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NEWSMAKERS: Martin Lawrence 'Just Happy to Be Here'

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Martin Lawrence is just glad to be alive.

In an interview on Thursday's "Entertainment Tonight," the comic actor ("Martin," "Blue Streak") spoke out for the first time about his brush with death in August, when he collapsed while jogging and lapsed into a coma.

Martin Lawrence "It kind of woke me up and made me appreciate life ... and just be happy to be here," Lawrence, 34, told "ET." "You make due with the time you have here. Hopefully when you pass on, somebody can look back and say, 'Wow, they made a difference in some kind of way.'"

Lawrence's mistake was running while wearing several layers of clothing in hopes of sweating away some excess poundage for his role in "Big Momma's House," which is now in production (after a delayed start due to the star's hospitalization).

Lawrence spent three days in a coma and underwent physical therapy to regain his motor skills when he revived.

"I had to learn to walk again and all kinds of stuff. It was a real traumatic experience. You go under, your functions, everything shuts down," Lawrence says. "Your bowels, everything. Everything goes. It was real scary."

GRAMMY GRUDGE: Big, bad, bass-voiced Barry White isn't forgiving and forgetting.

Martin Lawrence A day after the lovemeister won the first two Grammy Awards of his three-decade-long career, the soul singer openly criticized the music industry's annual pageant, saying the voting process is corrupt. Apparently he's still ticked that he lost the Best New Artist award for his first platinum album, "Can't Get Enough," all the way back in 1974. (Bette Midler won instead.)

"I should have got it. I was the best new artist," White told Reuters from his San Diego home. "You don't forget things like that, man. You know there's something wrong. There's corruption or something going on. ... It's not a fair organization. A lot of things determine who wins Grammys. Record companies, how much money they give in their parties. It's all suspect to me."

White says he won't forget his 1974 snub "'til the day I die. I'll never forget that, man." As for his two fresh Grammys, he says, "I was thankful and everything, but it was a very short thankful, believe me."

White did not attend Wednesday's ceremony. Obviously.

OBITUARY: The Israeli pop star who recorded the theme song for the 1998 biblical toon "The Prince of Egypt" died from organ failure at a Tel Aviv hospital Wednesday. Ofra Haza was 41. She had been hospitalized for 13 days.

HONORED: Clint Eastwood will be presented with the Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement at the 57th Annual Venice Film Festival, launching Aug. 9. Eastwood's latest directorial effort, "Space Cowboys," which stars Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner, Donald Sutherland and Eastwood himself, will premiere at the Italian fest.

WHAT ABOUT 'HAPPY GILMORE'? So, serious director Martin Scorsese listed his 10 favorite films of the 1990s for The Hollywood Reporter this week. And -- surprise!-- his compendium featured a bunch of highfalutin' foreign films with a few recognizable titles thrown in for good measure.

Mr. "Goodfellas" says his fave of the decade was Chinese director Tian Zhuanzhuang's "The Horse Thief." He also liked Wu Nien-jen's "A Borrowed Life," Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut," the Coen brothers' "Fargo" and Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves," among others.

KEANU'S IN THE HOUSE: Keanu Reeves, bassist for the alt-rock band Dogstar and occasional A-list actor, is set as a presenter at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards on March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. It'll be the second time the "Matrix" dude has handed out an Oscar. We just thought you'd like to know.

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