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Fisher tales

GOOD MORNING: If you are a member of the Academy, did you take a chance in the lottery to get a pair of tickets to the Oscars? Frances Fisher did. “I sent in my $700 in the random lottery and Frannie (daughter Francesca by Clint Eastwood) and I are going! The last time we went, she was in my belly.” Frannie is now 11. They (all) attended the Oscars in ’93 with Clint when “The Unforgiven” won four awards. Monday night in Carmel, Clint, wife Dina and their daughter Morgan (8) had a Valentine’s Day dinner with Frances and Francesca … Frances, a SAG board member, is wearing a red ribbon signifying objection to passage of the SAG-AFTRA TV Theatrical Contract. She is strongly campaigning for defeat of the proposed contract. She recently wound guesting on “ER” and also appeared in Arthur Miller’s last play, “Finishing the Picture,” at Chicago’s Goodman Theater. She told me how impressive Miller was at 89 as a he sat with the cast for days of read throughs, showing such “compassion and forgiveness” in this play as compared with his previous “After the Fall.” She said she hopes “Picture” will be made into a picture. “Audiences howled with laughter.” … Scott Glenn, who also starred in “Finishing the Picture,” also related the warmth of working with Miller on the play. “He used the play to explore what happens when love and need go in opposite directions — when they run together there is never a problem.” And there definitely was a problem of love and need between Miller and Marilyn. Glenn said Miller wrote a three or four minute scene for him and they talked abut meeting in the East later this year. Glenn is now costarring in A&E’s “Faith of My Fathers” as Sen. John McCain’s father, Admiral Jack McCain, who was senior officer in Vietnam when John was a prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton …. Sen. McCain is due to visit the film’s location next week, Glenn says.

ON THE MIAMI Beach location of “Retirement” George Segal reported the sadness and shock of the company when Ossie Davis died after working with them for three days. “It was so tragic,” Segal said. Their friendship dated back to B’way days when Davis was in “The Hill” and Segal in “Bye, Bye Braverman.” “We’d see each other many times over the years and I respected him so much,” said Segal, who costars with Peter Falk, Rip Torn and now Bill Cobbs, Davis’ replacement. Segal and Davis were looking forward to working together in the comedy in which the seasoned actors are to have a ball traveling from Miami to New Orleans and on to Las Vegas. Charles Picerni directs and producer Michael Pietrzak said there no physical scenes plotted for the sesoned cast — but plenty of laughs … Pam Grier also sadly told me of her experiences working with Ossie Davis on Showtime’s “The L Word.” Davis plays her father and she said, “Ossie was very much like the father you’d like to have.” Grier was on the phone Monday again with Ruby Dee to express her sadness, she reported. Showtime chairman Matt Blank and entertainment prexy Bob Greenblatt will lead a moment of silence for Davis at a DGA screening Wednesday of the second season’s premiere episode. A party follows at the Abbey in West Hollywood. The final seg, which airs in May, will be dedicated to Davis with an on-screen tribute … Proud papa department: Garry Marshall plays a small role in son, director Scott Marshall’s “Lucky 13,” which won the Audience Award for Feature Film in Aspen. Jeremy Piven plays Garry;’s son; Daryl Sabara, his grandson. A.D. Oppenheim produced. Meanwhile, Garry is readying to take “Happy Days The Musical” on the road with Paul Williams’ music … With DreamWorks’ “Madagascar” being readied for release, Jeffrey Katzenberg made a trip to the African country in December where he met President Marc Ravalomanana. The met up again last week here at the home of Heather Thomas and Skip Brittenham where the president was honored by Conservation Intl. Katzenberg said he hopes “Madagascar” will have as much success as “The Lion King” had in encouraging tourism. Guests at the Brittenhams included Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, Roma Downey and Michael Keaton … Taking a break from the Oscar preparations., Gil Cates and Michael Seligman were among guests at the Year of the Rooster Chinese New Year party hosted by Donanne and Ali Kasikci at the Verandah at the Peninsula hotel in BevHills. Dragon dancers entertained in a sea of Chinese red lanterns lighting chef Sean Hardy’s menu of New Year’s delicacies. Others here included Fred and Betty Hayman, Gordon Davidson, Lois and Buzz Aldrin.

MICHAEL JACKSON has been fodder for countless Jay Leno monologues over the years — so Jay was as surprised as we were when Jackson’s defense team said Leno was among those (including Elizabeth Taylor) who would (could?) be “defense witnesses.” Jay said he’d never had Jackson as a guest on his show, but had been on the same stage as Michael at charity events.

PHILANTHROPIST BILL Austin who is no stranger to showbiz and who has brought hearing into the lives of thousands of underprivileged children around the world, receives his star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame, adjacent to the historic Plaza Theater, Feb. 25 with a reception to follow at Spencer’s … Daphna (Mrs. Richard) Ziman who has been the subject of many television interviews because of her philanthropic work, is how the host of her own show, “Inner Views,” bowing Feb. 22 on cable. She says her shows will bring “the truth about issues directly to the public without any political or corporate influence.” Ruda Dauphin is in L.A. to set the 2005 honorees for the American Film Festival in Deauville Sept .2-11 … Norby Walters again hosts the “Night of 100 Stars” gala at the BevHills Hotel, sponsored this year by the Hollywood Poker Club and Underwritten by Future Media Productions … …The California Nurses’ Assn. will host its “Be Real” party in opposition to the next door-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s premier of “Be Cool: Get Shorty II” at Sacramentos’ Crest Theater tonight (Tuesday) . While slashing nursing-aid budgets Arnold appointed pal, coproducer, costar Danny De Vito to the state’s film commisssion.

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