(born December 1, 1945) is an
American singer, actress and comedienne, also known (by her
informal stage name) as The Divine Miss M
her career, she has been nominated for two Academy Awards
; and won four Grammy Awards
, four Golden Globes
, three Emmy
, and a special Tony
Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
She is the daughter of seamstress/housewife
house painter Fred Midler, who worked at a Navy base in Hawaii.
parents were from Paterson, New Jersey and moved to Honolulu before Midler was
She was named after the actress Bette Davis
, though Davis pronounced her first
name in two syllables, and Midler uses one, . Midler's family was
one of the few Jewish
families in a mostly Asian
neighborhood. She was raised in nearby Aiea and attended Radford High
School in Honolulu.
She was voted in Hoss Election
1961 "Most Talkative" and in her Senior Year (Class of 1963) "Most
Dramatic". She majored in drama at the University of Hawaii
(though she only
attended for three semesters) and earned money in the film
(released in 1966) as
, playing a seasick
passenger named Mrs David Buff in the
Midler's manager and boyfriend for a significant period was
. Midler married Martin von Haselberg
(Harry Kipper of
her opening act the Kipper Kids
December 16, 1984 in a chapel in Las Vegas
. Two years into their
marriage she had a daughter, Sophie Frederica Alohilani von
Haselberg, on November 14, 1986. Sophie graduated from Yale in 2008
with a degree in Sociology and a minor in East Asian Studies.Her
double in Outrageous fortune was Rhonda Tipton.
In 1995, Midler founded the New York Restoration Project
non-profit organization with the goal of revitalizing neglected
neighborhood parks in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of
New York City. These include Highbridge Park, Fort Washington Park, and Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan and Roberto Clemente
State Park and Bridge Park in the Bronx.
In 1999, the city planned to auction 114 community gardens
development. Midler led a coalition of greening organizations to
save them. NYRP took ownership of 60 of the most neglected plots.
Today Midler and her organization work with local volunteers and
community groups to ensure that these gardens are kept safe, clean
and vibrant. In 2003, Midler opened Swindler Cove Park, a
new public park on the Harlem River shore featuring specially designed educational
facilities and the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse, the first community
rowing facility to be built on the
Harlem River in more than 100 years.
The organization offers
free in-school and after-school environmental education
to students from high-poverty Title I
summer of 1965, Midler relocated to New York City, using the money from playing an extra in the film
She landed her first professional onstage
role in Tom Eyen
plays in 1965, Miss
and Cinderella Revisited
children's play by day and an adult show by night. From 1966 to 1969, she
played the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway; during this period her sister Judith, visiting New
York to see her perform, was killed by a taxi
summer of 1970, Midler began singing in the Continental
Baths, a gay bathhouse in
the city, where she became close to her piano
accompanist, Barry Manilow.
later produced her first album, 1972's The Divine Miss M
. It was
during her time at the Continental Baths that she built up a core
following. In the late 1990s, during the release of her album
commented on her time performing there:
- "Despite the way things turned out [with the AIDS crisis], I'm
still proud of those days. I feel like I was at the forefront of
the gay liberation movement, and I hope I did my part to help it
move forward. So, I kind of wear the label of 'Bathhouse Betty'
with pride" .
In 1971, Midler starred in the first professional production of
director Richard Pearlman
. It was during the run
that Midler was asked to appear on the
The Tonight Show
proved to be so popular that her career immediately
Midler released her debut album The Divine Miss M
on Atlantic Records
in December 1972. It streaked into Billboard's Top 10 and became a
million-selling Platinum-certified album, making her a star in the
process and earning Midler the 1973 Grammy Award for Best New
Artist. It featured two hit singles with "Do You Want To Dance?
" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
became Bette's first #1 Adult Contemporary hit.
In 1975, she received a Special Tony
for her contribution to Broadway with Clams on the
Half Shell Revue
playing at the Minskoff Theater. From
1975–1978, she also provided the voice of Woody the Spoon on the
educational series Vegetable Soup
In 1979, Midler made her first motion picture, starring in the
1960s-era rock and roll
, as a
drug-addicted rock star modeled after Janis
. Soon afterwards she left to go on a world concert tour,
with one of the shows (in Pasadena) being filmed and released as
the concert film Divine
. Also in 1980, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best
for The Rose
. The film's acclaimed soundtrack
album sold over two million copies in the United States alone,
earning a Double Platinum certification. The single version of the
song held the #1 position on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart
for five consecutive weeks and reached #3 on Billboard's Hot 100.
It earned Midler her first Gold single.
In 1981, Midler worked on the troubled project Jinxed!
, a comedy in which she did not get
along with her co-star (Ken Wahl
) or the
film's director (veteran Don Siegel
Released in 1982, the film was a major flop. Midler wouldn't appear
in another film until 1986, and concentrated on her music
she was a performer on USA for
Africa's fund-raising single "We Are the World", and
participated at the 'Live Aid' event at JFK
stadium in Philadelphia.
Also in 1985, she signed a multi-picture deal with Touchstone Pictures
. She was
subsequently cast by director Paul
and Out in Beverly Hills
, beginning a successful comedic
acting career. She followed that with Ruthless People
(1986), Outrageous Fortune
and Big Business
(1988). She scored a hit with the 1988 tearjerker Beaches
, co-starring Barbara Hershey
Bette Midler in Los Angeles, 1990
Midler lent her voice to the animated character Georgette, a
snobbish poodle, in Disney's Oliver & Company
1990, she co-starred with Woody Allen
Scenes from a Mall
again for Mazursky. She earned another Academy Award
nomination for Best Actress for
1991's For the Boys
co-starring with James Caan
by Mark Rydell
, who had also directed
. She reportedly turned down the lead role in
1992's Sister Act
, which instead
went to Whoopi Goldberg
Other films include Stella
The First Wives Club
(1996), and The Stepford
(2004). Her television work includes an
Emmy-nominated version of the stage musical Gypsy
and a guest appearance as
herself in Fran Drescher
Midler won an Emmy Award
in 1992 for her
memorable performance on the next-to-last episode of The Tonight Show
Starring Johnny Carson
in May 1992; during which she sang
an emotion-laden "One for My Baby
" to Johnny Carson
. Another memorable
event occurred that night, Midler began singing Here's That Rainy Day
favorite song. Carson then joined a few lyrics later, and a piano
soon after. She appeared on Seinfeld
in the episode "The Understudy,"
which was the season finale of that show's sixth season in
Midler has guest-starred in various sitcoms over the years,
including The Simpsons
episode "Krusty Gets
" (she is first seen traversing a highway picking up
trash when she is approached by Bart
with a request for Midler to
appear on a show to revive Krusty
career). She also appeared on The
in the aptly titled episode "You Bette Your Life".
In 2000, Midler starred in her own sitcom, Bette
. Airing on CBS
, initial ratings were high but soon declined and the
show did not last a full season, being cancelled in early 2001.
During the show's short lifespan, Bette's daughter (played by
in the pilot, then by
Marina Malota starting with the third episode) and her husband were
recast (Robert Hays
succeeded Kevin Dunn
in the final episode aired). The show
was also reportedly rocked by backstage turmoil.
Also in 2001, Bette or Bust
, a book chronicling Midler's
"Divine Miss Millennium Tour" was released.
Midler is to play Carrie Bradshaw's mother in the Sex and the City
Midler has won four Grammy Awards including the 1973 Best New Artist
and the prestigious Record of the Year
in 1989 for her
Platinum-certified #1 Pop hit "Wind Beneath My Wings
", the theme from
. Her rendition of the 1990 "From a Distance
" also earned a Grammy award
(for the song's composer Julie Gold), and became her longest
running #1 - six consecutive weeks - on Billboard's Adult
Contemporary chart. It also reached #2 Pop and was another
Platinum-selling single for Bette. When the American Film Institute
"The 100 Years of the Greatest Songs" on June 22, 2004, two of
Midler's recordings were selected by the board: "Wind Beneath My
Wings" (#44) and "The Rose
However, after years of erratic record sales, Midler was dropped
from the Warner Brothers label in 2001.
After a long-standing feud with Barry Manilow, the two joined
forces for the first time in twenty years in 2003 to record
Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook
." Of the project,
Manilow said he'd had a dream that he was recording with Midler
again, so he called her up with the idea and she agreed that it was
due time to work together again. Now signed to Columbia Records
, the album was an instant
success, being certified gold in only a few weeks. One of the
Clooney Songbook selections, "This Ole House," became Midler's
first Christian radio single shipped by Rick Hendrix
and his positive music movement.
The album was nominated for a Grammy the following year. worldwide
In 2003–2004, Midler toured the U.S. in her new show, Kiss My
, to sell-out audiences. In early 2005, an Australian
tour, Kiss My Brass Down Under
, was equally successful.
Midler joined forces again with Manilow for another tribute album,
Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook
. Released in
October 2005, the album sold 55,000 copies the first week of
release and debuted at #10.
In 2006, a new Christmas album Cool
was released by Midler featuring the title song
(written by Steve Allen
) and a duet with
of "Winter Wonderland
/Let It Snow
". Midler next starred in the 2007 film
Then She Found Me,
directed by Helen Hunt and starring Hunt,
Matthew Broderick and Colin Firth, and appeared on the American Idol finale, singing
"The Wind Beneath My
Wings" live at the Kodak Theatre.
On December 6, 2007, Midler's album Cool Yule
Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
has a Vegas show titled
"Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must
Go On" at The Colosseum at Caesars
The show has approximately 400 shows in a
two year run. The show comprises The Staggering Harlettes
female dancers and a thirteen piece band. Midler is reportedly
being paid $40 million per year for her 200 shows The show debuted
on February 20, 2008 .
A new "best of" album, "Jackpot:
The Best Bette
", was released in 2008 and reached #66 on the
U.S. charts, and #6 in the U.K., where it was certified
In June 2009, Midler appeared on the Bravo
TV show "My Life on the D-List
" with Kathy Griffin
Bette has confirmed that she will be releasing a new album in 2010,
an album of new love songs, which will be entitled 'Leaving Las
- 1970-1972: Continental Baths
- 1972: Cross Country Tour
- 1973: The Divine Miss M Tour
- 1975: Clams on the Half Shell Revue
- 1975-1976: The Depression Tour
- 1977-1978: An Intimate Evening with Bette
- 1978: The Rose Live In Concert
- 1978: World Tour (Bette Midler)|World Tour
- 1979-1980: Bette! Divine Madness
- FilmReference.com, Bette Midler, Biography.
- Yahoo! Movies, Bette Midler: Biography.
- Adherents.com, Bette Midler.
- The Class of 1963! We're Radgrads!
- High School Hoss Elections
- The Oprah Winfrey Show. Original air
date January 28, 2008. Interview with Bette Midler.
- Time magazine profile on Midler.
- Seattle Times
- BetteMidler.com Official site.
"A View From A Broad" 1981
- The Saga of Baby Divine (Crown Publishers, 1984), ISBN
- Bette: An Intimate Biography of Bette Midler by George
Mair (Birch Lane Press, 1995), ISBN 1-55972-272-X