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Tuesday, Dec 5, 2023

Show Biz

George Hamilton and Merv Griffin are planning to bring the actor’s early days to the big screen in a motion picture that could be a modern-day version of “Mame.”

The idea for the film, which will be released by Beacon Pictures, began at a lunch late last year with Griffin, Hamilton and producer Robert Kosberg.

For years, Hamilton has been regaling people at cocktail parties about his glamorous mother, Anne, and her wacky ways. The three agreed to try to make the film, and screenwriter Charlie Peters was so taken by the project that he wrote a spec script. That script made its way to Beacon, which is now looking for a director.

What appealed to Griffin and Beacon was the story of Anne Hamilton. Like Auntie Mame, she married her way through life.

Kosberg says Anne is said to have been “as beautiful as Vivien Leigh.” A Southern belle, she married a bandleader, only to discover that he was having an affair while she, George and his brother were living in New York. Angered by the philandering, Anne gathered her sons into a car and headed west to pursue a career in Hollywood.

During the trip, she gave George a map that listed cities where old beaus lived, hoping that she might solve her financial plight by marrying one. George drove the family across country in a Lincoln Continental convertible he had bought for $1,000 even though he was only 14 years old and an inexperienced driver. Although they had little money, the trio stayed at four- and five-star hotels along the way, surviving by their wits.

When they arrived in Los Angeles, they continued to live large.

“They somehow lived in a mansion, but without any money,” Kosberg said. “When George pulled into MGM for an audition, he drove a Rolls Royce; he didn’t own it, but it looked good driving onto the lot. It was just one example of how he lived like a celebrity, but couldn’t afford it. He was still able to pull it off with style and panache. He learned it all at his mother’s knee.”

Although her movie career never took off, Anne Hamilton found herself socially linked to Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart. She ultimately married four times, the last time to Jesse Spalding, the “tennis ball king.”

KTLA-TV Channel 5 anchorman Hal Fishman is celebrating his 40th anniversary this year as a TV journalist, 35 of which have been spent at KTLA, and he has no plans to quit.

“I am currently the longest-running news anchor in the history of the TV industry,” said Fishman, whose contract expires in October. “I have been on the air continuously for the last four decades.”

A political science professor by trade, Fishman first went on the air in the summer of 1960 to report about the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. “Forty years later, they are coming back,” he said.

Fishman, a licensed pilot who holds 12 international aviation records, according to his bio, must be doing something right at the news desk. For the first 12 days of the May sweeps, KTLA was the No. 1 news station in Los Angeles at 10 p.m.

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