BetteBack: Midler Signs Movie Deal With Columbia Pictures

Mister D: As we all know, this deal went nowhere fast….

Midler signs film contract
The Los Angeles Times
June 25, 1976

HOLLYWOOD – Bette Midler, the brilliant singer-comedienne often called by herself and others “the last of the truly tacky ladies,” will bring her “trash with class” to the movies via a multimillion -dollar contract and long-term agreement with Columbia Pictures.

The pact calls for four films during the next seven years and “development of properties” by a newly formed Bette
Midler-Aaron Russo Production Co. Russo is Miss Midler’s spokesman and personal manager. She was unavailable for
comment. – “The Divine Miss M,” as she is known to her devotees, first gained national recognition while singing at New
York’s gay Continental Baths. More recently, she has toured with a show based, for the most part, on her Broadway success, “Clams on the Half Shell.” Her hit records include “Do You Wanna Dance?” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of
Company B.” ,This was the next logical step for her,” said Russo” . who transferred offices here this week from New York.

“Her entire career has been geared toward the movies,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for just the right moment.” The right moment apparently didn’t occur in 1975 when Miss Midler (who was named by her mother for Bette Davis but changed the pronunciation to “Bet” turned down an offer from Mike Nichols for a leading role in “The Fortune.” “It wasn’t unique or special enough,” said Russo. “Nine or 10 other actresses could have played the part.” The role was eventually taken by Stockard Channing.

“We also turned down ‘Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood,”‘ added Russo, “and thank God for that. Listen, there have literally been hundreds of movie offers but the time wasn’t right.”

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