The Salina Journal
Sunday, April 2,1989
Bette Midler is said to be an extremely generous woman, giving as much time and money as she can to various charities. She seems to be especially supportive of the fight against AIDS. Does she have any personal reason for this?–P.E.
I’d say so. When she was in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway, she was in love with actor Ben Gillespie, who turned out to be gay. The hairdresser on that musical, Bill Hennesey, who later became a writer for her, also was gay. The three were close friends. Both men died of AIDS.
While Gillespie was dying, Bette was constantly at his hospital bedside, and although she never admits it, she paid all his hospital bills.