Why Glee’s Teased Bette Midler Cameo Never Happened
March 19, 2023
The Ryan Murphy classic Glee ran for six seasons and over time, introduced countless greats in music, theater, and Hollywood, however, the show still managed to forget one iconic figure: Bette Midler. Glee followed the quirky yet talented glee club, New Directions, at middle-of-nowhere McKinley High School. The series emphasized themes of inclusion, diversity, and belonging, and also included endless iconic, over-the-top musical numbers performed by the cast in each episode.
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Over the years, Glee had various celebrity guest appearances on the show. Some highlights include Gwenyth Paltrow, Kristen Chenoweth, John Stamos, Idina Menzel, and Neil Patrick Harris. The series also dedicated entire episodes to significant musical influences, such as Britney Spears. When it came to musical greats such as Better Midler, it was no question that the Glee would want to bring them on board, however with Midler, the cameo simply didn’t happen, despite both parties being in agreement.
Glee Never Followed Up On Its Bette Midler Cameo
According to an interview with Access Hollywood in 2012, Bette Midler claimed that Glee creator Ryan Murphy confirmed that she would be brought onto the series, but ultimately never called her back. Before this revelation, rumors had spread that Murphy definitely was bringing Midler on and would cast her as Rachel Berry’s (Lea Michele) grandmother. This news was exciting to viewers, and presumably to Midler as well, however, the casting never actually came to fruition. Apparently, Glee’s Ryan Murphy let the plan drop without further comment.
One reason for this could be the immense change Glee was experiencing in 2012. Unlike in past seasons, the characters were split up in different locations, as some of the fictional glee club members had graduated and moved to New York while others remained, joined by a new generation. This difference could have made it more difficult to add new story elements such as Bette Midler. Additionally, in the middle of Glee season 4, Cory Monteith, who played jock Finn Hudson, had to leave the show to attend rehab. Once again, these changes most likely distracted Ryan Murphy and kept him from following up with Bette Midler.
Glee Paid Tribute To Bette Midler In Other Ways
Fortunately, Glee didn’t completely ignore the musical influence of Bette Midler. Her songs appeared on a few occasions throughout the series. In Glee season 5, episode 18, Glee’s Rachel Berry sings “The Rose” which is the iconic song that Midler sang for the end credits of her movie The Rose. Additionally, Midler’s music appeared even earlier in the series when Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) sings an intense rendition of “Rose’s Turn” which Midler sang in the musical movie Gypsy.
Although Bette Midler didn’t get a chance to physically appear in Glee, she certainly had a presence in the series regardless. Though it would have been great to see her alongside the Glee cast, unfortunate events and changing storylines during that time meant that the cameo had to go to the wayside. Luckily though, Kurt’s version of “Rose’s Turn” still exists online and can be replayed forever.