BetteBack: Bette Noire

Chronicle Telegram
Andropov likes Susann, Midler hates Siegel
Sat., Nov. 20, 1982

OUR FIRST talker is the divine Bette Midler who spills it all for the December issue of Rolling Stone. Bette poses on the cover with a red rubber ball on her nose and a wordplay as “Bette Noire.”

The Q. and A. inside is by reporter Nancy Collins and titled, “The Cheese Bomb American Crapola Dream.” This is Bette’s description of the fantasies we thrive on in American life.

Bette says working on the movie “Jinxed” gave her a serious nervous breakdown and drove her onto the couch of a shrink. She kept her mouth shut about the experience until recently, but now no more Mrs. Nice Guy.

Here she lets director Don Siegel, former UA head Steve Bach, and co-star Ken Wahl have it in spades. She says they b e l i e ve in the “adversary school” of moviemaking “where everybody chooses up sides and it’s a fight to the death.”

Some of Bette’s stories on Ken are not repeatable in a newspaper, b ut s he e n ds remarking that he was aggressive and terrible to her: “There is a place for him in show business but hopefully not in my pictures!”

AMONG OTHER things, Bette speaks of her late love a f f a ir with ex-manager Aaron Russo. She is not the Divine Miss M. in real life and says any attempt to BE the character you PLAY will surely kill you. (This, claims Bette, is what happened to John Belushi who tricked himself into behaving like the public’s idea of Belushi.)

Bette reveals she once tried to have an a f f a ir with Bob Dylan but it never happened. She says, “He absolutely charmed the pants off me.” But not literally.

Collins gets Midler to admit she quit drinking because she is “a vicious drunk” with no tolerance for booze. When Nancy asks the star if she does drugs, Bette answers, “I’m not gonna tell you that,” and then promptly adds, “No.”

Collins then suggests that Bette is without vices, causing the actress to agree, “I’m working my way toward divinity!”

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