BETTE MIDLER Biography - Musicians


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Name: Bette Midler                                                                 
Birth name: Bette Davis Midler                                                     
Born: 1 December 1945 Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.                                       
Bette Davis Midler (born December 1, 1945) is an American singer, actress and     
comedienne, also known to her fans as The Divine Miss M. She is named after the   
actress Bette Davis although Davis pronounced her first name in two syllables,     
and Midler uses one. During her career, she has won four Grammy Awards, an Emmy   
Award, and a Tony Award, and has been nominated for two Academy Awards. She is     
currently performing a new concert show, The Showgirl Must Go On, live five       
nights a weeks as a headliner at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.                     
Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of Ruth (née Schindel), a       
seamstress and housewife, and Fred Midler, a house painter who painted for the     
Navy while in Hawaii. Her parents were from New Jersey and moved to               
Honolulu shortly before Midler was born. 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 majored in drama at the         
University of Hawaii (though she only attended for three semesters), and           
earned money in the film Hawaii (released in 1966) as an extra, playing a         
seasick passenger.                                                                 
In 1965, she relocated to New York City after using the money she got for         
playing an extra, and landed her first professional onstage role in Tom Eyen's     
Off-Off-Broadway plays in 1965, Miss Nefertiti Regrets and Cinderella Revisited,   
a 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 cab.                                                                         
In 1970, Midler began singing in the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in the     
city, where she became close to her piano accompanist, Barry Manilow, who         
produced her first major album, The Divine Miss M in 1973.                         
Despite the way things turned out [with the AIDS crisis], I'm still proud of       
those days [singing at gay bathhouses]. 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.