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bette midler

Bette Midler was born on December 1, 1945 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Fred and Ruth (Schindel) Midler. She has two older sisters, Judith and Susan. Her mother was a big movie buff and named all of her daughters after movie stars: Bette Davis, Judy Garland and Susan Hayward. She also has a younger brother, Daniel.

Her parents introduced her to the world of entertainment when she was a young child by bringing her to movies, plays and musicals. This sparked her interest in becoming a star. She appeared in her school plays, and even competed in local talent shows (she once won a $2 prize).

After she graduated Radford High School, she attended the University of Hawaii (where she majored in drama), but began thinking about pursuing a career as a singer/actress. Her movie debut came in 1966, when she got a small part in the movie Hawaii, which was filming locally. However, she knew that Hawaii, although beautiful, was not the place for her to succeed, so she saved up all her money (working many jobs, including as a canner at a Pineapple factory) to buy a one-way ticket to New York.

In lat 1966, she began to take on many different acting jobs including a sales person and a go-go dancer. [Note: she made many friends in the business, including a life long friend, Barry Manillow) He was in the chorus of the Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof, but got a break and eventually moved on to the role of Tizel. However, three years later, her sister came to visit her in New York. On her way to the play she was hit and killed by a speeding taxi while crossing the street. This had an impact on her professionally, and decided that the constant grind of working every night was too much, and quit the lights of the Broadway stage in 1969.

In 1970, she began appearing at local clubs such as The Continental Baths (frequented by gay men and transvestites). She created an alter-ego, The Divine Miss M. and would sing various songs, intertwined with humor and whit. Lady luck came into the picture in 1971, when she was appearing at The Bitter End (a club in New York City), Ahmet Ertugun, the president of Atlantic Records, happened to be in the audience. He loved her show, came back stage afterwards, and offered her a record contract.

She released her first album in 1972 entitled The Divine Miss M, (produced by Barry Manillow) followed by a whirlwind North American tour. Anyone seeing Midler perform instantly became a fan. Her album reached number 9 on the Billboard list. For her work on this album, she won her first Grammy Award for Best New Artist. During this time, she also appeared at the Sahara with Johnny Carson.

In 1974, she appeared in her second movie, The Thorn. She also leant her voice to the animated film as the Scarecrow in Scarecrow in the Garden of Cucumbers (1972).

Her second album, self-titled album, Bette Midler, was released in 1973. Although it broke the top ten list in Billboard, it was trashed by critics. In fact, Jon Landaus criticism in Rolling Stone caused her to go into a state of severe depression, eventually going into a nervous breakdown.

Bette bounced back in 1975, going back to Broadway, with her own show Clams On the Half Shell Revue. The show was a huge success. She used the high spirits to record her third album, Songs For the New Depression, titled as such from her recent episode. However, the album did not due as well as expected, and only reached number 27 on the Billboard album list. To promote sales, she went out on tour, however, the album still did not reach the commercial success she had hoped for. As a consolation prize, the tour spurned a cable television (HBO) special, Ol Red Hair is Back, which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy or Variety Special. She also released a critically acclaimed live album. Live at Last, recorded from her tour.

Her next two albums, Broken Blossom (1977) and Thighs and Wispers (1979) were not big sellers, however, Bette received a big break in movies in 1979 when she was given the role as Mary Rose Foster in The Rose. For this role, she won Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and Best Newcomer to Film. She was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition, she also won her second Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the soundtrack to The Rose.

The following year, she went back out on tour, aptly named the Divine Madness Tour. The tour was a huge success, and so was a live film based on the tour, also called Divine Madness, in which she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

She starred in her next movie in 1982, entitled Jinxed. However, the movie was not successful. So, she turned back to music once again and began another tour in 1983 while recording her next album, No Frills, released later that year, which was had some mild success. This brought her into another state of depression and alcoholism.

Bette found happiness and love love in 1984 and married singer Martin von Hasselberg. They began planning their marriage after only knowing each other for two year. She gave birth to their daughter Sophie Frederica Alohilani Von Haselberg in November 1986.

Now as a new mommy, she signed a movie contract with Disney and starred in fairly successful movies, such as Ruthless People (1986) [awarded American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture], Outrageous Fortune (1987) [won another American Comedy Award and nominated for a Golden Globe], Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) nominated for a Golden Globe], and Beaches (1988). The movie Beaches was a huge success and the soundtrack followed suit. In fact, the song, Wind Beneath My Wings, from the album won a Grammy Award for Best Record of the Year.

In 1987 she received American Comedy Awards for Lifetime Achievement in Comedy and Funniest Female Performer of the Year. That same year she also won the American Cinematheque Award.

In the midst of her flourishing movie career, believe it or not, she had time to release another album, Some Peoples Lives (1990), which went Platinum.

She followed these up with other movies, such as Stella (1990), Scenes From the Mall (1991), and For the Boys (1991). She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Comeny/Musical for her role in For the Boys. The soundtrack from the movie For the Boys went gold.

In 1993, she won a Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for her role in Gypsy. She was also nominated for an Emmy Award for this role. This was also the same year that Johnny Carson said his final goodbye on the Tonight Show. Bette Midler was his final guest and won two Emmy Awards for her appearance: Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program and Funniest Female in a Television Special. In 93 she also appeared at the Radio City Music Hall to the delight of critics and fans, and released a well selling greatest hits albums.

In 1995, she released her album Bette of Roses, which went Platinum. In 1996, she was back on screen in The First Wives Club, which did very well at the box office and followed that up with Get Shorty later that year. However, over the next few years, she has not had resounding success on the big screen, including the much anticipated Stepford Wives in 2004.

Her music career in the late 1990s and early 2000s was more successful than her screen career. In 1998 she released Bathhouse Betty, and followed it up the following year with the Divine Miss Millenium Tour both were successful.

She was given her own television show in 2000, called Bette, and an album of the same name. Although she won a Peoples Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series, the TV Guide Award for Actress of the Year in a New Series and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV series Comedy/Musical, the show was cancelled in 2001. Bette was actually happy, since working on the series was too much work and did not allow her to do other things. The album Bette broke into the top 40 on Billboards album charts.

In 2003, she honored Rosemary Clooney, by recording her songs (with the help of Barry Manillow) in an album called Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook. The album sold many copies.




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