To celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of the most talented actresses and singers of all time, here are 15 things about Bette Midler that you probably didn’t know:
– Is named after Bette Davis and her sisters Susan and Judy are named after Susan Hayward and Judy Garland.
– Was the final guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962).
– 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).
– She worked at a Dole pineapple processing plant in Hawaii in her early years.
– The role of Delores Van Carter in ‘Sister Act’ (1992) was originally written for her. However, she turned down the role which went to Whoopi Goldberg.
– She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6922 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 6, 1985.
– Ranked #51 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll.
– Bette’s paternal grandparents, Ruben Midler and Minnie Friedman, were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland. Bette’s maternal grandparents, Israel D. Schindel and Fannie Goldberger, were Jewish immigrants from Austria/Hungary and Poland.
– She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
– Her first big album “The Divine Miss M” was produced by Barry Manilow.
– 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” (1988) (#44), “The Rose” (1979), (#83).
– Is a huge fan and longtime friend of the late singer Rosemary Clooney.
– 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.
– Is a staunch liberal Democrat.
– Performed her cabaret act at the famed gay men’s club, The Continental Baths, in the 1970s with Barry Manilow as her accompanist.