By Liz Smith
August 7, 1993
“It’s a hard life. It is a very hard life. Especially If you’re not in the big, big, big, BIG time. If you just meander along, it’s really hard,” said Bette Midler, expounding on the rigors of show biz.”
Fans of Lainie Kazan might remember that, back in the ’70s, the actress/singer’s career wasn’t going so great. Kazan – a voluptuous stunner – got a highpowered start as Barbra Streisand’s “Funny Girl” understudy in 1965, and from there went on to a hot nightclub career. But as the decade faded, so did Lainie. It was during this somewhat fallow period that Lainle accepted an offer from Playboy to run two of Its
night spots. (She also appeared nude in the magazine itself – one of the publication’s more memorable photo essays.) Over a period of four years, Lainle single-handedly booked rooms, answered phones, performed, ordered the food and greeted patrons at Lalnle’s Room West (in LA) and Lainie’s Room East (in New York City). She was a smashing success.
Now Bette Midler has optioned the story of Lainie’s life – this nightclub-entrepreneur period in particular – and plans to bring it to theÂ screen. Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna are writing a treatment focusing on Lainie’s hotel days and nights. Bette will produce this via Disney and her own All Girl Productions. I am not quite sure, and neither was anybody else, whether Bette will actually play Lainie, or a fictional character based on Kazan and her experiences. Either way, it sounds like the sort of material Midler loves to plunge her performing chops into.
As for Lainle, she has been running at top speed for the past decade – much In demand for film and stage roles (“My Favorite Year,” “TheÂ Cemetery Club,” “One From the Heart”). She opens at New York City’s Rainbow S Stars Sept. Â£8 and cuts her first album in 15 years momentarily.
Bette Midler has also optioned the rights to the story of another indomitable woman – Florence Greenberg, the New Jersey housewife whoÂ became the president of Scepter Records and discovered the Shirelles. Bette, of course, will portray Florence, and there is talk about the super-hot girl group En Vogue appearing as the Shirelles. (But It will pain Bette not being able to sing those great old songs. Maybe she can swing it to play both Florence Greenberg and the Shirelles!)
Midler, according to Variety, will produce this in tandem with Eddie Murphy Productions. (It was Murphy who convinced Midler to bring herÂ All Girl Productions over to Paramount for this effort.)