Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions


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The entertainer and activist answers 53 of life’s most pressing questions
By Ashley Baker
SEPTEMBER 24, 2022


Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions. Throughout Bette Midler’s long and active career, there are few artistic feats she hasn’t achieved.

Bette Midler


Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions. Throughout Bette Midler’s long and active career, there are few artistic feats she hasn’t achieved. For over 50 years, she has been a steady presence on screens and stages of all varieties, and she has accolades and awards to show for it. A lifelong environmentalist, Midler has devoted many of her nonworking hours to the New York Restoration Project, the nonprofit organization she co-founded in 1995, which revitalizes the city’s parks and community spaces. This month, she returns to Disney+ with Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel to her 1993 hit film. On the occasion, she shares her thoughts on the key components of the good life. —Ashley Baker

AIRLINE: Braniff.
AIRPORT: Hollywood Burbank Airport.
ALIBI: If I tell you, I won’t be able to use it again.
APP: The New York Times.
BAG: Paper.
BIRTHDAY: My daughter making a Mexican feast.
BOYFRIEND: Jann Wenner.
BREAKFAST, WEEKDAY: Two cappuccinos with oat milk. I’m so embarrassed.
BREAKFAST, WEEKEND: Waffles. My dad’s waffle recipe, a vintage waffle iron, and our own maple syrup.
CAR: The green Prius my husband gave me for my birthday in 2012, painted in 1950s Porsche Aurantium green. I’m a goddess to every valet in Los Angeles.
CHILD: My beloved Sophie Pinkie Flower Pie Fredericka Alohilani von Haselberg.
COCKTAIL: Gin-and-tonic. Sarah Jessica Parker introduced me to Empress gin. Lavender-colored; it’s like drinking the sky.
COCKTAIL APPETIZER: Marinated anchovies with paximadia, which is dried bread.

Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions
Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions?

COUPLE: Sophie and Harry.
DATE: A trek to an old movie house and a black-and-white film I’ve never seen before with someone who loves to talk about movies.
DIET: Intermittent fasting.
DINNER, WEEKDAY: Anything but meat.
DINNER, WEEKEND: Mexican anything.
DISGUISE: I’m unrecognizable out of drag.
DRIVE: Blue highways.
ENEMY: You’re kidding, right?
ESCAPE: The New York Public Library.
EXCUSE: “The oven wasn’t calibrated.”
FIRST LADY/FIRST MAN: Eleanor and Franklin, Elizabeth and Philip, Michelle and Barack …

FIT:
As tight as humanly possible onstage; offstage, muumuus.

FLAW: Haste.
FRIEND: Carole Bayer Sager and Toni Basil, whom I’ve known for nearly 50 years.
GOOD-BYE: “Aloha Oe.”
HIDEAWAY: Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki.
INDULGENCE: Books, music, linens, and travel.

Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions

INSULT: “You have no talent.”
JACKET: Christian Dior Bar.
KISS-OFF: “Back the fuck off, motherfucker!”
LAST MEAL: Red beans and rice with a side of my mother’s potato salad.
MOVIE: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
NAME: Gussie Finknottle, Honoria Glossop.
NONFICTION BOOK: Disloyal: A Memoir—The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, by Michael Cohen. I liked him for spilling the beans.
NOVEL: Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov.
OPENING-NIGHT GREETING: “A warm hand on your opening.”
PANTS: Huge Comme des Garçons from 1995. Patched.
PET: Queen Puddles, Jack Russell. She hated everyone but me.
QUOTE: “Humans are an invasive species.” —Edwina von Gal
RESTAURANT: Guisados in East Los Angeles.
RIDE: The one with the least emissions.
SAYING: Why enjoy the present when you can regret the past and fear the future?

Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions
Bette Midler Answers 53 Of Life’s Most Crucial Questions

SHOES: Spike heels, now Skechers. Imagine my surprise.
SPOUSE: Incredibly, for 38 years, the intriguing and completely original Martin von Haselberg.
STORM: Four unbearable years with the odious Donald Trump topped off by a global pandemic and an insurrection. WTF? Or, Tempest Storm, a burlesque artist who worked in the 50s. Big on the West Coast.
STREET: Atlanta Street, Halawa, Hawaii. Now under the H-1 Freeway on Oahu.
TELEVISION SERIES: I Love Lucy. Forever.
THEME SONG TO YOUR LIFE: “Do You Wanna Dance?”
VIEW: The Aegean Sea from the mountains of Crete.
WRITING IMPLEMENT: Pencil, Blackwing Palomino, with the only eraser that actually works anymore.

Bette’s Essentials

Clockwise from top left: Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov; Lucille Ball; a Dior Bar jacket; an Empress-gin cocktail; Blackwing Palomino pencils.
Clockwise from top left: Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov; Lucille Ball; a Dior Bar jacket; an Empress-gin cocktail; Blackwing Palomino pencils.

Photos: James White/Trunk Archive (Midler); Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images (Ball)

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