BetteBack: Success Bursts Upon The Divine Miss M ~ SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1973

It’s a tropical thunderstorm/;
No, it’s Bette Midler

No one could say that success has crept up on Bette Midler – it burst upon her like one of those tropical” thunderstorms that sometimes hit her native Hawaii. Unknown only -a short time ago, she has become’ one of the most popular, young talents in America today.

“Sensational!” is how producers Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion describe her performance on the new Burt Bacharach special airing on Channels 2, 3 and 7 Wednesday at 8:00PM

“She’s the most dynamic person Dwight and I have worked with in several years. In this business, newcomers are always likened to other stars. Bette has the individual qualities of a lot of others but all rolled into one, she’s not like any of them. She’s just one of a special kind,” exclaimed Smith.


And Bette Midler laughs through it all. When Bette laughs it’s as though all the floodlights have suddenly been switched on.

“When did I realize I was finally a star?,” she echoed a questioner. “I haven’t realized it yet! It all seems like a fairy tale, and mine’s not really a fairy tale life. So it’s hard to believe it’s me people are talking about.”

One of Bette’s particular specialties is her vivid interpretation ‘of the tunes from’ the 1940’s, “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” (Mister D: she ended up singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy) one of the numbers she sings in the Bacharach special– –makes it easy to jump to the conclusion that Bette has seized upon a gimmick.

“What really happened,” she explained, “is that I was brought up in the ’40s and and the records my parents had were, of course, of the ’30s and ’40s. I found myself fascinated by the music but even more fascinated by the women singers. Like the Andrews Sisters, whom I imitate in ‘Chattanooga.’ – “I never intended to concentrate on the oldies. . .in fact, I don’t. I sing contemporary numbers as well. But everyone has seized on the way I sing the oldies, so I guess that’s my strength.”


Who cooked up “The Divine Miss M?”

“That just happened, too!” she answered. “I was always imagining myself as the people I wanted to play–real people and characters alike. I seemed to feel their presence and would be carried away by them.

And people started saying, ‘Isn’t she divine!’ Before I knew where I was, I was being called ‘Divine’ and it stuck.”

“The Divine Miss M” is the title of her really chart-topping first album which combines the oldies, but goodies, and some great current songs, including her Top 40‘s hit “Do You Wanna Dance.”

Bette’s exuberant vitality is one of her most appealing characteristics.

“I was hyper-active as a child!” she explained.

“I could never sit still or stay in one place.” But it didn’t get her into trouble. “T watched other people getting into trouble instead!”

Share A little Divinity

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