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’60 Minutes’ honors creator

Dench preps for 'Night's Dream'

BRAVO TO “60 Minutes” for giving the show’s creator Don Hewitt the full hour last Sunday.

Don has never come off better than in this appreciation of what his life, his career, even his death, means. What a personality he was!

Only two weeks ago, Don was at lunch in East Hampton holding court and behaving as if he intended to live forever. He was eating Nate ‘n Al hot dogs that Nora Ephron had brought, and the Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman was teasing him. “I hope I’m half as sharp as you are when I am your age,” said Mort. Don shot back, “You won’t be. You’re not now.” Then he asked for a second hot dog and started talking about how boring it had been covering the first steps on the moon when he had been sequestered in a control booth for 12 hours.

As the writer Marie Brenner commented to me: “Don has been a nine-lives guy from his earliest days!”

JUDI DENCH, age 74, is getting ready to play a role she first performed as a schoolgirl 56 years ago. Judi will again play Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Rose Theater in Kingston Upon Thames. Back in 1962 she was acclaimed for playing this queen of the fairies for Sir Peter Hall.

The RSC’s artistic director, Michael Boyd, told the British columnist Mandrake: “Judi Dench has not aged in the same way that normal people do, and her imagination remains as free as that of a small child or a fairy.” Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, says he never heard of anyone playing the role in their 70s. “I am sure she will pull it off in some interesting way,” he said.

WHEN THE popular actress Sondra Lee sent me her memoir, titled “I’ve Slept With Everybody,” every single person who came in my office and saw the book, exclaimed, “Oh, migawd, that’s the title of MY book!”

Sondra went overboard with the title, as is her wont. She has been a fixture of the theater, TV, dance scene since she escaped from New Jersey and arrived in Manhattan in 1947, to be “discovered” almost immediately by the great Jerome Robbins and thrust into “High Button Shoes.”

Now Sondra details such magical happenings as well as her romantic friendship with Marlon Brando, her marriages, her hits and her misses. She has known virtually everybody in entertainment and vice versa and is fondly recalled as the character Tiger Lily in “Peter Pan” and as Minnie Fay in “Hello, Dolly!”

This is a true theatrical memoir, proving that lots of verve and determination can pay off in an impossible business. Read it for a veteran performer’s funny memories and lots of good humor.