STEELY DAN Thank you for the beautiful cover picture and lovely story about Daniel Day- Lewis ( 207, Jan. 28). It is refreshing to read about such an accomplished actor who does not divulge to the world every intimate detail of his love life and family history ad nauseam. He displays class even while refusing to answer intrusive questions. Wanda Tocco Katy, Tex.
Because his image doesn't distract us from his characters, Daniel Day-Lewis' chameleon performances remain compelling and place him among today's great actors. If his need for privacy means we get to see characters as fully developed as Christy Brown, Hawkeye, Newland Archer, and other treasures, it's a concession I'm delighted to make.
Sarah Meyer San Francisco
Kudos to Lisa Schwarzbaum for creating four pages out of nothing, but please, no more ''interviews'' with Daniel Day-Lewis. Most of us own dish towels with more personality than this thespian. Mary Nilsson Marlton, N.J.
My 51-year-old mother and I saw a sneak preview of Philadelphia. We loved it. Critics say the film was too cautious with the relationship, but we didn't need explicit sex scenes or even a small kiss to understand the love the two men had for each other. Just because we live in Ohio does not mean we are uneducated homophobes. Your magazine also made me realize that I had seen some important scenes the rest of America hadn't. My hope is that they're restored in the cable and video versions. Joelle DiCarlo North Olmsted, Ohio
Like AIDS activist Larry Kramer, I might have preferred that Philadelphia have a few more scenes about the horrors of AIDS. But let's be realistic: The war against AIDS and homophobia will not be won by one movie. Kramer and others should concentrate on what the film says and what it might accomplish, not what they wanted it to say. It did not win the game, but Philadelphia is a home run. J. Watson Johnson City, Tenn.
Regarding Ron Nyswaner's comments on Philadelphia about how a scene showing two men in bed together would make history: My God, man, that's been done on thirtysomething. I know the makers of Philadelphia didn't set out to make a gay love story, but in any other film involving two lovers, we would surely see them in bed together. Producer Edward Saxon hopes that ''someday Hollywood makes a great love story where the lovers are gay.'' Do Merchant Ivory movies count? I can think of no more lush, romantic love story, straight or gay, than their Maurice. I'm just a middle-aged Indiana housewife, the kind of person whose sensibilities Hollywood feels it has to protect, but the films I adore challenge me with something subtle or ambiguous or just different. Suzanne Gerhold South Bend, Ind.
Correction: An item in the Video section inaccurately stated that the late Andre the Giant's only film appearance was in The Princess Bride. He also had a part in Micki & Maude.