Meet the rising star daughter of Bette Midler
By Dana SchusterOctober 18, 2014 | 2:38pm
If youâ€™re thinking the sassy blonde in the new play â€œBilly & Rayâ€ looks familiar, youâ€™re right.
The actress is Sophie von Haselberg, and her mother just happens to be Bette Midler. Sophie makes her NYC theater debut at the Vineyard Theatre this month as a secretary in the play about the birth of the 1944 film â€œDouble Indemnity.â€ Garry Marshall, who directed Midler in â€œBeaches,â€ helms the show.
â€œActing was something I always knew I was going to do, but I didnâ€™t for a long time because of my mom,â€ says Sophie, 27. â€œYou know you will always be compared to your parent.â€ Instead, she studied sociology and East Asian studies at Yale, and later worked at an ad agency in China.
But the acting bug persisted, and she returned to Yale â€” this time to go to drama school â€” in 2011.
Growing up as the only child of Hollywood royalty wasnâ€™t all perks and privilege. â€œ[Midler] can be surprisingly prudish and very old-fashioned,â€ she says.â€œEven [me] cursing, she would get angry about. I was like, â€˜Oh my God, I grew up going to your shows!â€™ But I also get it. She wanted me to be raised as a normal kid.â€
Sophie still dines with her parents â€” Midler and artist Martin von Haselberg â€” every Sunday, and partakes in regular family food pilgrimages to Flushing, Queens. â€œThe last time we went to Flushing, I think we went to six restaurants in search of the perfect cold sesame noodle,â€ says the Union Square resident.
The proud parents came to see their daughter in â€œBilly & Rayâ€ previews, and theyâ€™ll have more to brag about next year. Sophie has a role in an as-yet-untitled Woody Allen film.
For the audition,â€œ[Allen] sort of stood over me while I was reading the scene .â€‰.â€‰. like, really close,â€ she recalls. When she finished, the director said, â€œâ€‰â€˜Okay, that was goodâ€™ .â€‰.â€‰. And I just left. No handshake. Nothing .â€‰.â€‰. I walked down Park Avenue by myself, looking up to the sky thinking â€˜that was so crazy!â€™ â€
Luckily, Midlerâ€™s given her plenty of advice. The best piece?
â€œUm,â€ laughs Sophie. â€œAlways curl your lashes?â€