Kurt Russell, who played minor league baseball for three and a half seasons, has been giving his throwing arm a workout on the set of The Best of Times, co-starring Robin Williams. Russell plays a high school quarterback whose team loses the championship game when a third-string receiver (Williams) fumbles the ball. The game is replayed 13 years later with Russell and Williams back on the field knocking heads with some notable extras. Among them: Russell's stunt double Mike Ernst, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Oilers center Jim Romano, Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Steve Riley, Green Bay Packers linebacker Mike Douglas, Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Herman Edwards, N.Y. Jets punter Chuck Ramsey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman Kelly Thomas and John Sanders, former assistant coach for the Oilers. Despite a shoulder injury that ended his baseball career, Russell, 33, makes many of his own passes in the movie. Says Sanders, "He may not be good enough to play pro ball, but he could play for some colleges."
Elsewhere on the pro football circuit, L.A. Rams running back Eric Dickerson, 24, who broke O.J. Simpson's NFL rushing record for one season, is following O.J.'s lead into showbiz. In conjunction with Playhouse Pictures, Eric is developing a weekly animated cartoon called The Eric Dickerson Show, planned for next fall. Dickerson will be portrayed as the owner of a sporting goods store in Sealy, Texas (Eric's hometown) who helps troubled kids—and, of course, plays a little football.
FOR SALE: Barry Manilow, 38, singer-songwriter, will write the songs if you write the checks. Available to appear in commercials for any corporation that will sponsor and promote his 50-city tour, beginning in June. Also offered: exclusive sponsorship of his CBS-TV movie, Copacabana, to air in September, in which he makes his dramatic acting debut. Interested parties may contact the Vail Group Inc., L.A.
Alexander Godunov's star is rising in the West, following rave notices for his performance in Witness. The Russian ballet dancer, who defected in 1979, will host a one-hour ABC special about entertainment in America that will air in May....
Word is that Tina Turner has been offered the role of Shug Avery in the Quincy Jones-Steven Spielberg film adaptation of Alice Walker's best-seller The Color Purple....
Eddie Murphy will star in a remake of the 1950 comedy Last Holiday, about a man who's told he's dying and decides to live it up at a swank resort. Alec Guinness was in the original.
Sweden's Dolph Lundgren, an international martial arts champion, is learning to box Hollywood style for his role as Sly Stallone's Russian opponent in Rocky IV. Their big bout will be one of the first scenes filmed when shooting gets underway in April. "By then, we'll be in great shape," predicts Dolph. He has been working out with Stallone four hours a day at a boxing complex built for the movie by MGM and at a weight-training gym in Santa Monica, where Lundgren has been getting pointers from champion bodybuilder Lou (The Incredible Hulk) Ferrigno. Lundgren, who passed up studying chemical engineering at MIT to pursue an acting career, will make his film debut as a KGB agent in the next James Bond flick, A View to a Kill, starring Lundgren's ferocious girlfriend, Grace (Conan the Destroyer) Jones. Though he recently changed his screen name from Hans to his grandfather's middle name, Dolph, Lundgren maintains a pragmatic philosophy about acting. "If I get my brains beaten out in Rocky IV," he says, "I might decide to go back to MIT."
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