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The daily dish ... a spicy serving of celebrity news

Hudson may testify at trial

Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is on the witness list for the upcoming Chicago trial of the man accused of killing her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008, according to court documents.

But prosecutors haven't yet disclosed whether Hudson will actually testify at the April 9 trial of William Balfour, who was the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, Julia.

Hudson told investigators that she talked to her mother in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood every day and knew something was wrong when she hadn't heard from her by late in the morning of Oct. 24, 2008, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Several hours later, Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death in the family's home. The body of her nephew Julian King, who was Julia Hudson's child from a previous relationship, was found days later in a vehicle several miles away. Police recovered a gun near the vehicle and have linked it to the shootings.

Hudson told investigators she'd known Balfour since childhood and had advised her sister against marrying him. She said the family didn't find out about their 2006 marriage until months after it happened. Prosecutors have argued that Balfour killed the family because he was angry that Julia Hudson was dating another man.

Jennifer Hudson, 30, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2007 for her role in "Dreamgirls," was in Chicago with her family about five days before the killings.

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Streep answers the call

Meryl Streep has donated $10,000 to a charter school in the struggling Rhode Island city of Central Falls after a plug from fellow actress and hometown favorite Viola Davis.

Angelo Garcia, founder and director of the Segue Institute for Learning, says the check from Streep's Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts arrived Monday. A note said it was on behalf of actress Davis, who grew up in Central Falls.

Both Davis and Streep were nominated for the best actress Oscar this year, with Streep winning the award Sunday night.

The Segue Institute has more than 200 students in grades six through eight.

Garcia, who grew up with Davis, says the school is trying to raise money to buy the building it's in or find a new location.

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Spader leaving 'The Office'

Actor James Spader's stay at "The Office" will be short.

NBC said Monday that Spader, who appeared in last season's finale and more this year as the oddball boss Robert California, won't be back next year. NBC sought his star power to help make up for the absence of Steve Carell, who left the Thursday night comedy last spring.

Paul Lieberstein, the show's executive producer, said NBC's initial commitment to Spader was only for last year's finale. But he said Spader's scenes proved so compelling "that those two scenes became a season."

-- From News and wire services