Eleanor Mondale has put her budding acting career on hold and is now pursuing one in radio and television. The 26-year-old daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale and Joan Mondale has signed a one-year contract with WGN, Chicago's number one radio station. Reached yesterday at Alcock's, a Loop bar where she works part time, Eleanor Mondale said that starting next month she'll be on the air as a talk show host a minimum of 15 hours a week, with an opportunity to expand to a full-time position at the station in September.

Mondale has lived in Los Angeles for three years and was looking for "something more stimulating intellectually" than acting. When she moved into radio, she decided there was no reason to stay in Los Angeles. Also starting in September, she said she will become the Midwest correspondent for a newly syndicated television show, "The Rock and Roll Evening News." Mondale said she loves Chicago and doesn't mind the vicious winters there. But part of her special feeling for the Windy City could be her big boyfriend, Keith Van Horne, an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears.

Funds for the Arts

The Kennedy Center launched a $10 million campaign last night at the Four Seasons Hotel to support its National Performing Arts Fund, which has a goal of $42 million to be raised over the next three years. This is the center's first major fund-raising drive since the 1960s when funds were raised for its construction.

The kickoff dinner, with entertainment by the great composer-pianist Jule Styne and singer George Lee Andrews, brought out a number of local supporters and trustees, including center Chairman Roger L. Stevens, Daniel J. Boorstin, former senators William Fulbright and Charles Percy, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Jean Kennedy Smith, actress Rosemary Harris, former secretary of defense Melvin Laird and center Artistic Director Marta Istomin. The cochairmen of the event were Stuart Bernstein, Alma Gildenhorn and Henry Strong.

End Notes

House Speaker Tip O'Neill, Rep. Silvio Conte and Sens. Pete V. Domenici, Orrin G. Hatch, Daniel K. Inouye and Paul Simon hosted a reception in the Rayburn House Office Building last night for the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association. The evening's special guest was Washington Post Co. Chairman Katharine Graham. The new organization is the country's first mental health advocacy group founded by patients that focuses on a single illness . . .

Cardinal Jaime Sin, the archbishop of Manila, and Sen. Edward Kennedy are to receive the first annual Human Rights Law Awards tonight from the International Human Rights Law Group at a dinner at the National Press Club. Sin will be making his first Washington appearance since Corazon Aquino came to power. He was among the first to call for nonviolent opposition to the Marcos regime. Kennedy is being honored for his efforts on behalf of dissidents and the oppressed in South Africa, Chile and the Soviet Union, and for introducing the first legislation in the Senate to monitor the Philippines' election. Kennedy's award will be presented by Mpho Tutu, the daughter of South African Bishop Desmond Tutu. Sin will receive his from Richard Schifter, assistant secretary of state for human rights . . .

Those impersonal personals are changing. No more the mystery behind the "effervescent 23-year-old, fun-loving, intelligent, nonsmoking sexy woman executive seeking successful, happy and well-adjusted man." New York magazine has taken the suspense out of some of those ads. They are now printing color photographs with them to add a bit of truth in advertising. The person buying the personal ad clearly must be serious about it. It isn't a cheap investment: A 12-line ad with color photograph is $500. The picture, however, must also be verified . . .

Royal Watch: There was a bit of a security scare at Buckingham Palace last week when an intruder stole one of Queen Elizabeth's Land Rovers. Police said the man simply walked onto the grounds and drove off. But, police said, there was no breach of security since the royal garages do not fall within the security area of the palace. The man who took the vehicle was caught, cautioned and set free. He was not identified to the press. With the growing concern about guerrilla attacks, protection around the palace had been increased lately . . . And yesterday, a man who was arrested after the queen saw him urinating against a tree near Windsor Castle was freed after spending three days in jail. The queen saw the man as she was driving home to Windsor Castle. She was shocked and told a castle guard, who had the man arrested. He was identified as an unemployed Welshman, Tommy O'Boyle, with a bit too much to drink . . .