October 11, 2001 11:00 AM

The father of Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” was found dead in his East Side Manhattan apartment on Tuesday morning, police said. Arthur Gellar, 60, was found in his bed and there were no signs of trauma, according to authorities. The medical examiner’s office was scheduled to do an autopsy on Thursday. Leslie Sloane, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s publicist, confirmed that Arthur Gellar was the TV star’s father, but declined any comment. Father and daughter were estranged, Sarah Michelle has said in interviews. Gellar’s mother, Rosellen, 51, a former New York City nursery school teacher, was divorced from Sarah’s father when her daughter was 7, PEOPLE reported this year. (By which time, Sarah had been in show business three years, after first appearing in commercials by the age of 4. Sarah won a daytime Emmy at 18 for “All My Children” before joining “Buffy” in 1997.) Since January of 2000, Sarah has dated actor Freddie Prinze Jr., 25, and they announced their engagement last Easter weekend. Prinze’s father, Freddie Prinze, star of the ’70s sitcom “Chico and the Man,” committed suicide in 1977 at the age of 22 while addicted to prescription drugs.

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