It was one of those news flashes that make one pause and say, "I might have guessed it." The bulletin revealed that Tammy Faye Bakker had always done her own makeup. But Wednesday, she spent six hours in a beauty shop for a makeover, and her PTL partner and husband Jim Bakker reportedly loves the new look.

The fallen television evangelists have been staying in San Francisco on Melvin Belli's plush yacht, and Lia Belli, the flamboyant lawyer's wife, took Tammy Faye to a beauty shop where she underwent the changeover between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 1 a.m. Wednesday. The Bellis had seen the hot-selling T-shirts that make fun of Tammy Faye's heavy makeup, and Lia Belli said she told Tammy Faye that makeup is an illusion and "why don't you let me show you the tricks." Her new makeup is lighter, and the bouffant hairdo is toned down, with the color changed to a "honey tint." There goes the smeared-T-shirt business. Now if only Jim Bakker would grow a British regimental mustache ... In Mailer's Defense Several well-known writers have issued a charge in a letter published in The New York Review of Books that federal officials have denied parole to a convicted hashish smuggler in order to pressure him into implicating his friend, celebrity author/actor/director Norman Mailer. In the letter, nine writers, including George Plimpton, Gay Talese, Peter Matthiessen and William Styron, say the convict, former literary editor Bernard (Buzz) Farbar, "will continue to suffer because of the government's continued hope that somehow, through the enormous pressure being brought to bear on him, they will be able to 'get' Mailer."

Farbar is serving a six-year term at the federal prison in Loretto, Pa., for smuggling tons of hashish into the United States from Lebanon. Mailer testified as a character witness at Farbar's trial in Manhattan three years ago. There was a court affidavit filed in 1983 charging that federal agents had attempted to implicate Mailer in a drug operation. Mailer was not available for comment on the writers' letter. Joe Krovinsky, a spokesman for the U.S. Parole Commission, said he was unaware of anyone putting the squeeze on Farbar. As for the parole, he added, "you've also got to look at his crime. He brought 140 kilos of hash into the country in 1979, 75 kilos in 1980 and seven tons in 1981. That's a lot of hash." Out and About Lt. Col Oliver North's performance before the Iran-contra committee was theater, and so The New Republic had a film critic explain how North dominated the hearings. In the latest issue, David Denby, the New York magazine film critic, said North possesses the rich ambiguity of Gary Cooper, the bad boy's ears of Clark Gable, Joan Crawford's direct gaze, Clint Eastwood's joking mildness, with antecedents in Henry Fonda and especially Jimmy Stewart, and John Wayne's swaggering touches, the "almost masochistic readiness to suffer, endure, die." With all that Hollywood glitter, no wonder North seemed to outnumber that group of mere senators and House members ...

Unlike Ollie North, Rear Adm. John Poindexter did not wear his uniform and ribbons when he testified. But his wife was there watching -- in her uniform. Linda Poindexter, who was ordained as an Episcopal priest seven months ago, wore her white collar. An assistant to the rector at the Church of the Ascension in Gaithersburg, Linda Poindexter said she wears her clerical collar every day because of her work. She had worn the collar the first day at the hearings but it wasn't as noticeable, since she was wearing a white blouse. Yesterday she was wearing a black blouse ...

"Dynasty" star Joan Collins was planning to return to her home in Beverly Hills yesterday after a European trip, so on the street near the home they once shared, her estranged husband Peter Holm showed up to picket. In the latest in the ever-developing soap opera of the Collins-Holm marriage, Holm carried a sign that read: "Joan, you have our $2.5M 13,000-sq. ft. home which we bought for cash during our marriage. I am now homeless. Help!" After their brief marriage, her fourth, Holm is also seeking a tidy $80,000 a month in temporary support from Collins. He does have a certain life style to maintain. It isn't likely that Holm will move into Mitch Snyder's shelter here ...