March 03, 1997 12:00 PM

>UNLIKE HER FATHER, WALTER, ELEANOR Mondale knows how to stage a comeback. After 14 years as a reporter for shows like Rock and Roll Evening News and Great American TV Poll that fizzled and go-nowhere guest shots on programs such as Three’s Company and Dynasty, the daughter of the former Vice President now holds down not one but two TV jobs. “My schedule is crazy, but I’m pretty damn happy,” she says.

Since November, Mondale, 37, has been grilling newsmakers like Jane Fonda and Debbie Reynolds as entertainment contributor on CBS News’s This Morning. “She has great contacts,” says Jim Murphy, the show’s executive producer. “She does the gamut from serious to light.” It’s been an eye-opening experience for Mondale, who reports from L.A. “A car picks me up at 3:30 a.m., I’m ready [to go on air] at 5:30 and finished by 6,” she says. Then it’s over to E! Entertainment Television, where since November ’95 she’s been going one-on-one with Spago regulars like Mel, Jodie and Antonio as host of her weekly series, Uncut.

Now auditioning for sitcoms, Mondale has hired an acting coach. “I have more self-confidence than I did when I was in my 20s,” she says. “There was a point when I almost gave up. I couldn’t feed myself. I couldn’t feed my pets.”

These days, Mondale lives with her well-fed dogs Marci and Fiona in her Hollywood Hills home. Unattached after two failed marriages (to former Chicago Bears tackle Keith Van Home and disc jockey Greg “Thunder” Malban), she remains close with her dad, who is again practicing law after serving as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and with mom Joan, a board member of many cultural institutions. “They’re my biggest fans,” Mondale says.

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