David Wolper, the mega-producer who brought America the spectacular ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics here, the hoopla of Liberty Weekend and dozens of honored documentaries and miniseries, this summer will be "helping" to bring presidential hopeful George Bush and the Republican National Convention to the folks at home, Hollywood insiders say.
That's right. Wolper, a close friend of dozens of major Democratic officials and movers, has signed on for the Republicans' August spectacular in New Orleans. In an "advisory role," he'll be joining Bush's close friend, entertainment magnate Jerry Weintraub, and Paramount Pictures chief Frank Mancuso, who familiars said is also involved in the selling of the convention. Before heading up Weintraub Entertainment, Weintraub produced concert tours for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, while Wolper's production credits read like a history of Hollywood--everything from "Roots," to "Victory at Entebbe"--and his honors include an Oscar, dozens of Emmys and assorted Peabody Awards and Golden Globes. Wolper, on vacation in Grenada, could not be reached for comment on the report of his convention role.
Getting Wolper is no minor addition to the Republican effort. Both parties are aware of the television networks' resistance to anything similar to gavel-to-gavel coverage. Both are therefore making a strong bid to produce politics that entertain and enlist people. Network staff people have reportedly told both the Democratic and GOP convention staffs, however, that mere pageantry and hoopla will not yield prime-time coverage.
The Democrats came courting in Hollywood last fall when convention chief Don Fowler interviewed MCA music head Irving Azoff, then hired the production team of Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion. (Smith and Hemion worked with Wolper, doing the opening ceremonies for Liberty Weekend, but politics was unfamiliar territory for them. They hired Patricia Duff Medavoy, a veteran of the 1984 Gary Hart presidential campaign and of staff work for various media consultants and the wife of Orion Pictures chief Mike Medavoy.)
Maybe the real question now is not who the vice presidential nominees will be, but whether either convention can be made into a miniseries. . . .
BUT OF COURSE--When your desk fills up, and so does the social calendar, remember two things. First, that it's June. And second, no matter how jammed life is, there is always room for hype.
Like the letter sent by Fresno Democratic Congressman Richard Lehman to President Reagan, dated May 23 and suggesting that the California Cooler brand of wine cooler be served at the summit. Pointing out that the Reagans have served top California vintages at state dinners and formal occasions, Lehman wrote, " . . . the makers of California Cooler feel serving their product would be a wonderful way to spotlight this new wine product, which was developed in California. . . . The agricultural products of California are indeed one of our greatest assets. Introducing them to the rest of the world can only be of benefit to everyone."
Welcome to democracy and the pleasure that it and wine coolers can obviously add to your life.
TOO MUCH, TOO SOON--The weekend is jammed. In addition to big events for the Landmark School (honoring Ted Mann) and the Los Angeles Partnership for the Homeless shindig, there's the Assn. of the United States Army's Army Ball, the UCLA 43rd annual Alumni Awards and a Grand Prix Jumping Classic involving Joan Irvine Smith.
Also, Sid Caesar receives an award from the Center for the Partially Sighted, Peggy Lee hosts a party for the National Ballet of Canada--and Vice President George and Barbara Bush come to town and will be serenaded by Frank Sinatra.
The rush begins with the Crystal Awards luncheon today at the Century Plaza, where Women in Film will honor Suzanne de Passe, Lee Grant and Loretta Young and single out Henry and Stacey Winkler for the Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award.
At tonight's reception for the Canadian ballet troupe, Peggy Lee will number among her guests Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Lemmon, Gregory and Veronique Peck and Sarah Vaughan. Across town, comedian Caesar gets the "Vision Award" at a dinner featuring entertainment put together by Gary Smith. Ted Mann, chairman of Mann Theatres Corp., will be Man of the Year for the Learning Disabilities Foundation and the National Orton Dyslexia Society at "Different Heroes, Different Dreams," a variety show starring Judy Collins, Dennis Weaver, Helen Hayes, Sylvester Stallone and others Saturday at the Century Plaza. The pre-show dinner benefits Landmark School West.
AND STILL MORE--Sunday, Joan Palevsky and UCLA Professor Donald Crame pick up two of the university's 30 distinguished alumni awards at a Royce Hall ceremony. Also to be honored are UC Regent Edward W. Carter, the founder of Carter Hawley Hale, and UCLA Chancellor Charles and Sue Young. . . .
Harvey Korman and McLean Stevenson host the 5th annual Jaime Beth Slavin Celebrity Golf Tournament Monday at the El Caballero Country Club. Also teeing off will be Jack Lemmon, Robert Stack, Hal Lindon, Fred de Cordova and Alex Trebeck. Korman and Stevenson started the tournament five years ago after the death of Jaime Beth Slavin, a victim of Reyes syndrome. The tournament benefits the Reyes Syndrome Foundation.