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Bill Berry Leaving R.E.M.

November 1, 1997

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Saying brain surgery caused him to shift priorities, R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry has decided to leave the band.

``I joined the school band in the fourth grade and I’ve been playing in a musical ensemble ever since,″ Berry said at the group’s office in Athens. ``It’s been great, it’s been a wild ride but I’m ready to get off.″

His departure marks the first lineup change for the band, which has produced two No. 1 albums in its 17-year history.

Berry underwent surgery in March 1995 after suffering an aneurysm.

``Lying in a hospital bed for three weeks made me kind of look at things a little differently and shift priorities,″ he said Thursday.

The remaining three members said they would not permanently replace the 39-year-old Berry.

``I think it’s a very courageous move for Bill to make,″ lead singer Michael Stipe told the Athens Banner-Herald. ``We’re backing him in his decision, as sad as it is.″

The band’s members had said R.E.M. would cease to exist if one of them left the group.

``Well, we also said, probably more often than that, that we would do this until it wasn’t fun anymore,″ Berry said. ``It’s not as much fun for me, it’s still fun for these guys.″


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ Stung by criticism that he guided too many tourists to Montana’s best fly-fishing streams, Robert Redford is being vague in the credits of the new movie he filmed in the state.

Film publicist Kathy Orloff said the credits for ``The Horse Whisperer,″ which opens on Christmas, will say only that it was filmed ``in a river valley near Livingston.″

``He decided he didn’t want to pinpoint where we filmed because he wanted to protect the seclusion of that special place,″ she said. ``He was hurt when he was criticized for the attention `(A) River Runs Through It’ brought to the state.″

Much of ``The Horse Whisperer″ was filmed in Sweet Grass County near Big Timber.

State film commission director Lonie Stimac said some people in the area would be disappointed.

``The credit is usually a way to say thank you to people who helped them, so it’s not exactly a snub, but it deprives them a little,″ she said.


DETROIT (AP) _ Since May, General Motors Corp. has been running ads urging people to lease a Catera. ``Who is Lisa Catera?″ the spot whimsically asks.

She didn’t exist until Wednesday, when Dr. Lisa Catera showed up as a new character on the CBS drama ``Chicago Hope.″ Executive producer John Tinker says the commercial inspired him to name the character, played by Stacy Edwards, but GM didn’t pay for the tie-in.

Still, GM knows a good gimmick when it sees one. The company has started running commercials for the entry-level luxury car on the show.

``For our purpose it was a nice tie-in,″ said Michael Oxman, senior vice president at DMB&B advertising, which has GM’s Cadillac account.

GM even trumpeted, ``Catera would be a perfect car for someone like Dr. Catera.″

Sorry. Dr. Catera drives a Volvo.


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ It wasn’t all she wrote after all.

Angela Lansbury, who played Jessica Fletcher for 12 seasons on ``Murder, She Wrote,″ returns to network television to star in ``Mrs. Pollifax.″ The actress plays a bored housewife who ends up working as a CIA agent.

The show begins shooting in mid-November primarily at locations in Ireland and France.


NEW YORK (AP) _ Twenty years after Roman Polanski was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, the now married mother of three has gone public for the first time.

Samantha Geimer, 34, gave an interview to ``Inside Edition″ that aired Tuesday and Wednesday.

``I really wish this would be over, that he would reach agreement with the courts, no longer be a fugitive,″ said Ms. Geimer, who lives in Hawaii.

Polanski, the director of ``Chinatown″ and ``Rosemary’s Baby,″ was charged with rape and five other felonies. The other charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, but Polanski fled the country in 1978 before being sentenced.

Polanski’s lawyers have been negotiating with prosecutors in an attempt to allow him to return to the United States.

Ms. Geimer had given interviews in the past, although she didn’t want her name used. She told ``Inside Edition″ that she wouldn’t call the episode rape, but the sex was not consensual.

``I perceived it as he made me have sex with him,″ she said. ``The word `rape’ for me always brings to mind for me a level of ... violence that wasn’t there.″

Polanski has said Ms. Geimer was a sophisticated teen who willingly had sex with him. Ms. Geimer says he coaxed her with drugs and champagne.

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