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Believe It Or Not, These Are 'Best Of Times' For Palance

January 25, 1986|RODERICK MANN

"Looking back, it was a mistake," said Holly Palance. "I shouldn't have done it. But I needed the money. By the time I left, I had an absolute hunger to act again."

For more than two years, Holly Palance co-hosted television's "Ripley's Believe It or Not" with her father, Jack. It earned her a reported $7,000 a week--which is nice rent money if you can get it--but it made her fretful and frustrated.

"I did it far too long," she said, "but now I realize the impact the show has. When we were making this new film, 'The Best of Times,' in Taft, near Bakersfield, almost as many people recognized me as they did Robin Williams."

In "The Best of Times," which also stars Kurt Russell, she plays Williams' wife. The movie, to open Friday, is directed by her husband, Roger Spottiswoode, who made "Under Fire."


"Not a chance," said Palance. "I tested three times for the role. And I got it because I was right for it. The truth is that Roger was quite nervous about using me. But I think we worked well together."

Spottiswoode, of course, was not dealing with a fledgling actress. In an effort to get away from the "Jack's daughter" tag, she spent eight years in London appearing in plays and television drama, then returned to the United States for a year on Broadway with Tony Perkins in Bernard Slade's "Romantic Comedy."

"That was three years ago," she said. "So I was anxious to get back on stage again. That's why I'm so pleased to be doing this play (Tom Stoppard's Broadway hit "The Real Thing") in Seattle. It opened last month.

"I'm loving it," she said. "I feel I'm right on track again; all my old enthusiasm has come back. I'm not going to waste any more time."

COVETING CALLAS: Anjelica Huston, feeling buoyant since her fine reviews in "Prizzi's Honor," which her father, John, directed, is negotiating with author Arianna Stassinopoulos for the rights to her biography of Maria Callas.

"It was originally optioned by Joan Collins," said Huston, "but I understand that has now lapsed. I've met with Arianna and she thinks I'd be just right for the role. I think I can look enough like her--the real work will be learning to lip-sync to her singing."

Huston, who said she's been fascinated by Callas ever since she saw her sing in London years ago, hopes to co-produce the film.

"It's such an extraordinary story," she said. "It should make a wonderful movie."

NOT YET: Has producer Al Ruddy really managed to line up the two James Bonds--Sean Connery and Roger Moore--for his next movie, as reported in New York?

No. But he's hoping.

"What we're doing is developing a piece of material ("Trinity") which we hope will attract the two of them," said Ruddy. "But there's absolutely nothing set."

NEW ROLE: Yes, Gloria Vanderbilt is going to be in Robert Altman's movie "Pret a Porter."

"I think she will be terrific," said Altman the other day. "She hasn't acted in a long time and she's been kind enough to say she's only doing this because I asked her to. But I know how good she is and, with her background, what an asset she'll be. Remember, our story is about the fashion world."

Vanderbilt made her theatrical debut in "The Swan" in the early '50s. And she had a role in Frank Sinatra's 1956 movie, "Johnny Concho."

While awaiting the start of filming, in Paris in October, she's working on the second volume of her memoirs.

QUOTE--From Raymond Burr: "Dogs that can sniff out bombs would be invaluable in Hollywood, wouldn't you say? They'd save the studios millions."

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