GOOD MORNING: “How dare they!” was Clint Eastwood’s reaction to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s cancellation of the 15th anni tribute to “Bull Durham” as organizers feared costars Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon would make antiwar remarks. Eastwood (who directed Robbins in “Mystic River”) supported the pair’s right “to say what they want to say — when they want to say it.” “Bull Durham” co-star Kevin Costner had previously said, “Tim and Susan’s courage is the type that makes our democracy work.” I spoke to Tim as he readied to speak today at the National Press Club’s Newsmaker Lunch — the date set before the Baseball Hall of Fame foul ball. Robbins is to be followed by Tom Andrews, former Democratic congressman from Maine who is national director of “Win Without War.” As the U.S. issues warnings to Syria, they’ll talk about the next stop of the anti-war movement. Robbins proudly says “I have a forum to fight back — but what about all those who do not?” Robbins also talked about the dismissal by Alliance Atlantis of Ed Gernon, producer of their (CBS) two-part “Hitler: The Rise of Evil” when Gernon was quoted as reminding that the relinquishing of civil rights could lead today, as it did then, to the rise of an evil leader. Robbins reminded, “the First Amendment is under attack in our country.” P.S. He’s heartened by support he’s receiving from sports writers around the country. And he tells me they’ll try to have that celebration for “Bull Durham” anni in New York. How about Shea Stadium? Robbins remains a die-hard Mets fan.
THE REAL WORLD SO OFTEN defies our expectations,” HBO Films president Colin Callender said as he received the Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian Award. “Consider for a moment the following amusing contradiction: the best selling rap artist in America is white, the most successful golfer in America is black, the French have accused Americans of being haughty and not caring about the views of foreigners, and the Germans protested that they did not want to go to war! Of course the irony of the assumptions underlying this joke seems particularly apropos at a fundraiser for an organization dedicated to the fight against prejudice.” He knew whereof he spoke, having faced anti-Semitism as he grew up in London. “There was a Jewish quota at the school I attended. And (I) was bar mitzvah’d in a school hall because the week before, our synagogue had been burned down by neo-Nazis.” . . . Callender’s wife Elizabeth arrived at the BevHills Hotel ceremony in time for the awards — having given birth to daughter Charlotte Eva, April 5 . . . Robert Dowling, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Hollywood Reporter, received the Distinguished Entertainment Industry Award. Arthur Hiller hosted, Paul Rodriguez m.c’d and Michael Keaton, star of HBO’s “Live From Baghdad,” introduced Callender.
A “VOICE NOT UNLIKE GOD” will open the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” when it bows on B’way Aug. 14. The off-stage voice has just been recorded by Robert Stack. He has recovered from his prostate operation and post-treatment and is back to work in the musical. Director Connie Grappo taped Stack’s easily recognizable voice, which should set the tone for the show . . . Rosemarie Stack, Bob’s artist-wife, has a showing of her paintings at SanFran’s Capobianco North Beach Gallery bowing April 26 . . . Morgan Freeman joins Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Josh Lucas in Miramax-Revolution Studios’ “Unfinished Life.” Lasse Hallstrom directs the pic produced by Alan Ladd Jr., Kellianne Ladd and Leslie Holleran . . . Remember Cliff Robertson’s great death scene in “Spider-man”? Not so fast — director Sam Raimi and producer Laura Ziskin are resurrecting his character of Spidey’s Uncle Ben for the sequel. His back-to-life scenes will be shot in New York.
ELAINE STRITCH HAS AUDIENCES at the Ahmanson giving her repeated standing ovations and brings down the house, appropriately, with “I’m Still Here.” And opening night among those applauding her — and very much still here and delighting audiences around the world were: Betty Garrett, Carole Cook, Jack Carter, Mitzi Gaynor, Shirley Jones, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lorna Luft, Dick Van Dyke, plus Ed Begley Jr., Michael Feinstein, Josh Groban, Robert Guillaume, Margaret O’Brien, Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits, Lorretta Swit, Rip Taylor, Bruce Vilanch and the one-and-only Angela Lansbury who told me she’s talking a return to the Ahmanson’s boards in “The Royal Family,” the George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber classic. She and Gordon Davidson are now putting it together. Angela’s next from CBS, “The Celtic Riddle,” is skedded for airing during May sweeps after which she will decide on the next outing. But first, Angela takes a solo month off in Ireland to “chill out” and try to recover the loss of her husband Peter Shaw.