It looks as though Washington writer Larry Leamer has a best seller in his new book, "As Time Goes By: The Life of Ingrid Bergman." Leamer is kicking off the March 6 publication of his Harper & Row book with a black-tie or Moroccan dress sit-down dinner for 200 at the Marrakesh restaurant here. Why that restaurant? Well, as you remember, one of the incandescent Bergman's most famous movies was "Casablanca," another city in Morocco, so why not a Moroccan restaurant? And, besides, Rick doesn't have a place here.
The first printing of the book is 57,500 editions. Itis a Book-of-the-Month Club alternative, has already been excerpted by People magazine and will be auctioned later this month for paperback rights with a beginning bid of $125,000. Leamer is planning to do his next biography on uncooperative superstar Marlon Brando. Leamer says he has written three unanswered letters to the actor, but he's not discouraged. "I've always wanted to write this one on Brando ," he said. "I'd kill to do it." A Popular Act on the Hill
Peter, Paul and Mary and some of the other entertainers performing at tonight's Free South Africa concert at the Kennedy Center are going to be kept busy on the Capitol Hill social circuit. At 8:30 tomorrow morning, Sen. Howard Metzenbaum and his wife Shirley are hosting a breakfast for the entire Senate and their spouses in Room S211 in the Capitol. That's pretty early for entertainers who have worked the night before. The breakfast is to honor Peter, Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, Harry Belafonte, Odetta and Lou Gossett Jr.
This afternoon, Peter, Paul and Mary will be the honored guests at a Congressional Arts Caucus luncheon in Room 1302 of the Longworth House Office Building. New York Rep. Thomas Downey is hosting the luncheon for some 60 members of Congress. The famous trio will also sing for their luncheon. End Notes
Maryland Sen. Charles McC. Mathias has been awarded the first Milton S. Eisenhower Distinguished Professorship in Public Policy at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Mathias, who ends 26 years in Congress, 18 of them in the Senate, next January, will lecture for four weeks a year . . .
Alaskan Gov. Bill Sheffield underwent his second angioplasty operation in four months yesterday in Seattle to clear a blockage. Sheffield, 57, underwent the same procedure last October when it was discovered his right artery was 90 percent blocked. He was listed in "fine" condition and is expected to be out of the hospital tomorrow . . .
On Friday, Pocket Books is publishing "Challengers: The Inspiring Life Stories of the Seven Brave Astronauts of Shuttle Mission 51-L." The 192-page book is written and edited by 21 staff members of The Washington Post and includes in-depth profiles on each astronaut who died in the Jan. 28 Challenger explosion. All the earnings from the book are being contributed to one of the funds established for the astronauts' children . . .
"Out of Africa," one the season's biggest hits, may have received 11 Academy Award nominations, but the film is receiving a lukewarm reception in Kenya, where it was filmed. One of the main reasons is obviously political. The Sydney Pollack film focuses on the east African nation's colonial period. "There is not a single Kenyan who comes out strong," the Kenya Times said. "They are . . . the romanticized 'houseboys' -- servants whose existence seems to be owed to the presence of the 'memsahib' and their various masters" . . . Actor Sean Penn has been behaving so badly in his dealings with photographers that comic Alan King had something to say on the subject before leaving on a 17-day camera safari to Kenya. Asked if he was a good photographer, King answered: "Not bad, but with my luck I'll probably run into Sean Penn."