Martin Short’s Funny & Heartfelt Tribute To Bette Midler
“There are very few people in show business that I truly admire, and Bette Midler is very close to being one of them. And tonight, she receives her well-deserved Kennedy Centre Honor. And not to make it about me, but I can’t stop being reminded of when I got my Kennedy Centre Honor…five years from now.
Bette Midler is an innovator. A true influencer for decades, back when then the label influencer actually required talent.
And when I think of Bette, and it’s not often… I reflect on someone that I am proud to call a friend. And it’s not because she’s successful or rich… it’s because she’s both.
And oh that voice: so cool and unique and such a brilliant actress of song. Before Wind Beneath My Wings, I didn’t know how to describe cocaine. Not only an iconic performer, Bette is also in the songwriters hall of fame, won three Grammys, four Golden Globe Awards, three Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards. and has planted over 1 million trees, making her that rarity, a dog’s best friend.
I was lucky enough to be in the audience opening night for her Tony Award winning performance in Hello Dolly on Broadway a couple of years back. And I found her work so deeply mesmerizing that 10-minutes into her performance I whispered into my phone, “I’m going to have to call you back”.
Bette once told me, “Can you believe my work has spanned nearly six decades across different genres, eras, and media?” And I said, “That’s great Bette, but my question was, “How is your family?”
Oh, and also, in her spare time, Bette Midler has helped restore and make New York City more beautiful. And usually when people in show business say they are going to restore something, it means they’re getting more botox.
For 25 years, the New York Restoration Project, which Bette founded, has renovated gardens, restored parks, planted trees, educated students, strengthened communities, promoted food sovereignty, and supported environmental and social justice.
Bette, I’m truly in awe at what you’ve accomplished with your remarkable life. And you have done it with talent and tenacity and skill and wisdom and such utter generosity.
In the forest of entertainment trees, Bette Midler is a giant redwood -and like a redwood, timeless, awe inspiring and something everyone should see in person to make their life complete.
I could go on and on, but I’ll never forget what the great Mandy Patinkin once told me once about show business…he said, “Always leave the audience wanting less.”
Bette, you are the Divine Miss M…the Divine Miss Original and on behalf of your countless fans, congratulations on being again, so deeply deserving of this year’s Kennedy Center Honor.” – Martin Short