By Peter Castro
November 14, 1988 12:00 PM

THE WHOAS OF ROYALTY: Buckingham Palace’s equestrian ace, Princess Anne, 38, may fare well in gallop polls, but she’s always had a low approval rating among the English people. Until now, that is. “I have noticed a change in recent years, mostly after my trip to Africa [in 1984] for Save the Children,” the princess says in My Great Britons, a new book by British TV personality Emlyn Hughes. “Subsequently I have been treated a lot better. Let’s face it, before then I was often pictured as a second cousin to a horse.”

SEW IT GOES: Comedian Bill Murray’s description of hell is enough to keep anyone in stitches. In his new movie, Scrooged, due this month, Murray plays a ruthless TV exec condemned to eternal torment unless he repents. “I believe there is a hell,” Murray told London’s Daily Mirror. “I see it as a place where a team of medical students do all sorts of unnecessary operations on bad guys. Like hacking off their feet and sewing them on again, back to front.”

CAPITOL GRAINS: Though President Reagan’s term will soon draw to a close, Nancy Reagan’s attachment to the White House may prevent the first couple from peacefully moving out. “Mom’s buying sandbags,” jokes their son, Ron Reagan, now a special correspondent for Good Morning America. “She’s piling them outside the [Harry] Truman balcony. They’re going to have to fight to get her out of there.”

VEILED MESSAGE: Actor David Leisure, who’s best known for his advertisements as the pathological liar Joe Isuzu, says he discovered a startling truth about his fiancée, Kelly Hutchinson, who also appears in commercials, when he asked her to marry him this fall. “The night I proposed, I took her out to a really nice restaurant,” recalls Leisure, who’s also starring on NBC’s Empty Nest. “I wanted to ask her so badly, the ring was burning a hole in my pocket. I finally did, she accepted, and we came home—it was very romantic. The next morning I wake up, and along with her cup of coffee, there’s a wedding veil and a bridal book on the edge of the bed. I said, ‘It’s 6 a.m., where’d all this stuff come from?’ and she answered, ‘Oh, I just had it.’ I mean she was ready to rock and roll.”

POOR POPPA: Cybill Shepherd’s dad, Bill Shepherd, 65, who was unable to give his daughter away in her two real-life marriages, does the honors in Cybill’s new film, Chances Are, with Ryan O’Neal, which will be released early next year. Acting wasn’t quite as lucrative for Bill, an auto-accessories-store manager, as it was for his daughter. “I made $112,” he says. “Now I know why they have so much money in Hollywood. They don’t give any of it away.”

A KILLER DAY: Former Watergate felon and rat connoisseur G. Gordon Liddy was supposed to appear in Feds, the new comedy starring Rebecca De Mornay and Saturday Night Live alum Mary Gross, but had to bow out after a few days’ work (for personal reasons). It was, however, long enough to make a strong impression on Gross. “I had mixed feelings about him at first,” she says. “I kept thinking that when we were younger, we would be spitting on this guy, but during the filming we had a certain amount of respect for him. Maybe he’s mellowed, but he was very charming and a really good teacher. He taught Rebecca and me how to hold a gun and kill a person just by using a pencil. He was full of useful information.”

WHEEL TRUTH: In New York to tape Wheel of Fortune at Radio City Music Hall, alphabet groper Vanna White, who stars in the forthcoming NBC film Goddess of Love, was overheard fretting about the rigors of acting. “And I thought Wheel was hard!” she said.