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June 04, 1998 12:00 AM

Although it has been some years since Mike Myers, 37, was a regular on “Saturday Night Live,” his Linda “Coffee Talk” Richman character — based on his real-life mother-in-law, named Linda Richman — still remains part of the lexicon, for her referring to Barbra Streisand as being like “buttah” and for feeling “verklempt” (Yiddish for, well, it’s hard to describe, actually). But now the real Richman, 59, can do her own taking for herself. According to The New York Times, the Queens, New York resident, who may have fingernails the length of those her son-in-law affected for the role but whose hair is only half the size of Myers’s Linda wig, has written a just-published book, with an introduction by Rosie O’Donnell: “I’d Rather Laugh: How to Be Happy Even When Life Has Other Plans for You” (Warner Books). It covers several tragedies in her life, from the 1990 car crash death of her 29-year-old son Jordan, to her father’s being killed by a truck when she was 8, having a mother who suffered from severe depression, marrying a chronic gambler and suffering her own prolonged bout of agoraphobia (a fear of leaving her home), from 1964 to 1975, which were the developmental years of her daughter Robin (now married to Myers). This left The Times to inquire what the good news was. Well, since 1998 Richman has been lecturing on loss at Tucson’s Canyon Ranch spa and is now a professional motivational speaker. “I’m a very ordinary woman who met with extraordinary things,” she told The Times. And though her son-in-law’s name, she concedes, opened doors for her, “if I didn’t have a universal message, no one would give me the opportunity to publish a book.”

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