updated 12/20/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/20/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

The buss never stops for L.A. Law's resident lady-killer Corbin Bernsen—but don't tell his wife, English actress Amanda Pays. "I rarely watch L.A. Law" says Pays, 34, "but I did see a very, very old one the other night in which Corbin was kissing someone. He was about 30 pounds lighter and 10 years younger, and I thought, 'That's the man I fell in love with!' He's got to make a concentrated effort to shed some pounds before the year 2000." In the meantime, Pays is doing her own share of puckering up onscreen: She guest stars on The X Files (Fox, Dec. 17) and smooches with dreamy FBI agent David Duchovny. "I wanted to kiss him, and I did," says Pays. "It was the most fun I've had filming an intimate scene. Corbin will love this when he read it, won't he?"

Pat Corley plays Murphy Brown's gruff bartender Phil so convincingly that strangers often ask him, "Don't you own a bar?" No, but many years and many pounds ago, he worked a different sort of barre. "When I was 15, a friend convinced me to take ballet class to meet girls," says Corley, 62. "There were 32 girls and only eight guys, and I danced for five glorious years. I weighed about 150 lbs. and was in great shape." How does he stay fit now? "I don't," says Corley. "Do you watch the show? Acting is not a very lively occupation, unless you're doing Sly Stallone stuff. And that's not acting. That's athleticism. I always tell directors, 'I walk and I talk. I don't do stunts.' "

If Stockard Channing had followed her parents' plans, she might have become like Ouisa Kittridge, the wealthy Upper East Side matron she plays in Six Degrees of Separation. "I walked away from that life," says Channing, 49, whose father's shipping business afforded a comfortable Park Avenue apartment, private school and Radcliffe College. "I had a real resistance to it, so I ran away and joined the circus." That is, she secretly look to the stage. "With my background, acting wasn't the thing to do. I wasn't allowed to have pictures of movie stars on my bedroom walls. I started to act in college, and I couldn't give it up. But I was nervous about it socially. To this day, my mother hasn't seen much of my work. She's still not comfortable with the notion of acting."

Sure, hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky has a contract with the L.A. Kings that pays him $8.5 million a year, but the Great One's riches extend far beyond that—to his mother-in-law, Jean Jones. "She has lived with us for five years, and she's great," says Gretzky, 32, who has three children with his wife, actress Janet Jones. "She helps with the kids, and it's really nice. When you have kids, g" you're up in the middle of the night. I'm a very light sleeper, and normally our kids are in our room. But because of my mother-in-law, I still have the ability to sleep through the night before a game."

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