The Insider

updated 10/03/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/03/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

SEA OF LOVE

It seems that the romance between Ellen Barkin and actor David Arquette is more than just an on-location fling. The 39-year-old Barkin, who's getting a divorce from Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, met Arquette, 22, this past summer on the set of Wild Bill, a western about "Wild Bill" Hickok due out next spring. Though production wrapped in August, sources tell us that Barkin and Arquette are still often seen "doing L.A."—going from trendy club to trendy club.

So is it serious? Arquette's rep declined to discuss the actors' relationship. Barkin's rep says only that "they're friends."

SHARING THE WEALTH

Mega-selling author Danielle Steel, who has a five-book, $60 million contract with Delacorte, spends far more time plotting her books than writing them. According to The Lives of Danielle Steel, a new unauthorized hardcover biography by PEOPLE correspondents Vickie Bane and Lorenzo Benet, which is due out in October from St. Martin's Press, Steel takes as much as a year to plan a book, then manages to turn the idea into a completed manuscript in just 10 to 14 days. Rewrites go even faster, taking between two and five days.

Steel, 47, may be parsimonious with her writing time, but she isn't, evidently, with her royalties. The bio reveals that in 1989, Steel spent about $100,000 on a catered 58th-birthday party held at her home in San Francisco for her fourth husband, retired shipping executive John Traina, and another $250,000 on his birthday gifts. In 1993, when Steel's then 5-year-old daughter Zara graduated from kindergarten, her reward was 18 Barbie dolls, outfitted in haute couture gowns and furs worth almost $20,000.

A ROSY FUTURE

Actress Patrika Darbo may have got her big break when she landed the starring role in NBC's forthcoming TV biography of Roseanne, but someone at the network neglected to tell the security guard at the NBC lot in Burbank about it. Recently, when Darbo arrived at the gate for a meeting with producers of Roseanne and Tom: Behind the Scenes, the guard refused to let her in, claiming her name wasn't on his list. But Darbo hadn't come this far to be shut out. She got into character and, invoking the aggressive style that made Roseanne a household name, Darbo screamed at the guard, "Open up the goddamn gate!" And he did, quickly.

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