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The Insider

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When Patti Davis made a deal in early 1996 with Knopf to write The Long Goodbye, a book about the declining health of her father, former President Ronald Reagan, who is 86 and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, she planned to spend most of her time in Los Angeles to be with him. Davis, who lives in New York City, did go to L.A. regularly for a few months but cut back considerably, according to a source close to the Reagan family, “when she realized that this goodbye might take much longer than she thought.” Instead, says the source, Davis has been calling her mother, Nancy Reagan, “every Sunday night, at the same time, to find out how her father is doing.” Mrs. Reagan complains about her daughter’s absence, adds the source, who characterizes the former First Lady as feeling “sad, abandoned and betrayed by Patti.” …

Not much escapes Joan Rivers, but how did she find out that her daughter Melissa, 29, would get engaged on Oct. 3—even before Melissa knew? Because Melissa’s fiancé, L.A. horse breeder John Endicott, 31, first went to Joan to ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage. Not only did Joan I grant permission, she gave Endicott the first diamond her late husband, Edgar Rosenberg, had given her, along with a diamond ring that belonged to Joan’s mother. Endicott had those two diamonds, plus one he had bought, made into a new ring that he gave his intended on Oct. 3. Melissa, a correspondent for E! Entertainment Television, tells me that she and Endicott met at a horse show in 1993 and now live together. “I had a suspicion something was up [before Endicott proposed],” she says, “when there were candles and flowers all over the house.” A wedding is planned for December ’98 in New York City….

At recent screenings of the drama The House of Yes, the film’s producers, Stefan Simchowitz and Beau Flynn, thought they detected snickering when “Spelling Films Presents” appeared in the opening credits. That’s Spelling Films, as in producer Aaron Spelling, father of Tori Spelling, who costars in The House of Yes with Parker Posey. Suspecting the laughter might be provoked by a perception of nepotism, Simchowitz and Flynn successfully lobbied to have the credit moved to the end of the film, which opens nationwide Oct. 24…

The closing scene in the long-awaited Blues Brothers sequel, Blues Brothers 2000, which debuts Feb. 6, is a battle of the bands. In one corner is the Blues Brothers band, which includes Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Steve Cropper, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Donald “Duck” Dunn and David Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer. And who is in the band they square off against? Oh, nobody big, just Eric Clapton, Steve Win-wood, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Rawls.