Liz Smith reports that Channing will play the lead role of Margo Channing in the March 30 benefit, and John Ritter will play her lover, Bill Sampson.
Channing won a Tony Award for her performance in Joe Egg; her numerous Broadway credits include Two Gentlemen of Verona, No Hard Feelings, They're Playing Our Song, The Rink, The Golden Age, The House of Blue Leaves, Love Letters, Six Degrees of Separation, Four Baboons Adoring the Sun, The Little Foxes and The Lion in Winter. Also a star of film and television, the actress was awarded two Emmys at the 54th Annual Emmy Awards — a Supporting Actress (Drama Series) Emmy for her work as the country's First Lady on the NBC series "The West Wing," and a Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie trophy for her portrayal of Matthew Shepard's mother in the NBC movie "The Matthew Shepard Story."
Best known for his work on TV's "Three's Company" and the current "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," John Ritter made his Broadway debut in Neil Simon's The Dinner Party.
As previously reported on Playbill On-Line, the 4 PM benefit for the Actors' Fund of America will feature a reading of Joseph Mankiewicz's original screenplay for 20th Century Fox. Based on Mary Orr's "The Wisdom of Eve," the classic film concerns a young aspiring actress (Eve) who insinuates her way into the life (and career) of Broadway star Margo Channing. Those actors already lined up for the reading include Angela Lansbury as Birdie, Blythe Danner and Victor Garber as Karen and Lloyd Richards, Tim Curry as Addison de Witt, Carl Reiner as Max Fabian and Melissa Manchester as the pianist.
Playwright David Rambo has adapted the screenplay for the starry event, which will be directed by Gordon Davidson. D. Martyn Bookwalter is the reading's lighting designer and John Gottlieb the sound designer. Celeste Holm, who starred as Karen Richards in the original film, will chair the event, and Tom Mankiewicz, the screenwriter/director's son, will be the honorary chairperson. "All About Eve" will be held at the Ahmanson Music Center of L.A. County, located at 135 North Grand Avenue. Tickets, ranging from $40 to $1,000, are available by calling (800) 221-7303, ext. 133. Go to www.actorsfund.org for more information.
The 1950 film "All About Eve" starred Bette Davis as Margo Channing, Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington, George Sanders as Addison De Witt, Holm as Karen Richards, Gary Merrill as Bill Sampson, Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd Richards, Gregory Ratoff as Max Fabian, Barbara Bates as Phoebe, Marilyn Monroe as Claudia Casswell and Thelma Ritter as Birdie Cooper. The movie was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning the prize for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (George Sanders); Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Edith Head and Charles Le Maire); Best Director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz); Best Picture (Darryl F. Zanuck); Best Sound, Recording; and Best Writing, Screenplay (Mankiewicz).
The Actors' Fund of America is the only national non-profit organization that provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals.