01/14/1999 AT 12:00 AM EST
Actor Martin Lawrence was alert and gaining strength Thursday after collapsing from heat stroke late last week and slipping into a coma. Kris Carraway, a spokeswoman for Los Robles (Calif.) Regional Medical Center, told the Associated Press that the 34-year-old comedian's rate of recovery was "very encouraging" and that he would not need kidney dialysis as had been feared earlier. Lawrence, in a bid to lose weight for an upcoming role, was jogging in heavy clothes Sunday in 85-degree temperatures (original reports had said the mercury hit 107) when he collapsed and slipped into a coma. Doctors said Lawrence was near death when he was brought to the hospital.
- The comic-actor was scheduled to appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Sept. 7 to promote his new movie "Blue Streak" (opening Sept. 17), but doctors do not expect he'll be able to make the appearance.