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People in the News

November 2, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bette Midler says Geraldo Rivera forced her to inhale a drug in an encounter she calls ″interview rape.″

Rivera has described their 1972 meeting in her apartment bathroom as the start of an affair and a spokesman on Saturday strongly denied Midler’s charge.

Midler gives her account in a profile of her in December’s Vanity Fair.

″You call that little thing an affair? He’s such a toad 3/8 He has the nerve ... He’s such a user,″ Midler told the writer, Kevin Sessums.

In his memoir, ″Exposing Myself,″ Rivera described a month-long affair with Midler, including a bathroom liaison.

Midler, however, told Sessums that Rivera and an unidentified producer shoved her into the bathroom and forced her to inhale amyl nitrite, a stimulant sometimes called ″poppers.″ Soon Geraldo was groping and molesting her, she told Sessums.

Jeff Erdel, a Rivera spokesman, accused Midler of making the claim to promote her new movie, ″For The Boys.″

″For her to claim Geraldo had to force her to have sex is preposterous,″ Erdel said from his home in Island Park. ″This relationship was consummated many, many, many times in several states.″

A spokeswoman for Midler was not in her Los Angeles office Saturday.


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - A photographer who dropped by parachute into Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth wedding said the failed effort to make a lucrative videotape of the occasion is costing him money and maybe jail time.

Scott Kyle Harris, 34, of Los Angeles was scheduled to appear Monday in Municipal Court on trespassing charges. He said a conviction could mean six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Harris wore a helmet-mounted video camera when he invaded Miss Taylor’s private Oct. 6 wedding to Larry Fortensky at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. But the camera malfunctioned and yielded no footage.

″I want to make one thing real clear - I am not a fruitcake,″ Harris said. ″ I was just amazed at how much money was being offered by the tabloids for a shot. They were offering in excess of six figures.

″For that kind of money, I’ll do anything,″ he said, ″as long as it’s reasonably safe and reasonably legal.″


BOSTON (AP) - Jaclyn Smith said her role in ″The Rape of Dr. Willis,″ which airs Sunday night on CBS, is the kind she’s always wanted.

Smith, 44, plays Kate Willis, a neurosurgeon, mother and recent widow who is raped in a hospital parking lot.

″I’m glad I stuck with it and developed the movie myself because this is not a character that others would have cast me in,″ Smith told the Boston Herald.


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - In a part cut out for him, Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. will appear in a Connecticut Opera Company production of ″The Barber of Seville″ that calls for him to get a pie in the face.

Weicker didn’t have to audition. Prospective pie-throwers do. The criteria will be accuracy of aim and a 25-word essay on why they should be allowed to throw a pie at the governor.

Betty Hughes, the opera company’s director of marketing and development, said this version of Rossini’s comedy about aristocratic foibles is set in the 1920s in the style of silent films. Tinkering added a pie-throwing scene and other hijinks.

Weicker, a baritone, will sing several lines usually performed by the chorus.

Weicker, widely criticized for the state’s new income tax and state employee layoffs, is being ″a really good sport,″ Hughes said.

The show goes on Nov. 21 and 22 in Hartford.


GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) - The Rev. Robert H. Schuller said he is ready to return Sunday to the pulpit at the Crystal Cathedral, two months after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.

Schuller, 65, said Friday at a news conference he planned to preach at all three Sunday services with the message: ″life’s not fair, but God is good.″

The evangelist got sick in September after hitting his head getting into a car in Amsterdam during a European tour. The resulting hemorrhage required two operations to relieve pressure on his brain.

Schuller said he received about 10,000 get-well cards and letters, from devout Christians and others.

″I am shocked at some of the people I heard from,″ he said. Well-wishers included ″entertainment industry superstars″ with ″non-Christian″ images, he said.

The letters ″were enough to make me cry,″ he said.

Schuller’s appearance was to be taped for broadcast Nov. 10 on his ″Hour of Power″ television show, carried on 145 stations in the United States, Canada and Australia.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Minnie Pearl entered a hospital for tests following up on a stroke the 79-year-old Grand Ole Opry comic suffered in June.

Miss Pearl entered Vanderbilt University Medical Center Friday and will stay a few days, Dr. Karl VanDevender said.

″She is doing well and is continuing her recovery,″ Miss Pearl’s assistant Judy Seale said Friday.

Miss Pearl, an Opry star since 1940, has made no public appearances since the stroke, which caused slight paralysis to the left side of her body. She had been active until the stroke.

Miss Pearl is known for her shrill greeting, ″How-deeeee 3/8 I’m just so proud to be here″ and for wide-brimmed straw hat with a dangling price tag.

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