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Monday, December 1, 2014

69 Groovy Things about Bette Midler on her birthday

Today I'm celebrating Bette Midler's 69th birthday by sharing a "few" groovy things about her life and career:

1. Bette Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 1, 1945. Although she was named after actress Bette Davis, she pronounces her first name in only one syllable.

2. She played an uncredited seasick passenger aboard a ship in the film, Hawaii. She then used the money she earned to move to New York City in the summer of 1965.

3. In the fall of 1966, she auditioned for the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof and landed a spot in the chorus. From 1967 to 1969, she played the role of Tzeitel.

4. She played an uncredited Girl at Party in the 1968 Frank Sinatra film, The Detective, and in the 1969 film, Goodbye, Columbus, she played an uncredited wedding guest - along with Jaclyn Smith and Susan Lucci - but her scene was cut.

5. In 1969, she joined the cast of the Off-Broadway rock musical, Salvation.

6. She began singing in the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in the Ansonia Hotel, in the summer of 1970.

7. In 1971, she played the roles of the Acid Queen and Mrs. Walker in the first professional production of The Who's rock opera, Tommy, with the Seattle Opera.

8. She played the Virgin Mary in the 1971 "religious satire" film, The Thorn (aka The Greatest Story Overtold and The Divine Mr. J).

9. Her piano accompanist, Barry Manilow, co-produced her debut album, The Divine Miss M, which was released in December 1972. It reached Billboard's Top 10 and became a million-selling Platinum-certified album. Below you can watch her rehearse her opening number, "Friends", for The Divine Miss M Tour in 1973.

10. On March 2, 1974, she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

11. On April 21, 1974, she received a Special Tony Award "for adding lustre to the Broadway season" with her show, Bette Midler, which ran for 19 sold-out performances at the Palace Theatre in December 1973.

12. She was a guest - along with Elton John and Flip Wilson - on the first episode of Cher on February 16, 1975.

13. She was interviewed by Barbara Walters on April 15, 1975.

14. She starred in The Bette Midler Show, an HBO special of her show - during her Depression Tour - at the Cleveland Music Hall in February 1976.

15. She was a guest on the TV special, Neil Sedaka: Steppin' Out, on September 17, 1976.

16. She appeared on The Bing Crosby Special at Pasadena's Ambassador Theater on March 20, 1977 (this concert was videotaped for CBS to commemorate Crosby's 50th anniversary in show business).

17. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Special for her CBS special, Ol' Red Hair Is Back, which aired on December 7, 1977, with guests Dustin Hoffman and Emmett Kelly.

18. She was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on May 26, 1979.

19. She appeared on the British talk show, Parkinson, in 1979.

20. She won two Golden Globes - for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and New Female Star of the Year in a Motion Picture - for her performance in the 1979 drama, The Rose. She also earned her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

21. Her 1979 concert at Pasadena's Civic Auditorium was filmed and released as the 1980 concert film, Divine Madness, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

22. She was a guest on The Barbara Walters Special on April 1, 1980.

23. She starred in the 1982 comedy, Jinxed!, with Ken Wahl and Rip Torn.

24. In 1983, she released her sixth studio album, No Frills, featuring a cover version of the Rolling Stones classic, "Beast of Burden". She also appeared in a video of the song with Mick Jagger.

25. She appeared on Good Morning America to promote her HBO special, Art or Bust, which aired on August 18, 1984.

26. She and Dan Aykroyd were the hosts of the first MTV Video Music Awards on September 14, 1984.

27. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 6, 1985.

28. She appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to promote her 1985 album, Mud Will Be Flung Tonight.

29. She appeared on David Letterman's Holiday Film Festival on November 30, 1985, with her short film, Angst on a Shoestring.

30. She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for the 1986 comedy, Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

31. Ron Reagan interviewed a pregnant Midler on Good Morning America to promote her 1986 comedy, Ruthless People. She gave birth to her daughter, Sophie, on November 14, 1986.

32. She was a guest on The Barbara Walters Special on February 25, 1987.

33. She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for the 1987 film, Outrageous Fortune.

34. She and Lily Tomlin played two sets of identical twins in the 1988 comedy, Big Business.

35. She promoted her 1988 film, Beaches, on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

36. She performed "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" from the Beaches soundtrack on The Tonight Show on December 16, 1988.

37. On February 21, 1990, she won her third Grammy Award for Record of the Year for "Wind Beneath My Wings" from the Beaches soundtrack.

38. On September 4, 1990, she released her seventh studio album, Some People's Lives, which featured one of her biggest hits, "From a Distance".

39. She played a single mother in the 1990 drama, Stella.

40. She played Woody Allen's wife in the 1991 film, Scenes from a Mall.

41. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her performance in the 1991 film, For the Boys. She also received her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. And she sang "Stuff Like That There" from the movie on The Tonight Show on November 22, 1991.

42. She was a guest on The Arsenio Hall Show on December 6, 1991.

43. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for her performance on the penultimate episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on May 21, 1992, during which she sang "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)".

44. She played herself in a 1993 episode of The Simpsons.

45. She starred with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in the 1993 Disney film, Hocus Pocus.

46. She appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman on May 13, 1994.

47. On September 11, 1994, she opened the 46th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards with "Rose's Turn" from the musical, Gypsy, which she received a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film.

48. She appeared as herself on Seinfeld on May 18, 1995.

49. She made an uncredited appearance as Gene Hackman's girlfriend in the 1995 film, Get Shorty.

50. She starred with Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn in the 1996 comedy, The First Wives Club.

51. She made a guest appearance as herself on CBS's The Nanny on April 30, 1997.

52. In 1997, she and Rosie O'Donnell sang "Twisted" together on The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

53. She starred opposite Dennis Farina in the 1997 romantic comedy, That Old Feeling.

54. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program for her 1997 HBO special, Diva Las Vegas.

55. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Murphy's last secretary, Caprice Feldman, in the final episode of Murphy Brown, which aired on May 18, 1998.

56. She and Rosie O'Donnell played the quiz game, You Bette Your Life, on a 1998 episode of The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

57. She and Barry Manilow performed "Friends" on The Roseanne Show on November 2, 1998.

58. She made an uncredited cameo appearance as a therapist in the 2000 romantic comedy, What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.

59. She played author Jacqueline Susann in the 2000 film, Isn't She Great.

60. She starred in the 2000 dark comedy, Drowning Mona, with Danny DeVito and Jamie Lee Curtis.

61. She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for her 2000-01 CBS sitcom, Bette.

62. She appeared in the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives with Nicole Kidman and Glenn Close.

63. She played Helen Hunt's mother in the 2007 film, Then She Found Me.

64. She appeared in the 2008 comedy, The Women, with Meg Ryan and Annette Bening.

65. She performed her Las Vegas show, The Showgirl Must Go On, from 2008 to 2010, and a 2010 HBO special of the show was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

66. She appeared on the Bravo reality series, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, on June 8, 2009.

67. She co-starred with Billy Crystal in the 2012 film, Parental Guidance.

68. In April 2013, she performed on Broadway for the first time in more than 30 years in the play, I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, which ran for 71 performances. After the show's success in New York, she reprised her role at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in December 2013.

69. She released her 14th studio album (and her 25th album overall), It's the Girls!, on November 4, 2014, and she performed on the Today Show on November 6, 2014.


joel65913 said...

Great tribute to the divine Miss M. There is a story behind the pronunciation of her name that goes back to Miss Davis herself.

It seems that Davis even when young wanted to stand apart and although she went by Betty she wanted something more distinctive. A friend's aunt suggested she use the spelling Balzac did for Cousin Bette believing it was pronounced the same as Betty. Davis adopted the spelling but once famous was often referred to as Bet Davis. Midler's mother believed that was the way Davis always pronounced it so in naming her daughter actually used the proper form mistakenly. A rare case of two wrongs ultimately making a right!

Marc Harshbarger said...

Thanks for the interesting info, Joel!