Meet the rising star daughter of Bette Midler
By Dana SchusterOctober 18, 2014 | 2:38pm
If you’re thinking the sassy blonde in the new play “Billy & Ray” looks familiar, you’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 “Double Indemnity.” Garry Marshall, who directed Midler in “Beaches,” helms the show.
“Acting was something I always knew I was going to do, but I didn’t for a long time because of my mom,” says Sophie, 27. “You know you will always be compared to your parent.” 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 – this time to go to drama school – in 2011.
Growing up as the only child of Hollywood royalty wasn’t all perks and privilege. “[Midler] can be surprisingly prudish and very old-fashioned,” she says.“Even [me] cursing, she would get angry about. I was like, ”˜Oh my God, I grew up going to your shows!’ But I also get it. She wanted me to be raised as a normal kid.”
Sophie still dines with her parents – Midler and artist Martin von Haselberg – every Sunday, and partakes in regular family food pilgrimages to Flushing, Queens. “The last time we went to Flushing, I think we went to six restaurants in search of the perfect cold sesame noodle,” says the Union Square resident.
The proud parents came to see their daughter in “Billy & Ray” previews, and they’ll have more to brag about next year. Sophie has a role in an as-yet-untitled Woody Allen film.
For the audition,“[Allen] sort of stood over me while I was reading the scene .”‰.”‰. like, really close,” she recalls. When she finished, the director said, “”‰”˜Okay, that was good’ .”‰.”‰. And I just left. No handshake. Nothing .”‰.”‰. I walked down Park Avenue by myself, looking up to the sky thinking ”˜that was so crazy!’ ”
Luckily, Midler’s given her plenty of advice. The best piece?
“Um,” laughs Sophie. “Always curl your lashes?”