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By United Press International   |   July 19, 2011 at 4:00 AM

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The latest news on today's hottest celebrities ...

BETTY WHITE: Actress Betty White says she is unable accept a U.S. Marine's invitation to a ball because she will be working on her sitcom "Hot in Cleveland."

Sgt. Ray Lewis' YouTube proposal to White followed invitations extended by his fellow Marines Scott Moore and Kelsey De Santis to "Friends with Benefits" co-stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

Kunis and Timberlake have agreed to accompany the Marines to separate events.

Appearing on YouTube first in fatigues, then in his dress uniform, Lewis invited White, 89, to be his guest at a third ball.

"She's funny, she's sweet, she's mature. She's the all-around perfect woman," People.com quoted Lewis as saying of White in his video clip. "I really think we'd have a good time. I'm fun, you know. … I think I can make her laugh. I think she can make me laugh. I think we can laugh together. … So, call me!"

However, the Los Angeles Times said White had to turn Lewis down.

"I am deeply flattered and truly appreciate the invitation," White said in a statement issued by her publicist. "As everyone knows, I love a man in uniform ... but unfortunately I cannot accept, as I will be taping an episode of 'Hot in Cleveland.' Love, Betty White."


JA RULE: Jeffrey Atkins, the rapper known as Ja Rule, was sentenced Monday in a Newark, N.J., court to 28 months in prison for failing to file federal tax returns.

The sentencing by Judge Patty Shwartz came after the 35-year-old New Jersey resident admitted he did not pay his taxes to the Internal Revenue Service for five years, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey announced.

Although Atkins pleaded guilty to charges specifically related to tax years 2004, 2005 and 2006, his sentence took into account the tax loss for all five years, including 2007 and 2008 -- a total loss to the government of approximately $1,137,912.

Atkins had also agreed to file true and accurate tax returns and to pay all taxes and penalties owed to the IRS, officials said.

"Taxpayers do not have the luxury of deciding whether to comply with laws," Shwartz said at sentencing.

In addition to the prison term, which is to run concurrently with his sentence on unrelated state charges, Shwartz sentenced Atkins to one year of supervised release.

The recording artist began a 2-year prison sentence last month for gun possession in New York.

Atkins was arrested after police found an unlicensed handgun in his vehicle after a concert in 2007.


ARTIE LANGE: Howard Stern says troubled comedian Artie Lange hasn't formally asked to return to Stern's U.S. satellite radio show.

Lange was Stern's on-air sidekick from 2001 until last year, when he suffered a drug-fueled breakdown that led to a suicide attempt. Lange underwent treatment for substance abuse and depression and is now looking to perform again.

In an interview this month, Lange said he would love to collaborate with Stern again.

TMZ said Stern discussed the matter on his radio show Monday.

"Artie had said he wishes he was back on the show ... [which] stirred up a whole bunch of conversation that I don't even know how to begin to address," Stern said, adding Lange has not directly reached out to him.

Asked what he thinks of Lange's possible return to radio on a new show, Stern said: "Of course, I support it. I think it would be great. I'd like to listen to Artie. ... I'm glad to hear that he's feeling better ... I'm really pulling for him. I hope he does OK."


CHARLIE SHEEN: U.S. actor Charlie Sheen is to star in "Anger Management," a new sitcom loosely based on the 2003 film of the same name, Lionsgate said.

Reports about the project have been swirling for weeks but its producers did not confirm it until Monday.

Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, headed by co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, will distribute the series to be produced by Lionsgate Television, led by Television Group President Kevin Beggs and Chief Operating Officer Sandra Stern; Joe Roth and Revolution Studios' Vince Totino; Sheen manager Mark Burg's production company, Evolution Management; and Robert Maron.

Lionsgate said Sheen will retain a significant ownership stake in the series about a mild-mannered, non-confrontational man who is ordered to attend group anger management sessions led by a therapist who could probably use some anger management himself.

"I chose 'Anger Management' because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept," Sheen said in a statement. "It also provides me with real ownership in the series, a certain amount of creative control and the chance to be back in business with one of my favorite movie producers of all time, Joe Roth."

Roth and Sheen previously have worked together on five films, including "Major League," "Young Guns" and "Three Musketeers."

"Who better than Charlie Sheen to tackle 'Anger Management?'" Roth said. "With Charlie's incredible talent and comedic gifts, he remains the leading man of TV sitcoms. I'm excited to collaborate with him once again."

Marcus and Bernstein said in a joint statement: "Our sitcom model is all about building well-known brands around extraordinary talents like Charlie that, thanks to their large profit participation, are highly motivated to succeed. It's not every day you can roll out a sitcom featuring the star of the biggest TV comedy of the past decade."

Sheen was fired this year from his sitcom "Two and a Half Men" after eight seasons because of his erratic behavior and substance abuse, as well as for disparaging remarks he made about series creator Chuck Lorre. He made headlines by giving numerous rambling, but highly quotable interviews, then starred in a touring stage show, which was panned by both critics and fans. He has been keeping a low profile since the tour ended, however.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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