Award June 4 at the BevHilton.

I’M NOT 90, I’M 60 — the ‘6’ got turned around,” laughed Ronald Neame at the SRO, lavish birthday party given by BAFTA Monday at the Four Seasons in BevHills. You could fool anyone about Neame’s age; he’s as spry as ever, sang “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” to wife Donna, and he beamed as Estelle Reiner sang “Happy Birthday” to him, a la Marilyn Monroe to JFK! Tuesday, the ever-young Neame drove himself and son Christopher to his Santa Barbara house to activate his birthday present — a digital camera — in his computer. Neame continues to teach a post-grad class at UCLA: “how to make a movie, from the moment you chose a story to the day you deliver it to a distributor.” Of course, he allows times are different today than “my golden years. All I’d have to do was say to Arthur Rank, ‘Arthur, I’d like to do this picture’ and he’d say, ‘How much?’ I’d tell him — and I’d make it” … Today on his show, Montel Williams, who has Multiple Sclerosis, donates $100,000 apiece to the Nancy Davis MS Foundation, the Foundation for Neurological Diseases at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston (for MS), and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm-for MS … Also today, Jami Gertz is honored by the National Down Syndrome Society at the BevHills Hotel. Linda (Mrs. Craig) Safan cochairs … Les Moonves presents Dan Rather with the L.A. Press Club’s Joseph M. Quinn Award, June 9 at the Sheraton Universal. Tonight, the L.A. Press Club, along with the Society of Professional Journalists, toast/roast L.A. Times retiring city editor Bill Boyarsky at Cicada.

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