USA TODAY

Monday, April 30, 1990

Written by Eric Allen

Quote: "KRAMER QUITS 'HUNTER' TO SING A NEW SONG

Stepfanie Kramer, star of NBC's Hunter, isn't playing life safe, and that's the way she likes it. The

actress is giving up her six-year role as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall on the high-rated series to record an

album.

Is it silly to give up a sure thing? "It depends upon your perception," says Kramer, 31, whose

character contemplates marriage and a move abroad in a two-part season finale beginning tonight

at 9 EDT/PDT. "It came down to something I knew I had to do - honoring my truth".

"Basically, I had to be free from anything that would not allow me to go forward in my life and

forward in my careers. TV doesn't allow you to expand. My creative walls were met years ago on

this series." For Kramer, it's time to pursue the singing career she has dreamed of since childhood.

"I can no longer not sing. It would be like asking me not to breathe - it's nourishment for my

soul."

Kramer disputes tabloid reports of feuding with co-star Fred Dryer, saying, "Fred knows how

important my music is to me, so he was excited for me. He was supportive of the choice."

Aside from being a high-rated, first-run show in the USA, Hunter racks up big bucks in

syndication and is the No. 1 show in Brazil and China. With Kramer's departure, the show's

producers have to fix something that wasn't broken. Dryer's detective character is returning to the

streets in uniform.

More importantly, the search is on for a replacement for Kramer, a woman who executive

producer Larry Kubik says will be "different looks, different in attitude - a totally different

character."

Hunter made Kramer famous, but "I'm not banking on my notoriety on the series to carry me into

music. Many individuals have merely jumped on the bandwagon of hype to make a quick killing

on their success on a series or film. I'm in it for the longevity of a career."

Although classically trained as a mezzo soprano, Kramer's music has been compared to the

Pretenders and Heart - "pop music with a rock underbelly." Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils

Lofgren is producing her LP, due in early summer.

The performer is "not going to stop acting, not by any means," but will balance features and

music. She travels to Rome in May to film a remake of Three Coins in a Fountain with Nicolas

Cage and Laura Dern. Currently single, Kramer distances herself from the Hollywood social

scene and spends much of her free time traveling or reading about sciences, religion and

philosophy.

Kramer's personal philosophy is that "everyone must take chances, challenge yourself and change.

If you don't have a change, you're not growing. And if you're not growing, you're not really

living. "As far as stretching the boundaries of the envelope, why not?"