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Can Paris Hilton really clean up her act?

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Paris_lParis Hilton’s public contrition tour began this morning just after midnight with her photo-op walk out of the jailhouse, which looked more like a stroll down the red carpet, and it continues tomorrow night with a softball session with Larry King. So far so good, but let’s suppose, just for the sake of argument, that she’s actually serious about living a changed life. What else does she have to do — showbiz-wise, at least — to cease being a pop-culture joke or subject for prurient speculation, and start being taken seriously?

Not demanding money up front for a post-jail interview might have been a good start, but that’s water under the bridge now. My suggestion: First, she should hook up with the charity of her choice. Recognizing the limits of her talent would help, though the Simple Life star would make a decent TV host on a youth-oriented series. Combine the good works element with the reality format she’s best at — say, something like the environmentalist travelogues Cameron Diaz did for MTV — and she’ll be golden. Not Angelina Jolie golden, maybe not even Pam “PETA” Anderson golden, but at least with a little bit more of a halo. (You gotta better idea? Tell us, below.)

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Tom Sizemore, a demi-celebrity with actual acting talent, found himself in a Paris-like situation yesterday as he, too, was ordered to serve time for a probation violation — except his sentence won’t be just 23 days, but more like 16 months. Granted, he had a more serious rap sheet, but it’s hard not to think that, if only he could do a glam perp-stroll like Paris, he’d have gotten off with a lighter sentence.

addCredit(“Kevork Djansezian/AP”)

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