Meet the rising star daughter of Bette Midler

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Meet the rising star daughter of Bette Midler
By Dana SchusterOctober 18, 2014 | 2:38pm

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Martin Von Haselberg, Sophie Von Haselberg and Bette Midler attend the “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers” Broadway opening night after-party at The Russian Tea Room on April 24, 2013.Photo: FilmMagic

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?”

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2 thoughts on “Meet the rising star daughter of Bette Midler

  1. It’s going to be interesting to watch her career. I hate to say it, but as a gay man I sorta’ HAVE to: There’s an echo here to Judy and Liza. And because there’s a pretty heavy generation gap between Midler and von Hasselberg, that will show in her work as well. Bette has always been so heavily-influenced by the acting styles of the early to mid-century, that the same broad hammy schtick that brought her (and often Garland) such fame and success is now often used to unfairly discredit her abilities. Sophie, on the other hand–and especially with her recent Yale Conservatory training–has some of the best acting classes on the PLANET right now, and under Garry Marshall’s and Woody Allen’s direction, it will be fascinating to see the differences between her style and her mother’s under the watch of her previous employers.

    Having said that, every time I have seen photographs of Sophie working the boards, her posture, gesturing, physicality, PROFILE, and mannerisms are as undeniably Bette Midler as I have ever seen in my life. That girl has paid attention to her mother, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that, while Bette Midler is totally irreplaceable, we will have a chance to watch parts of her style resonate to newer audiences.

    Also, the idea of seeing the two working together would be kinda’ awesome too. Bring on Sophie von Hasselberg. I’ll definitely be watching.

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