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By United Press International  |  Feb. 24, 2012 at 4:00 AM
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DAVID CROSS: Actor and comedian David Cross told Playboy he snorted "a tiny granule" of cocaine at the 2009 White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington.

Cross, 47, is best known for his work in the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" family films, as well as TV's "Mr. Show," "Arrested Development" and "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret."

"It was just about being able to say that I did it, that I did cocaine in the same room as the president. I'm not proud of it, nor am I ashamed of it," reported Cross said in an interview for Playboy magazine's March issue.

"It was a tiny granule of coke that I put on my wrist and said: 'Watch this. I need a witness.' And then I ducked under the table and did it. It wasn't like I got high."

STAR JONES: Star Jones, former co-host of "The View," returned to the New York talk show as a guest for the first time in the five years since her abrupt departure.

Show star and executive producer Barbara Walters told Jones in 2006 her contract had not be renewed for the following season. At the time, Walters said Jones could finish out the season and tell people what she wanted about why she wasn't coming back.

Jones then announced on the air she was leaving immediately, taking Walters and her other co-hosts Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck by surprise.

Welcomed as a guest to appear on Wednesday's edition of "The View" to raise awareness about heart disease, Jones was quickly grilled by Walters about how and why she left the show nearly six years ago.

"Oh, Barbara, are you really gonna go there?" the New York Post reported Jones said. "Do we care, at this point in my career? I honestly don't."

Walters explained she brought up the matter because "people ask us all the time" why Jones left the show.

"What happened was your contract was not renewed, and [co-producer] Bill [Geddie] and I said to you: 'You can say whatever you want. You can say you have another assignment.' We were trying to protect you. You said, yes, you were going to do that -- instead, you surprised us on the air. Why did you do that?" Walters asked.

"It was ugly," Jones said. "Everything was ugly. It was a bad emotional time, there were nasty, ugly things being said in the media. It was just not a good emotional time. I made the decision I wanted to go out on my own terms. I wanted to control it."

Behar also pressed Jones to admit she had her co-stars repeatedly lie for her, saying her drastic weight loss in 2003 was due to diet and pilates, not bariatric surgery.

"We were trying to protect you a lot when you were here," the Post quoted Behar as saying. "We were told: 'Don't say it was gastric bypass. Say it was pilates.'"

"I said, 'Don't talk about my private way I decided to lose weight,' because when you all had private things, I did not discuss it," Jones said. "I know you guys didn't understand why, in this place that should have felt like my home, I didn't feel safe enough to come out and talk about it."

THE OSCARS: Christian Bale, Colin Firth, Melissa Leo and Natalie Portman are to be presenters at Sunday's 84th Academy Awards show in Los Angeles, telecast producers said.

Both Bale and Leo earned Oscars for their supporting roles in "The Fighter" last year.

Firth and Portman took home Academy Awards for their lead performances in "The King's Speech" and "Black Swan," respectively, at the 83rd edition of the prize presentation.

Previously announced Oscar presenters include Halle Berry, Rose Byrne, Bradley Cooper, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Michael Douglas, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Zach Galifianakis, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich, Ellie Kemper, Jennifer Lopez, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep and Kristen Wiig.

CYNDI LAUPER: A stage musical based on the British film "Kinky Boots," with a book by Harvey Fierstein, and music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, is to premiere in Chicago.

The show's producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig said the Windy City engagement in October will precede an anticipated Broadway run.

"'Kinky Boots' is the kind of joyous, inspirational musical that we love and are excited to share with audiences," Roth and Luftig said in a statement Wednesday.

The musical is being directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.

Based on a true story, the show follows Charlie Price, who is forced to step in and save his family's shoe factory in Northern England, following the sudden death of his father. He meets a fabulous drag performer named Lola and, together, they not only revitalize the nearly bankrupt business, but also help one another grow into the men their fathers always dreamed their sons would become, a synopsis said.

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