Bette Midler, affectionately known as “The Divine Miss M,” is an American singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, and film producer. Born on December 1, 1945, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler’s career has spanned over half a century, encompassing a wide range of performances on stage, in films, and in music. Her dynamic presence and versatile talents have made her an enduring icon in the entertainment industry.
Midler’s journey into stardom began with her upbringing in Hawaii, where she was born to Jewish parents from New Jersey. She developed a passion for the arts at a young age, leading her to pursue acting in local community theaters. Seeking broader opportunities, Midler moved to New York City, where she landed her first professional role on Broadway in “Fiddler on the Roof” in the 1960s.
Her breakthrough came in the early 1970s when she began singing at the Continental Baths, a popular gay bathhouse in New York City. Her performances, which blended camp, humor, and heartfelt sentiment, quickly gained a loyal following. Midler’s style, a fusion of brashness and vulnerability, resonated with a wide audience, and she soon became a national sensation.
Midler’s music career took off with the release of her debut album, “The Divine Miss M,” in 1972. The album was a critical and commercial success, earning her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Her hit songs, including “Wind Beneath My Wings,” “The Rose,” and “From a Distance,” showcased her powerful voice and emotional depth, solidifying her status as a music superstar.
Beyond her musical achievements, Midler has had a significant impact in film and television. She starred in a string of successful movies in the 1980s and 1990s, including “The Rose,” based loosely on the life of Janis Joplin, which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Other notable films include “Beaches,” “Ruthless People,” “Hocus Pocus,” and “The First Wives Club.” Her film roles often highlighted her comedic talent and ability to portray complex characters.
Midler’s work on stage is equally noteworthy. She won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in the 2017 Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!” This performance, like many in her career, was acclaimed for its energy and charisma, hallmarks of Midler’s enduring appeal as a performer.
Midler founded the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) in 1995, a nonprofit organization with the goal of reviving neglected parks in underserved neighborhoods. When the city wanted to auction one hundred and fourteen allotments in 1991 for commercial interest, Midler formed a coalition to red the gardens. Today, Midler works with volunteers to ensure the gardens remain safe, clean and vibrant.
Bette Midler’s career is marked by her versatility, resilience, and ability to connect with audiences across various mediums. With multiple Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, and Oscar nominations to her name, Midler has achieved a rare level of success and respect in the entertainment world. Her blend of humor, heart, and boldness, both on and off the stage, has made her an enduring figure in American culture.