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Braxton dress defies gravity

It wasn't gravity that kept Toni Braxton's gown in all the right places at this week's Grammy Awards.

"The dress had a thong inside, and we used double-stick tape on top," she told New York's Daily News for Friday's editions. "It stayed put all night."

The gray jersey dress, on loan from designer Richard Tyler, had half a front, no sides and no back. Tyler said 10 people already have called his Los Angeles store to request the $3,400 gown.

The 32-year-old singer, who won for best female R&B; vocal at Wednesday night's ceremony, prides herself on wearing daring dresses.

"I thought it was really sexy but classy at the same time, and I thought I should at least wear this one before I get pregnant!"

Sela treats hometown kids

Actress Sela Ward has been praised by the Mississippi Legislature for her efforts to expand a residential home for neglected and abandoned children in Meridian.

Ward, star of the TV drama "Once and Again," was joined at ceremonies Thursday in the Senate and House by her husband, Los Angeles businessman Howard Sherman, their two children and family members from Meridian, where she grew up.

The 44-year-old actress secured a $1.5 million grant for Hope for Children with help from the Entertainment Industry Foundation. "Meridian will house a state-of-the-art campus, where everything is under one umbrella. You'll have permanent housing, emergency shelters, therapeutic centers for counseling," she said.

Stars come out for Barbra

The stars came out Thursday in Beverly Hills for Barbra Streisand's Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. It was the 29th presentation of the AFI's highest honor, which has gone to such greats as John Ford, Fred Astaire, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck and Billy Wilder.

The Streisand tribute attracted the largest number of celebrities of any of the previous events, with speakers including other AFI honorees: Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Taylor, Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson. Others ranged from Lauren Bacall and Shirley MacLaine to Phyllis Diller and Bill Clinton, who appeared on film.

Hoffman recalled meeting Streisand in the early 1960s, when they worked as janitors at a Manhattan drama school to pay for their tuition. "I cleaned the men's room, and she cleaned the women's room," the actor recalled. Both appeared on a New York television station show hosted by Mike Wallace, where Streisand sat on a high stool, placed a wad of gum under the seat and sang.

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