November 21, 1988 12:00 PM

ALL MY VIEWERS: Kate Collins, who plays the wicked Natalie on All My Children, says she’s approached by “the most incredible people” in Manhattan, where the show is taped. “Many are homeless people who watch the show and follow the plot,” says Kate, whose father is Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins. “I don’t know if they stand in front of appliance stores or what, but they recognize me. They often say, ‘Hey, Natalie, why are you such a bitch?’ ” Others she repeats are more complimentary, sort of. They say, “Hey, Natalie, you look great in real life. Why do they make you look so fat on TV?”

THE PHANTOM VIRGIN: Now that opera singer Timothy Nolen has replaced Michael Crawford as Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera, he’ll be able to disregard the eight-month waiting list for good seats. Last June, after getting an audition with director Hal Prince, Nolen apologized for not having seen his predecessor in the role. “Hal said, ‘Wait a minute. You haven’t seen the show? Why haven’t you?’ ” he recalls. “I said, ‘Who can get tickets?’ ”

NO CON DO: He has cultivated an image as a hustler and con artist in plays such as Speed-the-Plow and Glengarry Glen Ross, but actor Joe Mantegna is actually as gullible as his on-stage victims. “I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch,” says Mantegna, who stars as an artful mobster in the new film Things Change. “My friends make fun of me. I once went to a car show and came home with an automatic sandwich maker. My wife said, ‘You’re the only guy who could go to an auto show and come home with a sandwich maker instead of a Chevy.’ I said: ‘No, this is great, you should see what it does!’ We used it once and it has ended up in the garage. In real life, I’m not the slick guy I am as an actor.”

GIFT RAP: Pop singer Sade does not make many trips back to her native Nigeria. “I visit very rarely because I would have to take a cargo ship,” Sade told Italy’s Corriere Delia Sera. “My grandfather had a lot of wives and still keeps eight. Therefore I have 108 cousins, without counting my acquired relatives. It would not be nice of me to show up empty-handed.”

CARRIE THROUGH: Though she has starred in two R-rated films, Sissy Spacek, who gave birth to her second daughter, Virginia, last month, exercises parental guidance. “When [eldest daughter] Schuyler, 6, was about 2, I was running her bath and she was standing in front of the TV,” said Spacek, who lives in Virginia with her husband, director Jack Fisk. “I kept calling her to come get in the tub. Finally, I went to get her, and she was watching Carrie [the 1976 horror film Sissy starred in]. I switched the channel.” Since then Schuyler has seen her mother portray other mad characters. “She liked them,” says Spacek. “She has a pretty good sense of humor and not much scares her, but I explained that the characters shouldn’t be role models.”

THEN LET GEORGE DO IT: In Michael (son of Norman) Mailer’s forthcoming film, Religion Inc., writer George Plimpton has a bit part playing an unconventional, tennis-loving God. Plimpton thinks he shares more than tennis with the Deity. “He doesn’t attend to details, and I don’t either,” says Plimpton. “I have a very messy desk, and it seems to me his is too. There’s too much misery in the world that he doesn’t take care of. The Church likes to say that it’s our fault, but I don’t think it is—I think it’s his damn fault, most of the time. I’m not sure he has sat down at his desk for quite a long time.”

WON’T STIRRUP TROUBLE: Quintessential cowpoke Roy Rogers isn’t likely to make any spurs-of-the-moment decision about getting back in the saddle. “I don’t ride anymore, not if I can help it,” says Roy, who was recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. “Since I lost Trigger, I don’t have any reason to. Besides,” added the 77-year-old Rogers, “the horses get taller every year.”

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