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Belafonte stumps for civil rights

He sang no songs, but Harry Belafonte issued a heartfelt call to focus anew on the nation's civil rights concerns in a speech Tuesday to lawmakers and fans at the Minnesota Capitol. The entertainer supports a bill to send $1.5 million toward a new Roy Wilkins Center next to St. Paul's RiverCentre. The new facility eventually would house a civil rights tribute.

Wilkins was a St. Paul native who led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for more than 20 years. He died in 1980. Belafonte called him "a good man, a great man who made life better for all of us."

Buffy, the bachelor slayer

Sarah Michelle Gellar could now be called Buffy, the bachelor slayer. The actress is engaged to wed fellow teen-cinema icon Freddie Prinze Jr. A wedding date hasn't been set yet. Gellar, star of the WB's "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" TV show, announced the engagement Saturday night at a party celebrating her 24th birthday, according to Entertainment Tonight.

She and Prinze, 25, met on the set of the 1997 teen slasher flick, "I Know What You Did Last Summer." They have dated for nearly a year and are currently filming a live-action movie based on the "Scooby-Doo" cartoon series.

Sheen can't save the world

Martin Sheen is pessimistic about the planet's health. "I don't know if we can repair what's been done already, I really don't know, and I don't know if anyone does," the star of NBC's "The West Wing" said after learning the Sierra Club will honor him.

"With global warming and the gases that are already trapped, and with no real awareness in sight, with the nuclear proliferation and with the cutting down of the forest in the Third World just to burn fuel, to cook food, to keep warm, I mean it's just horrible.

"We're at a stopgap now. If we started now, just to try and conserve what's left, that would be an achievement. But, I don't know if even that's possible."

'Friends' bends gender roles

In a forthcoming episode of "Friends," smoky-voiced Kathleen Turner will play Matthew Perry's father. Yes, you read right, his father. A special hourlong episode scheduled to air May 17 will contain a scene in which Monica (played by Courtney Cox Arquette) discovers the father of Chandler (played by Perry) doing a drag act at a nightclub. Turner will play the gender-bending patriarch, who will be shown sitting atop a piano belting out a rendition of "It's Raining Men."

And who will play the cross-dresser's lovely wife? It's gotta be somebody with bigger hair and even higher cheekbones. So the producers called on prime time's vamp queen, Morgan Fairchild.

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