Edit
Bette Midler Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (37) | Personal Quotes (34) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 1 December 1945Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Birth NameBette Davis Midler
Nicknames The Divine Miss M
Bathhouse Betty
Height 5' 1" (1.55 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Multi Grammy Award-winning singer/comedienne/author who has also proven herself to be a very capable actress in a string of both dramatic and comedic roles, Bette Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 1, 1945. She studied drama at the University of Hawaii and got her musical career started by performing in gay bathhouses with piano accompaniment from Barry Manilow. Her first album was "The Divine Miss M" released in November 1972, followed by the self-titled "Bette Midler" released in November 1973, both of which took off up the music charts, and Bette's popularity swiftly escalated from there.

After minor roles in several film/TV productions, she surprised all with her knockout performance of a hard-living rock-and-roll singer (loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin) in The Rose (1979), for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In 1986, director Paul Mazursky cast Midler opposite Nick Nolte and Richard Dreyfuss in the hilarious Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), and so began a string of very funny comedic film roles. She played an obnoxious wife who was the victim of a kidnap plot by her scoundrel husband, played by Danny DeVito, in Ruthless People (1986), was pursued by CIA and KGB spies in Outrageous Fortune (1987), played mismatched twins with Lily Tomlin in Big Business (1988) and shone in the tear-jerker Beaches (1988).

Bette matched feisty James Caan in the WWII drama For the Boys (1991), made a dynamic trio with Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton in The First Wives Club (1996), was back on screen with DeVito for the tepid comedy Drowning Mona (2000) and turned up in the glossy remake of The Stepford Wives (2004). Apart from her four Grammy awards, Bette Midler has also won four Golden Globes, one Tony Award, and three Emmy Awards, plus she has sold in excess of 15 million albums worldwide. Most recently, she toured with her sassy "Kiss My Brass" show, and is promoting her album "Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com

Spouse (1)

Martin von Haselberg (16 December 1984 - present) (1 child)

Trivia (37)

Performed her cabaret act at the famed gay men's club, The Continental Baths, in the 70s with Barry Manilow as her accompanist.
Worked at a Dole pineapple processing plant in Hawaii in her early years.
Her first big album "The Divine Miss M" was produced by Barry Manilow.
Graduated from Radford High School, Honolulu, Hawaii in 1963
Majored in drama at the University of Hawaii at Manoa
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1979" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 31.
Was the final guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962).
Gave birth to her only child at age 40, a daughter Sophie Frederica Alohilani von Haselberg (aka Sophie von Haselberg) on November 14, 1986. Child's father is her husband, Martin von Haselberg.
She performed a cover version of the song "Beast of Burden". She also appeared in a video of the song with Mick Jagger that was choreographed and cast by Lori Eastside.
Ranked #51 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll
Won four Grammy awards including the 1973 Best New Artist and the prestigious Record of the Year in 1989 for the soaring rendition of her # 1 hit "Wind Beneath My Wings" from the movie Beaches (1988).
In 1974 she received a special Tony Award "for adding lustre to the Broadway season."
Is named after Bette Davis and her sisters Susan and Judy are named after Susan Hayward and Judy Garland.
She is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon International Sorority.
When The American Film Institute announced "The 100 Years of the Greatest Songs" on June 22, 2004, two of her hits were selected: "Wind Beneath My Wings" from Beaches (1988) (#44), "The Rose" from The Rose (1979), (#83).
Her album "Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook" was originally titled "Rosemary for Remembrance". The name was changed just weeks before the album's September 30, 2003 release.
The last syllable of her first name is unpronounced because her mother thought that was how Bette Davis pronounced her name.
She is a huge fan and long time friend of the late singer Rosemary Clooney.
The role of Delores in Sister Act (1992) was originally written for her; however, she turned it down.
While Bette was on Broadway in "Fiddler on the Roof" (she played the character Tzeitel until 1969), her sister Judy visited New York City to see her perform and was tragically struck by a taxi and killed.
Graduated as valedictorian of her high school.
Can be seen in the crowd as an extra in Hawaii (1966) (1966) as a seasick passenger aboard a ship listening to a preacher, played by Max von Sydow. Midler was also hired for a small speaking role in the film and went to Los Angeles to film these scenes in a studio. Her scenes were cut from the final film. However, she used the money she earned to move to New York, where her career took off and she became a star.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6922 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Was in a relationship with Peter Riegert. They lived together in the 1970s.
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Despite playing her daughter in Beaches (1988), Midler is just 5 years younger than Lainie Kazan in real life.
Became pregnant by her husband Martin von Haselberg in 1987 but suffered a miscarriage.
A huge fan of Susan Boyle.
Is a staunch liberal Democrat.
She just launched her new show in Las Vegas titled 'The Showgirl Must Go On'. The show will take place at Caesers Palace, and she will be performing the show for two years. [February 2008]
Recently released her album "Bette Midler Sings the 'Peggy Lee' Song Book"
London (appeared on dancing on ice, performing) [February 2009]
Getting ready to go into rehearsals for the second leg of her successful "Kiss My Brass" tour. [July 2004]
Getting ready to release her new album "Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook". A Fall release is expected. [August 2005]
Currently putting the finishing touches on her latest album, "Rosemary for Remembrance", a tribute to the late Rosemary Clooney. A September release is expected. [August 2003]
Starting her new "Kiss My Brass" tour. Also, finishing her latest film The Stepford Wives (2004). [December 2003]
Bette's paternal grandparents, Ruben Midler and Minnie Friedman, were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland. Bette's maternal grandparents, Joseph S. Schindel and Sadie, were Jewish immigrants from Austria/Hungary and Poland.

Personal Quotes (34)

I try not to drink too much, because when I'm drunk, I bite.
[on acting] You have to think you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, but know you're not.
[during a concert in Brisbane, Australia 2005] It's been 26 years since I was last here. Before my fans were all taking drugs; this time they're all taking medication!
The worst part of success is to try finding someone who is happy for you.
I always try to balance the light with the heavy - a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.
I bear no grudges. I have a mind that retains nothing.
Get the trash off the street and back on the stage where it belongs.
In Hawaii I was the chief chunker in a pineapple canning factory. I used to come home smelling like a compote.
Underneath all this drag I'm really a librarian, you know.
I wouldn't say I invented tack, but I definitely brought it to its present high popularity.
[Asked by Parade Magazine whether she will retire after her show in Las Vegas] I think so. I must say, my high kick is just as high as it ever was, thanks to tai chi. But everything is a bit slower. The mind - things don't stick the way they used to. I feel like I'm going out with a bang. It's something my husband and I have talked about. I certainly don't want to die in harness. I'm not one of those people.
I want world peace. Please. Just for my sake, before I go. I also hope that Meryl Streep has the good taste to step aside and let the rest of us have a crack ... but I know she won't. She has a really good agent. She's great, but I know there are some ladies behind her saying, 'Meryl, for God's sake, do you have to say yes to everything?'
I'm kind of healthy but has a little bit of arthritis, my eyes are a little shaky. I drank a little, I didn't do drugs to any great extent. I do get depressed but not like you do if you drink or do drugs. I have pretty bad melancholia, but I've found you can get rid of that by exercising. [I have therapy.] A lot of people don't love what they do and I do. I still love music and I love, love, love to dance. For most women - I can't speak for men - I'd say dancing is the key to happiness.
I love Barbara Hersheyand Lainie Kazan. I had no idea Beaches (1988) was an 'uberweepie'! The nerve! It wasn't so bad. I co-produced it. It was a pretty damned good screenplay. I thought it was just another movie. I didn't think of it as a women's picture. I was so excited to be able to sing again and have a soundtrack.
Thank God for the gays. I don't know what would have happened but I know what did happen. Good for them and good for me.
I was riveting. Yes, it was a place where gay men met and had sex. I didn't see that. Someone sent me a picture showing me in a 1930s costume with my hair pulled back and all these cute young men in bathrobes watching me. It seemed very innocent. I would stand at the top of a little staircase with a towel round my head and act out whacked-out movie heroines. Patti LaBelle played there, too. I wasn't there long, but I was there long enough to make a splash, ha-ha.
I've never been to a sex orgy in my entire life. Studio 54 was way worse than the baths.
I'm glad my daughter has been [university educated]. I sometimes think I should go back to school to learn French and music, but who would have me?
I'm an open-space person. I'm not a believer in sprawl. I don't particularly care for postmodern architecture. I believe in solid fare and building fair. I'm green to the core. This group I run in New York bought 60 community gardens and helped another group to buy 55 in congested neighbourhoods. I'm doing a similar thing in Hawaii, but it's harder there, the tracts are so big and there are these things about road zoning, dams, reservoirs ...
My parents (mother Ruth a seamstress, father Fred a painter) were not encouraging. My father put everybody down. Yeah, it was a real drag but he had his moments. His saving grace was a wicked sense of humour. He was a good provider. They were a team. They were at Pearl Harbour, they knew hardship. My mum was supportive, she had a tinge of showbiz fever and named me and my sisters after Hollywood icons. My dad was like, 'Get a job'. But that gave me something to fight against.
[on growing up in Hawaii]: We were very poor, it was a hard-scrabble childhood, not particularly happy. The best part was nature, which is so intense there. The sky is bright blue, the clouds are puffy, the grass is lush, it feels like you can touch the stars. But the people were not very nice. I was a white kid in a mostly Asian neighbourhood. You heard Hawaii was a great melting pot? Hooey. I had a very strong fantasy life. Sorry, what was the question? I'm bonkers. Where am I? Who am I? I love your socks.
I thought I would be an actorrrr. I thought I'd be Ethel Barrymore. I didn't know who she was, but she was my idea of an actorrrr. It seemed it would be more fun to be someone else rather than myself.
On desire: If somebody makes me laugh, I'm his slave for life.
I'm not just vain, I'm ignorant. I'm vignorant!
I celebrate everyone's religious holidays. if it's good enough for the righteous, it's good enough for the self-righteous, I always say.
[Accusing Lady Gaga of stealing her Dolores DeLago routine] I've been doing singing mermaid since 1980. You can keep the meat dress and the firecracker tits. Mermaid's mine.
As Joan Crawford once said, 'I'll show ya a pair of Golden Globes!
[on Susan Boyle ] She is an act whose time has come. People love that voice. She sings straight. She doesn't do a lot of riffing. There are no trills, no thrills. Its straight singing and it comes from the heart.
As an actor you're supposed to take jobs that will challenge you or force fans to see you in a different light. By the '90s I wasn't really an actor anymore. I was someone who went on the road with these gigantic concerts. I got so far away from what they told you in acting class: Do something different. Producers kept offering me the Sister Act (1992) movie, but I said, 'My fans don't want to see me in a wimple.' I literally said, 'My fans don't want to see me in a wimple.'
[re Sue Mengers who she played on Broadway] Sue even had a friend blowing marijuana smoke into her face as she passed away. She was high until the bitter end.
[on Misery (1990)] I turned that down because I didn't want to saw off someone's foot, even though the role won an Oscar [for Kathy Bates]. It was stupid to say no to those pictures. And while I was unsure about doing this play [on Broadway as Sue Mengers], I felt it was time for me to say yes.
[re her Broadway debut in one-woman show 'I'll Eat You Last'] I'd never done a straight play before, never, and it was very hard work - really, really hard work. It was dense, really wordy, and I was determined to learn every word of it - not just skip over bits and pieces. It took me a long time to actually know what the play was about - that it was a long aria with slow-moving parts, and parts with laughs and tears, and that my job was to switch gears pretty radically and seamlessly in ways that I had never done before. And this wasn't like just one day of shooting for a movie - you had to stay healthy, your brain had to stay sharp, and you needed enough wind so when a sentence went on like a paragraph, I could still breathe. There were moments I had to eat candy, and I would have a mouth full of saliva, but no time to swallow it - so I had to learn to perform through moments like that.
[re reaction of Broadway audiences] I learned to accept the audience's happiness for me, which is one of the hardest things for me to learn. I had a hard-scrabble childhood with my parents. I have a lot of baggage. To come down to the footlights and accept the audience's affection inside a Broadway theater - that didn't come easily to me. Sue Mengers was way tougher than I am. You go through your life, you're a certain age, a lot of things have happened to me, but I needed to put those aside and let the audience affect me in a simple way.
[re smoking for Sue Mengers role] The cigarettes nearly killed me. I answer the phone now and people calling think it's my husband. And my allergies in that theater - it's a very old theater. And the hairspray! I never used hairspray. And the wigs! Let's not talk about the fricking wigs, that was such a saga. But the cigarettes were the hardest. When I made _The Rose (1979)_ qv), I did smoke, I smoked for six months, and years later I tried a cigarette again and it made me sick for two weeks. These are herbal cigarettes, but smoke is smoke. I was thrilled, though, when I finally got the timing down to smoke two at once - a cigarette in one hand and a joint in the other. That was Sue.

Salary (2)

The Rose (1979) $600,000
Divine Madness (1980) $850,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page