May 05, 1997 12:00 PM

THEY’RE OUTTA HERE

Having had a lipstick-size capsule containing less than a quarter-ounce of his ashes launched into space aboard a commercial U.S. rocket last week, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who died in 1991, has given new meaning to the final frontier. “Who better to boldly go where no one’s gone before?” says Jonathan Frakes, 44, Commander Riker in the 1987-94 series Star Trek: The Next Generation. “I think he’s smiling from wherever he is. It’s an ironic, appropriate twist, with life imitating art.” Frakes, like Roddenberry and 23 others (including LSD guru Timothy Leary) whose kin paid $4,800 each to have their remains orbit the earth for up to 10 years before being incinerated on re-entry, wouldn’t mind blasting off for his final trek. “I would be proud to have my ashes spewed in space,” he says. “I don’t want to take up any space on earth.” As for Roddenberry’s new starshipmate, Frakes says, “I think he and Leary will get along great.”

OH, MAMA!

As Nicollette Sheridan’s sexy, scheming mom on the old prime-time soap Knots Landing, Michelle Phillips wasn’t long on maternal instinct. “I’ve always enjoyed being the mother from hell,” says Phillips, 53, who returns as Anne Matheson in the reunion special Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac, airing May 7 and 9 on CBS. “Many people have said, ‘Do you behave like this with your own children?’ No, mercifully, I don’t. But it’s a good way to get out all those frustrations.” In other words, don’t expect Phillips to re-create one of her favorite Knots Landing storylines by making a play for her real-life daughter Chynna Phillips’ guy, actor William Baldwin. “But there was a kiss right after they got married that everyone commented on,” says Phillips, who smooched the groom at Chynna’s wedding to Baldwin (whose brother Alec is also a Knots alum). “It was a little too long and a little too passionate. But I’m a passionate woman. And he is cute.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST

Tom Arnold set out on a special mission before filming his lead role in the movie version of the TV series McHale ‘s Navy. “I said we’ve got to get Ernest Borgnine into the movie because that would add so much credibility,” says Arnold, 38, who insisted on tracking down the actor who starred in the ’60s sitcom. “But Borgnine wasn’t returning phone calls from Universal Studios. So I said, ‘Give me his home number.’ It was his birthday, and he was in a great mood, so he said, ‘Sure, I’ll do it.’ ” So how did the 80-year-old Borgnine, who plays an admiral, fit in with the crew? “He just took over,” says Arnold. “[Costar] David Alan Grier and I agreed, ‘Why is this guy doing a movie with us? We’re not worthy!’ ”

TURN OF THE SCREW

Rebecca De Mornay’s chilling portrayal of the psychotic nanny in the hit 1992 thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle isn’t easily forgotten, especially by her. “I’m not a creepy person, but it’s hard for people to see me as the normal girl that, unfortunately, I really am,” says De Mornay, 34. Now she gets to run scared in The Shining, the ABC miniseries adapted from Stephen King’s horror classic, airing April 27, 28 and May 1. “We shot The Shining in the actual creepy Colorado hotel where Stephen got the idea,” says De Mornay, who costars with Wings’ Steven Weber. “People from the crew reported that they’d seen their doorknobs turning in the middle of the night and felt ghosts sitting on the bed with them.” But, as much as she wanted to get into the spirit of things, normal girl De Mornay feels compelled to add, “Of course, nothing like that ever happened to me.”

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