Mitchell Fink
May 12, 1997 12:00 PM

Although she has been wowing critics since taking over Nathan Lane’s role earlier this year in Broadway’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Whoopi Goldberg found herself stumbling during an April 27 performance when she completely blanked on the first-act song “Free.” Try as she might, she couldn’t remember a single word. “Sorry, y’all,” she told the audience. “This is God’s way of telling you that you are too old for the perils of live theater.” She then turned to costar Jim Stanek and jokingly pleaded, “Just shoot me.” (He complied by pulling a tiny dagger from the belt of his toga.) Finally, with some prompting from the conductor, the Whoopster finished her song, and the audience, which loved the gaffe, gave her a standing at the end of the show….

Northern Exposure alum Janine Turner is pregnant, although her spokeswoman won’t say when the baby is due or even who the father is. What I can tell you is that Turner has now abandoned plans to appear opposite Fargo star William H. Macy in Pascagoula, a quirky drama that he co-wrote for the USA Network about a female con artist. According to her rep, Turner, 34, is now “relaxing on her ranch in Texas and is over the moon” about having her first child. Does Turner intend to be a single parent? “At the moment, yes,” her rep says….

While Don Johnson, 47, freely admits that he dates Jodi O’Keefe, the 18-year-old actress who plays his daughter, Cassidy, on his CBS series Nash Bridges, he wants to put the kibosh on the persistent rumor that they are engaged. Johnson’s longtime spokesman Elliot Mintz insists his client “has never proposed to Jodi, never given her a ring, but they do see each other, yes.” And that, he adds, does not mean anything permanent, like marriage, is in the offing. “He’s tried that,” says Mintz. And twice, no less, with actress Melanie Griffith (1976-77 and 1989-95)….

Among the happily hitched, however, is Mykelti Williamson, who played Tom Hanks’s shrimping mentor Bubba in Forrest Gump. He married actress Sondra Spriggs (Turbulence) on April 26 in Los Angeles. Hanks did not attend the wedding, but Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett and fiancé Courtney B. Vance, Edward James Olmos and director William Friedkin were among those who did. Williamson is currently appearing in the film Truth or Consequences, N.M. and has a featured role in Con Air, the action thriller that opens June 6. Oh, and by the way, no shrimp were served at the reception….

Sharon Lawrence, who now stars in the NBC sitcom Fired Up, was asked at the Broadway opening of Titanic whether she would appear again on NYPD Blue, the show that helped launch her career. Replied Lawrence: “I’d be more than willing, but not if they only had me changing diapers.” As Blue‘s Assistant DA Sylvia Costas, she had a baby last season with her TV husband, Det. Andy Sipowicz (played by Dennis Franz). Lawrence, who is under no contractual obligation to return, laments that in her last days on the show her character “was becoming boring” and had “nothing to do.”

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