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Picture of patriotism ...
Brittany Murphy is doing her part to keep our boys in Iraq at attention.

The "Sin City" siren slipped into some lacy underthings for Maxim. Now Maxim editors are airlifting 40,000 copies with a message from Murphy to the war zone. "Taking that picture was the least that I could possibly do" for the troops, Murphy tells the New York Daily News.

The actress sent a special shout-out to her Marine cousin, who's stationed there with the other "American bravehearts."

Simmons returns ...
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is returning to Def Jam, the label he created two decades ago.

Simmons, 47, sold Def Jam for $100 million in 1999 but hasn't strayed far from the business. Over the years, he's expanded Def Jam into television (HBO's "Def Comedy Jam"), Broadway ("Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry") and several clothing lines. Simmons announced this week that he will head the Russell Simmons Music Group, a joint label with Island Def Jam Music Group, and that his first album will be a new disc from his brother, the Rev. Run, a founding member of Run-DMC and now an evangelical preacher.

Simmons also reports MTV has greenlit a reality show, "Run's House," that will chronicle the life of his brother and his five children. "It's the first functional family on television. It's like Bill Cosby on steroids. They live next door to me and Kimora, and we're heathens!" said Simmons, referring to his wife, Kimora Lee.

Court docket ...
"American Pie" star Chris Klein is facing a drunken driving charge in San Diego.

Klein, 26, was charged by San Diego County Sheriff's deputies last month with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol content of .20 and above. A mug shot of the actor was published on the Web site of the Smoking Gun, which first reported news of the arrest. Klein was arrested under his full name, Frederick Christopher Klein.

A Kennedy honored ...
Katie Couric praised Caroline Kennedy for handling the "privilege and pressure of her last name" while presenting her with an award this week in Charlottesville, Va., during a forum named after Couric's late sister.

Kennedy was honored for her education advocacy work with the Fund for Public Schools in New York Wednesday during the Emily Couric Leadership Forum, held in honor of the late state senator from Charlottesville. Kennedy called the nation's public schools a "national crisis in our urban areas... The kids are not getting the opportunities they deserve."

"It's great to be back in Charlottesville," said Couric, a University of Virginia graduate. "But I was concerned that I was going to have to cancel given the news of Britney Spears' pregnancy."

Celebrity birthdays ...
Sunday: Actress Olivia Hussey is 54. Actor Sean Bean is 46. Singer Maynard James Keenan of Tool is 41. Actress Jennifer Garner is 33.

Monday: Actress Barbara Hale is 84. Actress Hayley Mills is 59. Actor Rick Moranis is 51. Talk-show host Conan O'Brien is 42. Actress Melissa Joan Hart is 29.

Tuesday: Actor Hugh O'Brian is 80. Actor Tim Curry is 59. Hip-hop mogul Suge Knight is 40. Actor James Franco is 27. Actress Kate Hudson is 26. Actor Hayden Christensen is 24.

Wednesday: Actor Ryan O'Neal is 64. Actress Jessica Lange is 56. Singer Luther Vandross is 54.

Thursday: Actor Charles Grodin is 70. Actress Andie MacDowell is 47.

Friday: Actor Eddie Albert is 97. TV producer Aaron Spelling is 82. Actor Jack Nicholson is 68. Singer Peter Frampton is 55.

Next Saturday: Actor Lee Majors is 66. Director Michael Moore is 51. Actress Judy Davis is 50. Actress Valerie Bertinelli is 45.

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