O’Neal’s leukemia, Boomtown and Shirley Temple

GOOD MORNING: “I’m on something that seems to be working,” Ryan O’Neal told me Monday. “I’ve only known about it (leukemia) for 3-1/2 weeks. What a shock. It buckled me. I just had a pain in my stomach — it hurt. They examined me, tested my spleen and discovered my white cell count was enormous. My doctors at Cedars-Sinai are going to try an even-newer medication next week.” O’Neal has refused interviews on the usual talk shows. “What am I going to say — I’ve got it (leukemia)?” he added. “I didn’t even announce it in the first place — like Suzanne Somers. This is some switch for me.” O’Neal (60) had just come back from the gym he owns in Brentwood — after a workout — not as strong as he’d been accustomed to. “I had just finished doing this movie (‘People I Know’) with Al Pacino. I hope it’s not my last. It was such a good experience. Al is such an amazing person — so dear, a good man, loving.” How’d O’Neal get the role? “He’s a fading movie star who lives in Malibu — they didn’t have to look far,” he laughed. Ryan is also familiar with the type of press agent he plays. And Pacino remembered him when he lived on the beach near Ryan and they’d played paddle tennis together … Ryan said he’s received calls from longtime friends — like Ali MacGraw, with whom he costarred in “Love Story” for director Arthur Hiller in 1970. Ali, you remember, “had this same disease in the movie,” he laughed. “She said to me, ‘I hope you didn’t catch it from me.’ ” … As for the future, O’Neal says he hasn’t received any offers (since the news of his illness) — as for “People I Know,” he said “I’ll go out on the road with it” — if he feels much better. He is cheered in these tough days by his friend of six years, actress Leslie Stefanson.

THE SHARE LADIES DID IT AGAIN. Their 48th annual Boomtown party raised another million-$ for children’s charities, bringing the total to $36 million they have danced into the charitable coffers. This year’s fete — on two stages at CBS-Fairfax — was themed “Some Like It Hot” and honored Audrey and Billy Wilder, who were unable to attend. The trophy was accepted by Nancy Olson, co-star of Wilder’s “Sunset Blvd.” Clips of that pic, plus “Some Like It Hot,” and vintage interviews with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Wilder were interspersed throughout the show, but as always, the stars of the show is the SHARE chorus line of celeb mothers (some grandmothers) dancing their hearts out. The show was produced by Gary Smith, whose wife, Maxine, was show vice-president along with Angelique L’amour Pitney. Charlene Painter was the director-choreographer and when SHARE dancer Niki Dantine Kuelpman sprained her ankle in the opening number, Painter quick-taught SHARE girl Dana Grilikghes the routine so she could take Niki’s place in time for the grand finale. These gals also know the show must go on. Ironically, Niki was to have done a bungee number at the top of the show, but they thought that was too dangerous! … Bob Stack opened the show as Elliot Ness in keeping with the period of “Some Like It Hot.” And the inimitable, Jim Bailey, whose Judy Garland remains a fabulous imitation. But howcum he didn’t do his Marilyn Monroe to keep up with the “Some Like It Hot” theme? Ann Pattersons’ all (?) girl band was directed by Ian Fraser, who donned a blonde wig (as did some of his tooters) for some of the numbers. Again this year, Joni Berry was responsible for the startling period costumes — and Berry again takes over reins as SHARE President from Marilyn Katleman. Neile McQueen Toffel was awarded Member of the Year … Corinna (Mrs. Freddie) Fields, a SHARE girl and past Miss Universe winner (from her native Greece) had been invited by Donald Trump, along with other past Misses Universes, to attend last week’s contest in Puerto Rico. However, she noted, “We would have had to pay our own airfare and hotel bills. I thought I’d prefer to stay here and help raise money with SHARE.”

SURE, SHIRLEY TEMPLE WATCHED “Child Star, The Shirley Temple Story” on ABC, Sunday night. Although she’s listed as a “consultant” on the credits, Temple told me she wasn’t enthralled with the choice of Ashley Rose Orr to portray her. “I can’t figure who she’ll be when she grows up?” asked Temple. She said she’d received many calls from fans after the show aired. Several made similar complaints about the lack of likeness and others — all of whom are experts on Shirley Temple lore, “Know all the facts about my life and my mother’s and many said ‘Your mother was never a blonde!’ ” … Temples’ Danbury Mint replica of her and Bojangles Robinson are lifelike, she says, and upcoming is another of “Shirley Temple Takes Five,” resting in her chair on the set of one of he movies … Alix and Budd Friedman celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary with a plush, black tie party at the Regency Club. His daughter Beth made her singing bow with “Our Romance.” Comedian David Gee penned a poem to ’em: “The Taming of the Jew.” Among those on hand were Bud Robinson, who stood up for Alix at their wedding … Novelist Gwen Davis, writing “Around the World in 80 Spas,” celebrated her birthday in a BevHills Hotel pool cabana as she continued her hegira … Commentator Michael Jackson returns to the radio air waves Wednesday on Clear Channel’s KLAC, (570) from 10-2 p.m. daily. They told him, “Be yourself and we’ll help you be more.” … Helen Harris, whose Retinitis Pigmentosa Vision Awards will be held June 28 at the BevHilton, suffered a fractured cheek bone and multiple bruises when she tripped over a water bottle the delivery man left in the middle of the kitchen floor. “See — this is the real meaning of Retinitis Pigmentosa,” she reminds, “R.P. can kill.”

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