February 28, 1983 12:00 PM

It was a tough way to begin a marriage. One of Lynn Herring’s first wifely duties was to help hubby Wayne Northrop answer his mail, and “some of those letters got a bit friendly,” she recalls. A particularly memorable one was from a nurse who described in graphic detail the ways she would pleasure Wayne if she ever got him under her care. Then, too, after Lynn sent Wayne off to work each day, she had the fun of turning on NBC’s Days of Our Lives and watching him make fervid love to his luscious co-star Deidre Hall. “If you want to know the truth, I felt sorry for Lynn,” Deidre purrs. “After all, what bride wants to watch her husband making love to another woman?”

Lynn admits, “It bothered me in the beginning, when they were doing all that passionate kissing. I kept telling myself, ‘It’s just the same as my acting class.’ But then I’d remember our instructor telling us we had to feel what we were doing from the inside out—and I’d get a little worried.”

Then came the clincher. Wayne Northrop, who is detective Roman Brady on the soap, and Deidre Hall, Marlena Evans, got married—in a series of four thoroughly hyped-up episodes ending Feb. 9. And who should be among the TV couple’s beaming guests on Days’ Hollywood set but Lynn and her father, Alfred Herring, a retired Air Force colonel, and mother, Nona, who were visiting Los Angeles during the January taping of the nuptials.

Some would say that was carrying being a good sport entirely too far, but both Lynn, 25, and Wayne, 35, have had plenty of practice. A few months after they met in 1980, Wayne, who was then playing Blake Carrington’s lecherous chauffeur on Dynasty, had a sizzling hot-tub scene with Pamela Sue Martin. Lynn hastily introduced him to her folks before the bit aired, and her dad says, blushing, “It’s a good thing we did meet him before those bathtub scenes went on, because we’re pretty conservative folks.” For his part, Wayne has had to watch Lynn being paraded repeatedly on TV in fetching swimsuits in Diet Pepsi and Sea & Ski commercials.

Wayne, one of the most popular hunks of soap in viewer polls conducted by daytime-drama fan magazines, and Lynn met in an acting class in Los Angeles and were married on May 9, 1981 in Jennings, La., her mother’s hometown. Wayne has brought Lynn a bouquet on the ninth of each month ever since—”We’re celebrating our 21st anniversary,” he jokes—and is still happy to declare he fell in love at first sight. “Just look at her and you can see why,” he says. It took her longer to be enamored of Wayne.

They have just bought a rustic house on one and a half acres in Topanga Canyon and he is fixing it up—slowly. “I have this ‘honey-do’ list,” Lynn complains, “but he doesn’t get much of the repairs done.” They play guitar together, ski together (he’s an expert, she’s not), plan to buy horses and ride together, and in general shun the Hollywood ramble. “We’ve become homebodies,” Wayne says. “We like to sit and listen to the coyotes and the owls. She’s more easygoing than I am, a very happy person. Sometimes I’ll bring the frustrations of work home with me. She’ll give me a boot in the rear and get me out of my mood.”

Wayne was born in the sleepy town of Sumner, Wash. (pop. 4,936), where his father was an executive in a corrugated box company. After Wayne got his B.A. in communications from the University of Washington, he did market research for a cable TV firm. Later he spent a year and a half jaunting through Europe, and when he got back to the U.S. he enrolled in Geno Haven’s L.A. acting class. Haven, who is a casting director, got him small parts on TV (Baretta, The Waltons), which in turn landed him on Dynasty for a year. He got his Days role partly because the teenage daughter of Pat Falken Smith, then the show’s writer, had been wowed by him on Dynasty and lobbied her mom to sign him. “The mail has been so great I’ve finally let a couple of ladies start fan clubs,” says Wayne.

An inveterate practical joker, Wayne has a running war with his telewife, Deidre. One day he tied her dressing room door shut with rope. She in turn threw a bucket of cold water on him as he woke up in a scene during rehearsal. “He chased me into my dressing room and threw me into the shower, clothes and all,” Deidre recalls. “I had to have my hair completely redone before I could go back to work.”

Wayne’s real-life spouse was born in Enid, Okla. and grew up as a multi-home Air Force brat, cheerleader and hotshot student. Then in 1975 she was tabbed by a scout for the Miss Virginia Teenager contest in a shopping mall in Alexandria, near where her dad was stationed. “I decided to give it a try,” she says. “I was surprised when I won.” She graduated to Miss Virginia and was fourth runner-up in the 1977 Miss U.S.A. Pageant. The money she earned went toward college. “Despite what some people say about those contests, I enjoyed them very much,” she says. After getting her psychology degree at Louisiana State University, she started on her master’s at UCLA, but beauty again got the better of brains. “I did a little modeling and got a bit part in a movie [Roller Boogie] and it was fun,” she says, “so I went to acting class instead.”

So far her career—parts on Quincy and Matt Houston and assorted commercials—is well behind his. Until a few months ago she was a blonde and, her agent says, got “a lot of those beach bunny jobs.” But now she’s back to her natural brown and hopes for more upscale stuff. She also has resumed studying for her master’s at night. “The psychology helps with the acting,” she says, “and it gives me a backstop in case acting doesn’t pan out.”

Meanwhile Deidre, Wayne’s other wife, who in real life is divorced, has a new beau of her own, a dashing Louisiana state senator named Ned Randolph. “I’m so happy for her,” Lynn says, grinning. “And I feel much safer.”

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