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updated 09/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The invisible man
Producer-rapper Jermaine "JD" Dupri shares the mike with Mariah Carey on the new single "Sweetheart" off Dupri's debut album, Life in 1472 (The Original Soundtrack). Then why does the pop diva hog the camera in the song's video? "Mariah's definitely on fire, so it makes guys want to watch it more," reasons Dupri, 26, who produced Carey's 1996 No. 1 hit "Always Be My Baby." "And even when I'm watching her sing, I feel like that's me because I produced the record. You just don't see me." Dupri, who also produced recent hits for Usher, Monica and Aretha Franklin, dismisses rumors of a rivalry with another ubiquitous hip-hop talent: Sean "Puffy" Combs. "There's definitely no bad blood," he says. "We both know how to make people dance with our music."

Kissed off
Playing the polygamous husband of Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox and Lela Rochon in the Frankie Lymon biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love called for a peck of "kissy-face scenes," according to lead actor Larenz Tate. "The first move when you're getting married multiple times in a movie is to buy a giant bottle of Listerine," says Tate, 23, who stars as the '50s pop singer. "You want to taste fresh for each new bride." Even so, smooching his three sexy costars left a bad taste in Tate's mouth. "It was terrible," he says. "Halle would come in and say to me, 'Did you kiss her today?' I wasn't even sure which 'her' she was talking about, but I would bow my head and nod as in, 'Yes, I've strayed.' "

Working the Late shift
Conan O'Brien will mark his fifth anniversary as host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien with a prime-time special airing Sept. 16 on NBC. "I've never had a job as long as this one," says O'Brien, 35, who succeeded David Letterman in 1993. "The only thing that I've done as long as this show in my life was elementary school." Now the comedian gets to play with the big boys in prime time. "This will be the first time I'm seen by people who are fully awake," he says. "It could be a disaster. I think one of the reasons our show has stayed on the air is when a comedy bit goes dangerously awry or we do something that's over the line, people aren't sure in the morning whether they actually saw that or not."

Heil-raiser
In the afterlife drama What Dreams May Come, due Oct. 2, Robin Williams stars as a doctor who dies and goes from heaven to hell to save his doomed wife (Annabella Sciorra). "I came home after work, and when my wife asked, 'How was work?' I said, 'It was hell,' " quips Williams, 47, who is married to movie producer Marsha. Could Williams use a little spiritual healing before his own Judgment Day? "Do I attend church every Sunday? No. Do I try and lead a fairly Christian life? Yes. Have I ever had any inappropriate behavior? Yes, years ago. Have I messed up any dresses? No."

Baby steps
Jane Krakowski, who plays Ally McBeal's secretary Elaine, twirls with Chayanne in the musical romance Dance with Me. So is she ready to go toe-to-toe with Ally's famous Dancing Baby? "I don't think we would ever be in the same competition," says Krakowski, 29. "But the baby would win, because the baby is far cuter than I am. I love the way that Dancing Baby moves." But Krakowski does not rule out a pas de deux with the computer-generated hoofer. "I do so many things on Ally that I never expected to do on national television," she says, "so it's feasible that I could dance with a baby in a law office."

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