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BetteBack September 7, 1990: Bette Midler Regrets Making All Those Karen Carpenter Jokes

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Syracuse Herald Journal
September 7, 1990

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Bette Midler says she doesn’t know why she was so mean to Karen Carpenter in her old stage revue. “I regret making all those Karen Carpenter anorexia jokes,” says Midler, whose stage act used to brim with put-downs and nasty one-liners. “I cannot tell you how much I apologize. From the bottom of my soul, I apologize to her and her family. Harry (her husband) and I have a house in Orange County, and every time we drive by the area where Karen lived, I think about her. She had tremendous talent, and I was a jerk for saying those things. I was young and stupid and crazy and thought I was doing profound and enduring stuff. But I wasn’t — I was adding to the ugliness in the world.”

For all her newfound low-key ways, Midler still has a sharp tongue. Take, for instance, her contribution to Roseanne Barr bashing, the country’s newest pastime. “The one time I saw her,” says Midler of Barr, “she said something that so offended me I thought, ‘What kind of barbarian are you?’ Her humor is too dark and overwhelming. I’m sorry, but I don’t think she’s funny. I think she’s crass.”

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