October 03, 1988 12:00 PM

Groucho Marx once said he didn’t want to belong to a club which would have him as a member, but he may have made an exception for the Groucho Club, a private London showbiz hangout founded three years ago in honor of Marx’s membership dictum. According to manager Liam Carson, Prince Edward is eager to become a full Groucho-ite joining members Julie Christie, John Cleese and Paul Simon. “He has asked,” says Carson, “and we’re thinking about it.” The theatrically inclined Edward, who works nearby at the Palace Theatre as a production assistant for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Company, has become a regular Groucho guest at lunch.

Nearly two years after its scheduled release, Brooke Shields‘s Brenda Starr movie, based on the comic strip, just may open in early 1989. She plays the flame-haired reporter, and Timothy (The Living Daylights) Dalton is Basil St. James, her eye-patch-wearing knight in a shining serge suit. The release was held up by legal wranglings between the distributor, New World, and the producers. Now New World head Bob Rehme says, “We’ve resolved the differences.” Director Robert Ellis (Reuben, Reuben) Miller says, “I forget what they were fighting about. But I really like the movie, and I want to see it out.”

Henry Winkler, for whom the Fonz is but a dim memory, will direct Tom Hanks in Disney’s Turner and Hooch, a movie about a detective and his dog. Shooting will start early next year. Winkler’s maiden effort as a movie director, Memories of Me with Billy Crystal and Alan King, opens this week.

Both ABC and CBS could have saved a lot on those six-figure wardrobe budgets for their Liberace TV movies if they’d featured Liberace at home. His longtime publicist, Jamie James, says Liberace wore plain, often old, clothes and little jewelry when he wasn’t performing. Sometimes he didn’t change his pants for a week or would wear the same sweat suit for two weeks. James says Liberace’s housekeepers had to sneak his clothes into the wash.

Shirley MacLaine, who doesn’t play the piano, apparently didn’t channel up the late Arthur Rubinstein’s help for her role as an eccentric keyboard teacher in Madame Sousatzka, the Cineplex Odeon/Universal movie opening Oct. 14. Instead, classical pianist Yonty Solomon was asked to teach her to fake it convincingly as she fingered a dummy keyboard. “She picked it up quickly because she is a dancer,” says Solomon. “Basically she choreographed her fingers to the music. It could take her 10 years to learn to play what she learned to look like she was playing in 10 hours.”

Some cameo roles are louder than others. In the forthcoming film version of Tama Janowitz’s Slaves of New York, occasional Late Show fashion commentator Diane Brill, mostly known for hanging out in New York nightclubs, shows up jogging in Central Park wearing black capri pants, leather wrestling boots and a fitted green T-shirt. “I’ll probably be in 3-D,” says the voluptuous Brill. In real life, she is taking time off from her perpetual party-going to write an advice book titled, not at all tentatively, Boobs, Boys and High Heels: Or How to Get Dressed in Under Six Hours.

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