August 15, 1988 12:00 PM

SOIL-MATE: Heather Locklear, in her first leading role in a movie, locks lips with the herbaceous Swamp Thing, a creature from the deep muck, in The Return of Swamp Thing. “Since my character owns a plant shop, it’s only natural she should enjoy making love to a plant,” says the Dynasty star. So how was smooching with the Swamp Thing compared with hubby Tommy Lee, the drummer for rock’s Mötley Crüe? Apples and oranges, Locklear says: “One’s a plant and one’s an animal.” And, as for rumors that their marriage is in trouble, Heather wants it known that “that’s nonsense. He’s still my heart-stopping, heavy-metal hero.”

NINETYSOMETHING: When Michael Dukakis picked Lloyd Bentsen to be his running mate, Democratic Party matchmakers immediately seized on another Dukakis-Bentsen team: Why not fix up the Duke’s 84-year-old mother, Euterpe, with Lloyd Sr., the veep nominee’s colorful dad? According to the Washington Post, when the subject of “Mr. Lloyd” came up, Euterpe was listening. “How old is he?” she wondered. Told Bentsen père was 94, she vetoed the plan. “That’s too old,” she complained. “I’d have to take care of him.” Subsequently the two were introduced. Mr. Lloyd now advises would-be Cupids: “Maybe they should ask her again,” he says with a big grin, “now that she’s met me.”

HEROIC FEET: NBC’s Connie Chung loves being footloose at the national political conventions. She says scrambling through the throngs to collar news-making politicos reminds her “of the old days covering Watergate, running down a lot of marble steps after the likes of John Dean and John Haldeman. I could get just about anywhere, flying over walls, hurdling fences.” Of course, all that derring-do was before her 12 sedentary years behind an anchor desk. “When I got to Atlanta for the Democratic National Convention,” reports Chung, now 41, “I looked at my feet and said, ‘These dawgs can’t run anymore.’ But when you know you have to get that story, those ol’ dawgs will run.”

MIRROR, MIRROR: Actor Robert Englund, a normal enough looking guy off-screen, has been affecting charred skin and mossy teeth for the past five years as Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger (the latest sequel, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, opens this month). Playing Freddy is his job, but sometimes, Englund says, he gets stuck with the uglies after hours. Literally. “Sometimes at the end of the day, I don’t get all the makeup glue off,” says Englund. “It’s really frightening to see in the mirror the next morning while I’m gargling my mouthwash. There’s glue around my eyes and one lid is stuck down. I look like Peter Lorre after a bad night.”

ONE FOR THE HEART: When Arlene Francis was a regular panelist on TV’s What’s My Line? In the 1950s, the diamond heart necklace she wore sparked a national trend. The necklace was a cherished gift from her late husband, actor-director Martin Gabel, who gave it to her on their first anniversary in 1947. “I never took it off,” says Francis, 79. Then last month, while walking in Midtown Manhattan, a thief snatched the necklace from her throat and ran away. She was crushed at first, but now it isn’t quite so hard to smile. “Tennessee Williams was right. Count on the kindness of strangers,” she says. “Today, I got a dollar from a taxi driver. He told me, ‘This isn’t much, but put it toward the replacement fund.’ It could break your heart.”

AN ITCH IN TIME: St. Elsewhere’s Howie Mandel says that despite being married to wife Terry for eight years (they have a 3-year-old daughter, Jackelyn), he’s not scratching the proverbial seven-year itch. “Last year, I didn’t have an itch,” says Howie, “but I did get a rash. Besides, this business about a seven-year itch is nonsense. There’s no such thing as a seven-year itch,” he assures. “It happens right around four years.”

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