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WIFE’S TALE: Television personality CYNDY GARVEY has just published The Secret Life of Cyndy Garvey, a raw account of her 1971-85 marriage to L.A. Dodger star STEVE GARVEY. She claims in the book that Steve was a habitual liar and womanizer. But she says now that she had completed the book before her ex was accused in January of fathering babies with two women other than his new bride, CANDACE THOMAS. “The publisher added a little epilogue. I couldn’t have written this [Steve’s recent woes] even if I’d been JACKIE COLLINS on speed. I mean, I couldn’t think that stuff up,” says Cyndy. And her advice for the new Mrs. Garvey? “Run for your life. I’m serious, because it [the lying and affairs] will happen again; it’s just a matter of time.”

WINDS OF CHANGE: Comedian CHEECH MARIN, who plays an aging hippie in his new movie, Rude Awakening, due next month, found a profitable second line of work off-camera during filming in New York. “I was dressed in this hippie garb with this long beard, long hair and bedraggled clothes,” says Marin, who co-stars with ERIC ROBERTS in the comedy about Ws throwbacks coping with the prosaic ’80s. “And three or four times, in between scenes, I’d go out and panhandle. I approached people as they got out of taxis because they had money out. I’d say, ‘Hey, man, could you help a dude out?’ On the best day I made $227, mostly in loose change. [But] it’s a tough go if it’s your living.” Did Cheech keep the cash? “Oh, yeah! I worked for it.”

EYE OF THE STORM: Since his popular good guy character, Patch, recently traded in his eye patch for a glass eye and cut his golden locks on the NBC soap Days of Our Lives, actor STEPHEN NICHOLS has been getting hate mail. “It gets a little bizarre,” says Nichols. “One woman writes me a postcard every day that says, ‘You people have no right to rape Patch. You raped his hair, you raped his patch, you raped my favorite character.’ ” As for his future on the daily drama, Nichols, who has a prime-time series in development, says, “I don’t have a five-year plan, but it’s impossible HI be here in another ten years. You just dry up inside.”

SMOOCH OPERATOR: He plays a good guy in Batman, but comedian ROBERT WUHL turned into a repeat offender while making the Him. “Getting to kiss KIM BASINGER [who plays Bat-babe VICKI VALE] wasn’t too bad, “says Wuhl, who portrays on-the-make reporter Alexander Knox in the movie. “And I didn’t get the kiss right the first time either. My mama didn’t raise a fool. I wasn’t going to get it right, come on! After take 20, or 25, I was saying, ‘ Yeah, I’m starting to get the motivation now.’ ”

NEAT-PICKING: They may have one of the healthiest marriages in show business, but talk show host PHIL DONAHUE and actress-producer MARLO THOMAS will never be sole mates. “Phil Donahue has the greatest head and heart in the world,” Thomas said during a recent speech given at a Women of Enterprise awards luncheon in New York, “but his hands and feet lag far behind. The man does not know the meaning of the word tidy. He asked me one day, ‘Where are my shoes?’ So I asked him, ‘Where are my shoes?’ I don’t know what it is about men. They think that women have radar attached to our uteruses.”