BroadwayWorld has learned that Broadway star Bette Midler (I’LL EAT YOU LAST) will lead a biopic from HBO about the life of stage and screen icon Mae West. Based on West’s autobiography, GOODNESS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, director William Friedkin is helming the project, and Harvey Fierstein will pen the teleplay.
The as of yet unnamed film will cover West’s early stage performance days. Particularly, it will focus on her time in Gotham when she ran into trouble with censors and even the law for her Rialto show, “Sex.” Midler, Friedkin, and Jerry Weintraub (HBO’s BEHIND THE CANDELABRA) are set to executive produce.
Bette Midler is an American singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, and film producer. In a career spanning almost half a century, Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has sold over 35 million records worldwide and along with that has also received four Gold, three Platinum and three Multiplatinum albums by RIAA.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler began her professional career in several Off-Off-Broadway plays prior to her engagements in Fiddler on the Roof and Salvation on Broadway in the late 1960s. She came to prominence in 1970 when she began singing in the Continental Baths, a local gay bathhouse, where she managed to build up a core following. Since then, she has released 13 studio albums as a solo artist. Throughout her career, many of her songs became hits on the record charts, including her renditions of “The Rose”, “Wind Beneath My Wings”, “Do You Want to Dance”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy“, and “From a Distance”. In 2008, she signed a contract with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to perform a series of shows titled Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, which ended in January 2010.
Midler made her motion picture debut in 1979 with The Rose, which earned her a Golden Globe and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress of 1980. In the following years she starred in a string of hit films that includes Down and Out in Beverly Hills, OUTRAGEOUS Fortune, Beaches, The First Wives Club, and The Stepford Wives, as well as For the Boys and Gypsy, the latter two of which she won two further Golden Globe Awards.