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Friday, February 28, 2014

66 Groovy Things about Bernadette Peters on her birthday

Today I'm celebrating Bernadette Peters' 66th birthday by sharing a "few" groovy things about her life and career:

1. Bernadette Lazzara was born in the Ozone Park section of Queens, New York, on February 28, 1948 (she took the last name of Peters at age 9 when she obtained her Actors Equity card, using her father's first name - Peter).

2. She made her professional stage debut in January 1958 in This is Goggle, a comedy directed by Otto Preminger and starring Kim Hunter that closed during its pre-Broadway tryout.

3. She first appeared on the New York stage at age 10 in the New York City Center revival of the Frank Loesser musical, The Most Happy Fella, in February 1959.

4. Between 1962 and 1967, she recorded and released four 45 RPM singles, including "We'll Start The Party Again"/"Wait, Johnny, For Me" in 1965.

5. She made her Broadway debut in the play, Johnny No-Trump, which opened and closed on October 8, 1967. It also starred James Broderick and Sada Thompson (who later played husband and wife on TV's Family).

6. She won a Theatre World Award for her performance (opposite Joel Grey) in the Broadway musical, George M!, which opened on April 10, 1968, and ran for 433 performances. She later reprised her role as Josie Cohan in an NBC television adaptation that aired on September 12, 1970 and starred Grey, Jack Cassidy, Nanette Fabray, Anita Gillette and Blythe Danner.

7. She briefly appeared in the musical, A Mother's Kisses (starring Bea Arthur), which closed during a pre-Broadway tryout in October 1968.

8. She received her first Drama Desk Award for her performance as Ruby in the Off-Broadway production of Dames at Sea, a parody of 1930s musicals that opened on December 20, 1968, and ran for 575 performances (she originated the role in the 1966 Off-Off-Broadway production of the show).

9. She made her first appearance on the CBS variety series, The Carol Burnett Show, on September 29, 1969 (she was a guest star on the show 10 times, and below you can watch her in a 1974 episode with Tim Conway and in a 1975 episode).

10. She appeared in the Broadway musical, La Strada, which opened and closed on December 14, 1969.

11. In 1971, she and Mickey Rooney starred in a pre-Broadway tour of the musical, W.C., which didn't make it to New York. And in 1976, she appeared in the film, W.C. Fields and Me, with Rod Steiger.

12. She received her first Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as taxi driver Hildy in the Broadway revival of the musical, On the Town, which opened on October 31, 1971, and closed after 73 performances.

13. She played Lady Larken in the CBS television adaptation of the musical, Once Upon a Mattress (starring Carol Burnett), on December 12, 1972.

14. She made her feature film debut as a prostitute in Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies, a 1973 movie starring Cliff Robertson and Alice Ghostley (and with a story by Steven Spielberg).

15. She and Jerry Orbach co-starred in a Love, American Style episode ("Love and the Hoodwinked Honey") on October 19, 1973.

16. In January 1974, she co-starred with Buck Henry in The Owl and the Pussycat, an unsold NBC sitcom based on the 1964 play and 1970 Barbra Streisand film.

17. She played the prison warden's secretary, Miss Toot, in the 1974 Burt Reynolds film, The Longest Yard.

18. She received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Mabel Normand in the Jerry Herman musical, Mack & Mabel, which opened on October 6, 1974, and ran for 66 performances.

19. She performed "How Lucky Can You Get", a nominated song from Funny Lady, on the 48th Annual Academy Awards on March 29, 1976.

20. She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Vilma Kaplan in Mel Brooks' 1976 film, Silent Movie.

21. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her starring role as photographer Charley Drake (and Richard Crenna's girlfriend) in the 1976-77 Norman Lear sitcom, All's Fair.

22. Bernadette, Tony Randall, Jason Robards, Jean Stapleton and Flip Wilson were the co-hosts of They Said It with Music: Yankee Doodle to Ragtime, a CBS variety special that aired on July 4, 1977.

23. She received an Emmy Award nomination for her guest appearance on The Muppet Show on July 11, 1978.

24. Bernadette, Vincent Price and Leo Sayer appeared on The Tonight Show with guest host Kermit the Frog on April 2, 1979.

25. She performed with Richard Chamberlain on the PBS special, Musical Comedy Tonight, on October 1, 1979.

26. She performed in concert in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), in November 1979, and it was taped and released as a video in 1980.

27. She appeared opposite Steve Martin in the 1979 film, The Jerk (she and Martin began a four-year romantic relationship in 1977).

28. She released her first solo music album, Bernadette Peters, in June 1980 and sang "Gee Whiz", her top 40 hit from the LP, on American Bandstand on June 21, 1980.

29. She was the guest host of Saturday Night Live on November 14, 1981, with musical guests Billy Joel and the Go-Gos.

30. She appeared on the cover and in a spread in the December 1981 issue of Playboy, in which she posed in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.

31. She won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Comedy or Musical for her performance as schoolteacher-turned-prostitute Eileen Everson in the 1981 musical film, Pennies from Heaven.

32. She starred opposite Andy Kaufman in the 1981 film, Heartbeeps.

33. She played Lily St. Regis in the 1982 musical film of Annie.

34. She and Peter Allen performed a musical tribute to Irving Berlin on the 55th Annual Academy Awards on April 11, 1983.

35. She played Sleeping Beauty opposite Christopher Reeve's Prince Charming in an episode of the Showtime series, Faerie Tale Theatre, on July 7, 1983.

36. She received her third Tony Award nomination for her performance as as Dot/Marie in the Sondheim musical, Sunday in the Park with George, which opened on May 2, 1984. She reprised the role in 1986 for a live TV production that was taped for Showtime and the PBS series, American Playhouse.

37. She won her first Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Song and Dance, which opened on September 18, 1985.

38. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 23, 1987.

39. She performed "Time Heals Everything" during a memorial tribute to her late Mack & Mabel co-star, Robert Preston, on the 41st Annual Tony Awards on June 7, 1987.

40. She was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on June 17, 1987.

41. She played the role of the Witch in the Sondheim musical, Into the Woods, which opened on Broadway on November 5, 1987. She reprised the role in 1989 when it was taped for PBS's American Playhouse.

42. In 1989, she appeared in two feature films - Slaves of New York (as an aspiring hat designer named Eleanor) and Pink Cadillac (opposite Clint Eastwood).

43. She and Peter Allen hit the road together in a 10-city concert tour during the summer of 1989, and they promoted it on CBS This Morning.

44. She played televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker (opposite Kevin Spacey's Jim Bakker) in the NBC movie, Fall from Grace, which aired on April 29, 1990.

45. She co-starred with Mary Tyler Moore in the ABC movie, The Last Best Year, which aired on November 4, 1990.

46. She appeared in the films, Alice (1990) - directed by Woody Allen - and Impromptu (1991) with Judy Davis and Hugh Grant.

47. On June 10, 1992, she performed at Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall, an all-star tribute that was broadcast on PBS's Great Performances in 1993.

48. She received her fifth Tony Award nomination for her performance in the musical adaptation of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, which opened on Broadway on March 4, 1993.

49. She played Fay Apple in a benefit concert of the Sondheim musical, Anyone Can Whistle, on April 8, 1995, at Carnegie Hall.

50. She played Cinderella's stepmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, which aired on November 2, 1997.

51. In June 1998, Bernadette, Julia McKenzie and Ruthie Henshall performed Gypsy's "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" during Hey, Mr. Producer!, a London concert honoring Cameron Mackintosh (it was filmed and later shown on PBS).

52. She made her London debut at the Royal Festival Hall on September 17, 1998 (this concert was taped and aired on PBS in 1999).

53. She won her second Tony Award for her performance as Annie Oakley in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun, which opened on March 4, 1999.

54. She was nominated for an Emmy Award as Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in two 2001 episodes of Ally McBeal.

55. She co-hosted the 56th Annual Tony Awards with Gregory Hines on June 2, 2002.

56. She and Rachel Ward played a lesbian couple in the TV movie, Bobbie's Girl, which aired on June 9, 2002 (Bernadette was also nominated for Daytime Emmy Award for her performance).

57. She received her seventh Tony Award nomination for her performance as Mama Rose in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, which opened on May 1, 2003.

58. She appeared on the NBC sitcom, Will & Grace, as Karen Walker's sister, Gin (Virginia) on May 11, 2006.

59. In 2009, she appeared in five episodes of the ABC series, Ugly Betty, as magazine mogul Jodie Papadakis.

60. In March 2010, she and Mandy Patinkin performed "Move On" from Sunday in the Park with George with the New York Philharmonic for Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday celebration. Sondheim! The Birthday Concert later aired on PBS's Great Performances.

61. On July 13, 2010, she replaced Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role of Desiree Armfeldt in the Broadway revival of Sondheim's A Little Night Music.

62. She played Sally Durant Plummer in the Kennedy Center production of the Sondheim musical, Follies, May 7-June 19, 2011 (she later reprised the role in the Broadway production that opened on August 7, 2011).

63. In 2012-13, she appeared in six episodes of the NBC series, Smash, as former Broadway star Leigh Conroy (and Ivy's mother).

64. At the 66th Annual Tony Awards on June 10, 2012, she received the Isabelle Stevenson Award for "making a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations, regardless of whether such organizations relate to the theatre", specifically for her work with Broadway Barks, the animal adoption charity that she co-founded in 1999 with Mary Tyler Moore.

65. She played a former musical comedy actress with two daughters in the 2012 film, Coming Up Roses (it was filmed in 2010).

66. Bernadette, Jeremy Jordan, Norm Lewis and Cyrille Aimee starred in A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, an Encores! musical event by Sondheim and Wynton Marsalis that ran November 13-17, 2013, at New York City Center.


Anonymous said...

You didn't mention her stunning work as the mother of a young boy who was set on fire by his deranged father in the TV movie "David".

Marc said...

Sorry, Anonymous - if only she had turned 67 this year, I would have included it. There are, of course, more than 66 Groovy Things about Bernadette but, unfortunately, I couldn't feature all of them.