Mister D: This is a snippet from an interview where Lily Tomlin talks about working with Bette on the set of “Big Business.”
One actress/singer you’ve worked with in the past was Bette Midler. How was the experience of making “Big Business” for you?
I had known Bette for a long, long time. We started out in the business at relatively the same time, so we’d play a lot of the same places. We both played at Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago and she’d often come in right behind me or the other way around. We both knew Bruce Vilanch from Chicago. He’s another one who gives constantly and will give his time for benefits all the time.
When we were doing “Big Business” ”¦ oh, let me think of what I can share with you and tell. One thing I can say, very simply, was that on our last day of shooting, Bette gave me a big plaque that said that I had graduated from the Midler Institute of Mugging.
We had lots of action on that movie because we went to New York and it was the summertime. It was so damn hot. We had to shoot on the streets for the exteriors. Then we went back to L.A. and we had an earthquake on the soundstage one morning while we were in the make-up trailer. Boy, it rocked like mad! Bette is so darn funny, you know. She wouldn’t go on the soundstage because there was so much hanging overhead, you know? The soundstage is sort of scary when there’s an earthquake. She was lying on the chaise outside of the soundstage and said, “Lil, hun, I can’t work today.” She is such a character.
Sophie [Bette’s daughter] was a baby then. She was just a little toddler. I’ve seen Sophie grow up and she’s gone to Yale and has studied Mandarin Chinese. I always knew that kid was really smart. She looks just like Bette!