September 21, 1990
I am an admirer ofBette Midler and especially loved her role in “Beaches.” When and where was she born? Any other information on her would be appreciated. – E.M. BREWER, ASHEVILLE, N.C.
Bette Midler was born Dec. 1, 1945, in Paterson, N.J., and was named after one of her mother’s favorite actresses, Bette Davis. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where her father worked as a painter for the U.S. Navy.
Both of Midler’s parents are deceased, as is an older sister, Judy (named after Judy Garland). Midler has another older sister, Susan “(named after Susan Hayward), and a younger brother, Daniel, who is slightly retarded.
Midler studied drama at the University of Hawaii for a year and made her film debut as a missionary’s wife in the 1965 feature “Hawaii.”
She moved to New York City in 1965 and built a reputation as a bawdy cabaret performer. Her first album, “The Divine Miss M” (1972), won her a Grammy as Best New Artist of the Year.
Midler’s big film break came in 1979 with the Janis Joplin-inspired role in “The Rose,” which led to an Oscar nomination. She has also appeared in the films “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (1985), “Ruthless People” (1986), “Outrageous Fortune” (1987) and the recent “Stella.”
She married Harry Kipper (real name, Martin von Haselberg) in December 1984, and their daughter, Sophie, was born in 1986.