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February 02, 1986

Willie Nelson will star in, co-produce and write the score for "Stagecoach," a remake of John Ford's classic 1939 Western with John Wayne. Joining Nelson in the cast are Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Anthony Newley, Johnny Cash, Mary Crosby, John Schneider, Anthony Franciosa and Elizabeth Ashley. Despite the presence of so many singers, CBS insists that the movie "will be a drama, not a musical."

And speaking of country music stars, Cash, Kristofferson and Nelson are also featured in "The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James," a TV movie that NBC has slotted for Feb. 16. Also in the cast are June Carter-Cash and Ed Bruce.

Craig T. Nelson, the former star of "Call to Glory," will portray sportswriter Frank Deford in "Alex: The Life of a Child," an adaptation of Deford's book about his daughter, who died of cystic fibrosis. Also in the ABC movie are Bonnie Bedelia, Gennie James and Daniel Corkill.

Briefly noted: Kevin McCarthy will be a guest star in an episode of "The Golden Girls," playing a wealthy suitor to Blanche (Rue McClanahan). . . . Andrew Duggan has replaced James Stewart in an episode of "Remington Steele" in which Stewart was to have played a retired Air Force general. NBC said Stewart had to bow out because of a chronic ear infection. . . . CBS has set Feb. 15 for its annual telecast of "The Wizard of Oz."

ABC will televise a series of professional boxing matches on Sunday afternoons this spring. The first one, the World Boxing Assn. light-heavyweight championship bout between Marvin Johnson and challenger Leslie Stewart, is due Feb. 9. The series will continue through April 6, featuring such fighters as Mike Tyson, Tyrell Biggs and Evander Holyfield.

What happens when a young man falls in love with his stepsister? The question will be explored in "Two Young People," a TV movie being made for CBS. The young people will be played by Dermit Mulroney and Megan Follows, with their married parents being portrayed by Dee Wallace-Stone and Bill Bixby. James Naughton plays Wallace-Stone's ex-husband.

Art Carney has made a TV movie that will be syndicated to stations around the country for airing around Easter. It's called "Miracle of the Heart--A Boys Town Story" and is said to be the first movie filmed at the real Boys Town in Nebraska since 1937. Carney plays a priest whose ways are being challenged by a younger man with a different approach.

Alan Arkin has the hero's part in "A Deadly Business," a TV movie due to be shown March 4 on CBS. He plays an ex-con who goes undercover for the FBI to expose corruption and the involvement of organized crime in the toxic waste disposal business. Armand Assante and Michael Learned also have prominent roles.

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