Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Mike Nichols made headlines this week

PULLING PUNCHES? Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took a beating in Arnold, the 1990 unauthorized bio by Wendy Leigh, gets the kid-gloves treatment in a new coffee-table volume, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Smithmark Publishers). ”I was more interested in looking at his uncanny knack for picking hits,” explains biographer Brooks Robards, professor of mass communication at Westfield (Mass.) State College. ”I wasn’t looking for scandals,” she says. And so such interesting chapters in Schwarzenegger’s life as his father’s alleged membership in the Nazi party and his longtime rivalry with Sylvester Stallone rate only a brief mention from Robards, who nonetheless didn’t seek cooperation from Arnie’s camp….

‘LIGHT’ INVITE: The hottest daytime party invitation in New York right now is the 55th anniversary black-tie-optional fete for CBS’ Guiding Light on June 18 at Maxim’s. While the bash is not unusual — soaps pat themselves on the back all the time — the invite is, bearing the request that ”any guest who has a food allergy carry an antidote kit.” We can almost see the soap plot now: 500 guests at a party, Roger has a violent allergic reaction to the crab puffs, and then to be continued….

DOCTORING HIS RÉSUMÉ: How do you prepare to play an obsessed doctor who amputates the limbs of an accident victim with whom he falls in love? Julian Sands (Naked Lunch) is researching his role in Boxing Helena, the kinky psychodrama directed by David Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer, and costarring Sherilyn Fenn, by posing as a surgeon at San Fernando Valley hospitals. ”It’s amazing what doors open to you when you put on a white coat and walk purposefully down a hospital corridor,” says Sands, who has gotten to visit patients’ rooms, peruse medical charts, and watch operations….

HIS HITLER: Mike Nichols has spent a cool million of his own money for the movie rights to Robert Harris’ Fatherland, an if-Hitler-were-alive novel just published by Random House. The project is already in development at Columbia, with Nichols producing and Chris Menaul (Prime Suspect) directing….

KICKING, THE HABIT: Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, and Laura Dern are getting into the fitness fad that Jean-Claude Van Damme made famous. All have taken up kickboxing at trainer Stephanie Steele’s Venice, Calif., gym. Says a Pfeiffer spokeswoman, ”She works out every day but did kickboxing especially for her Catwoman role in Batman Returns, and she loved it.”

Pat H. Broeske, Alan Carter, Michael Szmanski, Tina Jordan, Harold Goldberg