The Insider

updated 04/10/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/10/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NO STRINGING ALONG AT THE OSCARS

Tennis ace John McEnroe went to rehearsals last Monday afternoon for the 67th Academy Awards expecting to play guitar during girlfriend Patty Smyth's scheduled performance of her Oscar-nominated song, "Look What Love Has Done," from Junior. But, says a source who was there, Mac never got to play because the show's producer, Gil Cates, nixed the gig, fearing McEnroe's presence would create "a circuslike atmosphere." In fact, Cates was prepared to get another singer if Smyth protested, but she didn't....

Quincy Jones didn't have his ticket to the post-Oscar Governors Ball with him and was therefore briefly denied entrance to the event. He did get in, but only by holding up the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award he had just received on TV....

And, here's one last Oscar tidbit: at the Miramax party at Chasen's, a guest asked a women's room attendant if the lacquered blonde who had just swept by was Madonna. "Nah, that's just a Madonna wannabe," the attendant said. Wrong. It was the real deal....

This week's obligatory O.J. item: A real estate agent looking to sell a $500,000 house near the infamous site on South Bundy Drive where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered has attached a note to the house's spec sheet that advises brokers and potential buyers, 'Think ahead. After the trial is over this will once again be a quiet street and a tranquil neighborhood in prestigious Brentwood."...

The upstart WB television network has ordered a pilot for a new version of 77 Sunset Strip, the ABC series that ran from 1958 to 1964 and starred Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith and Edd Byrnes. The latter was the show's breakout star as Kookie, a fast-talking parking-lot attendant with a natty pompadour and an ever-present comb. Newcomer Timothy Olyphant, once a collegiate swimmer and stand-up comic, has been cast as the new Kookie. A source close to the project says Olyphant got the part "mainly because of his amazing hair." Byrnes, 61, who does occasional guest shots on TV, just finished cowriting his autobiography, Edd Byrnes: Kookie No More, and is now looking for a publisher....

As a guitarist, Dirk Ziff may not be as proficient or as famous as Eric Clapton, but I'm betting he's richer. Ziff, who plays lead on Carly Simon's single "Touched by the Sun," is among the former majority shareholders of Ziff-Davis Publishing, the company Ziff and his brothers sold last fall to Forstmann Little & Co. for a reported $1.4 billion. Says Simon of Ziff, who also played on her recent tour: "Dirk is extremely natural as a player, and he has the right attitude." Fine, but does he ever pick up the check for all those postconcert sodas and M&M's?...

Finally, you can stop wondering whether Joey Buttafuoco has forgiven Amy Fisher for shooting his wife, Mary Jo, back in 1992. He hasn't. On the May 1 installment of Leeza Gibbons's talk show, Leeza, Buttafuoco says he hopes Fisher "gets hers and dies in prison like Jeffrey Dahmer. And when she does, I will go out and eat cake." Having seen Buttafuoco on TV recently, I suggest that he forgo the cake in favor of a nice plate of fresh fruit.

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