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By United Press International   |   Sept. 22, 2011 at 4:00 AM

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The latest news on today's hottest celebrities ...

R.E.M.: American rock band R.E.M announced on its Web site Wednesday it has broken up after more than 30 years.

"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band," the group said in a statement. "We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."

Bassist Mike Mills remarked separately:

"During our last tour, and while making 'Collapse Into Now' and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, 'What next'? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together. We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this -- there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We've made this decision together, amicably and with each other's best interests at heart. The time just feels right."

"A wise man once said -- 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it," front man Michael Stipe added. "I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way. We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It's been amazing."


CHAZ BONO: Chaz Bono says his entertainer mother Cher was shocked, but proud by his first performance on the U.S. TV competition series "Dancing with the Stars."

Bono was asked by "The Talk" co-host Molly Shannon Wednesday what his mom's reaction was when he told her he was going to be on the show.

"I think she was very supportive, but a little surprised because I'm just not known as the performer guy in the family," the author and gay and transgender rights activist replied.

Bono said his mother stayed away from the tapings of first few episodes of the show because she didn't want to upstage him.

"I think she will come, but she's very sensitive and knows if she came the first night, she could've overshadowed my performance and she didn't want to do that," he said.

So, what did Cher think of Bono's very first on-air dance with professional partner Lacey Schwimmer?

"Pretty shocked. Yeah," Bono said. "She was so proud. She cried when she saw it. So yeah, she's been so supportive, and I've been having really bad problems with my knees and ankles and she sent somebody over to work on me last night, which was really great because I do need all the help I can get at this point."


STEVEN SPIELBERG: The Producers Guild of America says it plans to honor producer, director and writer Steven Spielberg with its 2012 David O. Selznick Achievement Award.

The prize will be presented to Spielberg, who also is a principal partner of DreamWorks Studios, at the 23rd annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony Jan. 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The Selznick Achievement Award recognizes a producer's outstanding body of work in motion pictures. It has been bestowed in past years upon Stanley Kramer, Saul Zaentz, Clint Eastwood, Billy Wilder, Brian Grazer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Roger Corman, Laura Ziskin, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, John Lasseter and Scott Rudin.

"As one of the most prolific filmmakers of all time, Steven's continued genius, imagination and fearlessness in the world of feature-film entertainment is unmatched in this industry," Producers Guild Awards co-chairs Paula Wagner and Michael Manheim said in a statement Wednesday. "Steven has produced some of the most iconic films in the history of cinema and we have no doubt he will continue to bring thrilling adventures, emotionally moving story-lines, thought-provoking characters and cult classics to audiences across the globe. We're extremely proud to recognize Steven's contributions to the producing craft as well as the entire film industry with the David O. Selznick honor."

"David O. Selznick is a true legend in the producing field, and I am tremendously honored to be associated with his name and to join the company of so many distinguished filmmakers who have received this accolade," said Spielberg. "I am extremely grateful to the Producers Guild."

Spielberg's films include "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," the Indiana Jones franchise, "Jurassic Park," "Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "The Color Purple," "Amistad" and "Empire of the Sun."


JON HAMM: Lionsgate says it has acquired Red Granite Pictures' "Friends with Kids," which recently screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

The announcement was made Wednesday jointly by Steve Beeks, Lionsgate's president and co-chief operating officer; Joe Drake, co-chief operating officer and motion picture group president; and Jason Constantine, president of acquisitions and co-productions.

The film is Jennifer Westfeldt's directorial debut, following the two critically acclaimed independent films she previously wrote and starred in -- "Kissing Jessica Stein" and "Ira & Abby."

Westfeldt co-stars in "Kids" with Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns.

"I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with the great teams at Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions on the release of 'Friends with Kids,'" Westfeldt said in a statement. "Their passion for the project and the subject matter, along with their commitment to finding a broad audience for our film, make them the dream partners for us."

"We are long time admirers of Jennifer, and this is an excellent directorial debut," Constantine added. "She's made a high-concept comedy that thoroughly entertains as it explores one of this generation's central quandaries, and everyone on the Lionsgate and Roadside teams who saw the film related to it not just as executives, but as parents or partners. This movie has comedy, heart and truth in equal measures, and it will be a delight to bring to audiences."

The film is about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. The last two singles in the group observe the effect kids have had on their friends' relationships, then decide to have a child together, but date other people, Lionsgate said in a synopsis.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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