12/17/1984 at 01:00 AM EST
It's not easy to sympathize with a reporter who has sunned with Brooke Shields
, toured Victoria Principal's bulletproof bathroom and shared private moments in kitchen conversation with Linda Evans, all in the line of duty. But Los Angeles correspondent David Wallace argues that he deserves combat pay for all this Platonic intimacy. "Celebrity journalism is not physical labor, like stoking a furnace," he admits, "but it is emotionally trying. You have to become close to people so they will reveal themselves, but then you have to separate yourself from their problems." One way to get close is to interview the celebrity at home. "It's telling to see them in an environment they've created for themselves," he says.
With his good looks and sympathetic charm, Wallace, 50, soothes wary stars. Says Dynasty co-creator Esther Shapiro, "David tells the truth, and you can trust him." In over three years of contributing show business stories to PEOPLE, this trust has helped Wallace score numerous coups, including an interview with Robert Wagner after the death of his wife, Natalie Wood.
This week David contributes another exclusive: the imminent birth of Krystle Carrington's long-awaited baby on Dynasfy (page 64). The TV story line caused star Linda Evans to examine her own feelings about motherhood, and she told David of her wishes for a child of her own. "Linda is completely down-to-earth," says David, adding, "She would make a wonderful wife for someone." In contrast he finds Joan Collins "witty and theatrical." She has a peach-and-white bedroom that "gives the effect of the Hollywood Bowl at dawn."
David's ease with celebrities may come from a childhood in the spotlight. He was born in Kansas City and is the nephew of the late Bess Truman, wife of the President. He grew up in what became the Trumans' summer White House in Independence, Mo.
After a career in public relations, David, a University of New Mexico political science grad, became a freelance journalist in 1978. The divorced father of one son, 7-year-old Christopher, he begins his day shortly after 6 a.m. and avoids the Hollywood party circuit in favor of a network of trusted showbiz contacts. Even neighbors pique his curiosity. "The people across the street take their parrots out for a drive every day," he muses. "Now I wonder what that's about."