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Gary Coleman Taking Date to Oscars

March 25, 2000 GMT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ A marketing analyst who paid $4,000 for her dream date with Gary Coleman is getting a second outing with the actor, and this time it won’t cost her a dime.

The former ``Diff’rent Strokes″ star planned to take 23-year-old Jennifer Vanlerberghe to the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.

``It’s just for kicks,″ Vanlerberghe said Friday. ``I mean, I get to go to the Oscars.″

Vanlerberghe, who lives in Charlotte, and Coleman went on their first date after she bid on him in December during UGO.com’s Web auction to raise money for the bankrupt actor.

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Coleman is a columnist for UGO.com.

``He needed a date, and we thought of Jen,″ said UGO.com publicist Sabine Heller.

Designer Robert Danes loaned her a $3,500 gown to wear _ and yes, the 6-foot-2 former basketball player will don heels.