Category Archives: Interviews

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Video: Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night – Includes Bette Midler Segment – 1978

bette on the bruce forsyth show 1978

This video, Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night is something like a telethon with many guests. There is a full Bette Midler segment with a hilarious interview and two songs, Hello In There and Leader Of The Pack. This is an English show, Bette Midler was there starting her World Tour.

Bette Midler was performing at the London Palladium in 1978 in her Trash With Flash tour, and I went to see her the week before she was due on my TV show Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night. All the way through her act she kept falling on the floor and talking to the audience from where she was lying. It was very funny indeed. And boy could she sing. Read More

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Radio: Rita Houston talks with Bette Midler, Sarah McLachlan and Aimee Mann, Monday, December 24, 2018

Omaha Public Radio
Join KIOS this Christmas for great stories and holiday music! 
By TODD HATTON 
December 19, 2018

Cool Yule – 11 am to 12 pm

Host Rita Houston talks with Bette Midler, Sarah McLachlan and Aimee Mann about holiday music and traditions, featuring exclusive live performances and new additions to the Christmas catalog.

To Listen:

Click Here (The Play Button Is In The Heading Top Of The Page)

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Bette Midler: Bootleg Betty Exclusive: Bruce Vilanch, Unfiltered

Bette Midler: Bootleg Betty
Exclusive: Bruce Vilanch, Unfiltered
By Guest Writer: Todd Sussman
October 4, 2018

Bruce Vilanch
Bruce Vilanch

He’s naughty, bawdy, and brash.  I love it!  He was – and still is – the perfect match to write for Bette Midler.  Here, Mr. Vilanch shares the view from his front-row seat with Bette, going all the way back to the early days.   Bruce is always insightful and sometimes off-color…and it was my honor to interview him.

Todd:  When did you first meet Bette?

Bruce: It was during the Paleozoic period, shortly after the Big Bang. That would make it about 50 years ago – where’s my Xanax? – in Chicago at a club called Mister Kelly’s. She had been on Broadway as the eldest daughter in Fiddler on the Roof and was working on a nightclub act.  I was sent to review her. History is made at night! Read More

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

New Artist Bright Light Bright Light Album Cover Inspired By Bette Midler’s Outfit In Big Business

Into More
Bright Light Bright Light on ‘Tough Love,’ His Friendship With Elton John, and Scoring ‘Queers’
BY DAVID OPIE 26 SEP 2018

New Artist Bright Light Bright Light Album Cover Inspired By Bette Midler’s Outfit In Big Business

Ever since Rod Thomas first stepped away from his sleepy Welsh hometown and released his debut single in 2010, Bright Light Bright Light has won over fans and critics alike with his unique brand of shiny electropop. Since then, the independent singer/songwriter has toured with his friends Elton John and the Scissor Sisters, as well as starting his own dance party in New York called Romy & Michele’s Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance.

INTO spoke with Bright Light Bright Light about his new EP, Tough Love, the influence cinema has on his music and what it’s like to be labeled as a “gay artist.” Along the way, we also discussed Deadpool 3RuPaul’s Drag Race, and his undying adoration for actress Catherine O’Hara. Read More

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Friday, June 9, 2017

My Interview With Luke Martin-Jones From “Spanish Views”: Interview with Don Bradshaw, from online scrapbook ‘Bootleg Betty.’

1930867_38770509026_8015_nIn my fourth ‘Luke Martin-Jones Interview,’ I have had the pleasure of speaking to Don Bradshaw, from ‘Bootleg Betty.’ This fantastic website is an online scrapbook, chronicling the life and career of one my favourite actresses, entertainers and singers, the wonderful Bette Midler.

I have been a fan of Ms Midler’s, since I was a small child. Whilst growing up in the 1970s and 80s, coming to terms with my sexuality, Bette became a big part of my life. I remember going to clubs and pubs, frequently hearing her voice, as I finally began to discover who I truly was.

Don (62) has created an online archive, covering every aspect of Ms Midler’s life. It is packed full of photographs, videos, quotes and words from the great lady herself and is an absolute joy to read. As a fan, I have discovered much about Bette, that I never knew before; a lady that isn’t only a star of stage and screen and an accomplished singer but is also a devoted campaigner and activist.

Don would love the readers of ‘Spanish Views,’ to take a look at his online Scrapbook, ‘Bootleg Betty;’ (Click on the banner above to take you to his site) it comes highly recommended from me. All of you, young, old, curious or like me, a devoted fan, will enjoy what Don has built, over fifteen years of hard work and dedication. Leave comments and play a part in this archive of irreplaceable material, collected by Don, on display for all of us to enjoy. If you have any Bette Midler memories, stories and items, you wish to share with Don, he would love to hear from you!

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Thank you to Don Bradshaw for agreeing to take part in this interview. I wish you continued success in all your endeavours. Thank you for your innovative online scrapbook, I look forward to reading further stories, listening to more of her music and introducing my readers to the wonderful world of ‘Bootleg Betty.’

Interview with Don Bradshaw, from online scrapbook ‘Bootleg Betty.’: CLICK HERE

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Notes From Bette Midler’s Carole Bayer Sager Interview (Thanks Christy Labonte!)

Notes From Bette Midler’s Carole Bayer Sager Interview (Thanks Christy Labonte!)
By Christy Labonte
October 17, 2016

2016-10-19_4-33-56

Great story about her and Bette writing a song together. Carole goes to Bette’s house. Bette was renting a house in Bel-Air. Bruce Roberts was there. Bette says to Carole “Okay Carole, we aren’t going to write songs about rain or this or that like you usually do” so Bette starts looking in books and she goes “Lengthy, why don’t you ever use the word lengthy in one of your songs?” LOL Carole says to her “Bette, I’ve been writing very simple songs for years” Bette replies to her “Well now you’re going to write a different one and these will be hits too.” That last quote is a bit off from what she actually said, but close enough. Bette chimed in that she wanted to write a song like the Beatles. It was a very funny story. They also talked about how Bette gave her the Oscar for Arthur’s Theme and they were still in the middle of their riff and Carole said she remembered she told Bette how happy she was that she was giving her the award. Those are the tidbits that had to do with the two of them. She was a great interviewer.

Christy Labonte & Carole Bayer Sager

Christy Labonte & Carole Bayer Sager

Hardback:

Kindle:

  • HELLO, DOLLY!’s Bette Midler to Chat with Carole Bayer Sager at the 92Y
  • Bette Midler and Carole Bayer Sager Set for 92Y Talk
  • Bette Midler’s “Live At Last” Has Been ReIssued And Remasterd
  • Miss M’s Cultural Corner: They’re Playing Our Song: A Memoir By Carole Bayer Sager (Oct. 18th)
  • Carole Bayer Sager Lands Deal With Simon & Schuster
  • Read More

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    Friday, June 24, 2016

    BetteBack July 3, 1972: Clothes Make Bette Midler (interview)

    Derrick
    July 3, 1972

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    I guess you could call Bette Midler a clothes horse.. .but honey, you should see the clothes.

    When I met the performer like whom there is no other, she was wearing deep cuffed ecru slacks and a revealing red and white polka dot something. Actually, I think It was a bikini top. This is in a put-on the dog French restaurant, mind you.

    Anyway, tht piece de resistance was that on each strap she had pinned a pair of two inch square red dice.

    It is needless to point out-If you have ever seen Miss Midler in person or on the Johnny Carson show – that she is built like Diana of Ephesus, and the mostly male luncheon crowd was captivated by the dice, no doubt.

    Bette Midler, in her private version of haute couture, at least gets points for being consistent. Not only does she wear faint-and-die outfits offstage, but she performs in such get-ups as gold lame pedal pushers under a Mack Milan Gish corsette. “Look,” she said, “I’m a tacky lady and I wear what feels comfortable. That’s just the way 1 am.”

    BETTE LETS YOU know that in certain circles, she is considered a conservative dresser. “The lady who does my clothes attracted so much attention when she stepped off the plane in Las Vegas that they arrested her.”

    For her clothes, I asked?

    “That must have been it. She was wearing green Wedgies, purple tights, a gray print dress with a huge hibiscus, 270 bracelets and three pairs of earrings. Both ears are tatooed, by the way. She had on orange eyelashes—top and bottom—and a fabulous hat she made herself…there were baby shoes on it, a pipe cleaner doll, tinsel and a bowling trophy.”

    But you can’t lock people up for their clothes, I pointed out, “Well. . .she did have some pills with her.” On the hat, no doubt.

    Then Bette Midler began to talk about herself. “People don’t know what to make of me. I’m more used to being disliked than liked. I always had to fight to make people like me. I wasn’t one of the people other people considered beautiful.”

    One would have to agree, her red hair looks as though it had been poured on her head by a cake decorator, her front tooth is chipped and her nose. . .well, classic It ain’t. And yet, when you see her perform, the looks don’t matter at all. Bette, in fact, belongs to that elite group of entertainers whose following are not fans – but a cult.

    Is it fun, I asked, to have all that devotion and increasing acclaim? “1 suppose it has its rewards,” she said with little enthusiasm. YOU MEAN YOU don’t feel “up” when you’re performing? “Once in a while it feels good,” she answered, “but most of the time I feel awful. It used to be fun…but now it’s work. I’m always tired and I sleep as much as 1 can. Performing is exhausting. Being an adult is really the pits,” she sighed.

    For all her madness on stage, Bette Midler is wistful and waif-like. This lady, who is only 26, has a 100-year-old soul.

    “After another bunch of years I plan to quit,” she said. “1 want to go to Samoa, or Java, where things are simple. Everything about our country frightens me — the things people consider important. They don’t take care of their friends or their world. My one fear is being alone and forgotten when I’m old. I don’t think that could happen in a place like Samoa. I’m really simple and I’m looking for simplicity.”

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    Monday, June 20, 2016

    BetteBack April 2, 1972: Singin’ In The Tubs (Interview)

    Independent Press Telegram
    April 2, 1972

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    She’s 5-feet, 1-inch high, downright homely, absolutely dizzy, and rarer than a homemade honeybun. She’s crazy Bette Midler (one syllable, just plain “8et” and she’s got a star-bent tiger by the tail and can’t let go. You’ve seen her on all the talk shows, and you’re going to be hearing a lot more.

    Showbiz crystal-ball gazers say she’s going to be the biggest thing since Streisand. Up from the stygian depths of New York’s steamy, seamy night spas, Bette is emerging like a nymphet Lorelei, singing and tempting her eclectic audiences right onto the comfortable-rare rocks of laughter and sentimentality. No matter where this deliciously irisance creature performs, she leaves her fans standing and screaming for more of her special, zany brand of entertainment.

    Where Bette has performed is even more unusual than where she was born, which was Honolulu.

    Honolulu? “Yeah, 1 know, me and Don Ho,” shrugs this zaftig waif. “I left my family in Hawaii, came to New York and started singing. I got the role of Tzeitel in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ but after that nothing much happened.

    Until this nut, Stephen Ostrow, came along and asked: ‘Honey, I just hired the chic Richard Orbach to redecorate the Continental Health Club, and I’m thinking of putting in entertainment.

    How would you like to sing in the baths?’ Do you believe him? The baths! As in Turkish! As in boys!

    Sure. Sure, I said, what’ve I got to lose? It’s better than being a go-go girl in a Broadway bar, which is what I was doing at the time. So here 1 am, but I swear, it’s my last time here in ‘the tubs.’ It’s time I started singing for the audience with clothes on.”

    Bette Midler is always threatening to leave “the tubs,” which is how she refers to the baths. This little Jewish Jeanette MacDonald has made more farewell appearances at the Continental Baths than the famous Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad ever made at the old Metropolitan Opera House. Her fans won’t let her go. “Actually, playing to this … do I dare call this place a house? . . has been the best experience in the world. I mean, you have to be good to keep the guys fascinated. Gawd! The moment I bore them, well, they could go upstairs and … uh … shower?”

    Bette giggles and grimaces and lights a cigarette all at the same time, like another famous Bette. “But they are loyal. Loy-u-yul! I played more glamorous places than a steam bath. I had a two-week booking at the Downstairs at the Upstairs, and the guy who owned the joint was in love with me. What he really loved was my fans. They came in droves and practically stood on the tables cheering. My two-week gig turned into ten weeks.

    “Listen, you think the baths are the pits?” (This is Midler jargon for “the worst.”) “Next week I’m playing in Raleigh, N. C, in a place called the Frog and The Nightgown. Who do you think lives in there?

    “I did seven Johnny Carsons and I’m going to Las Vegas on the same bill with him in April. I can’t wait. Imagine Miss M in Vegas? I think it’s the Sahara, I’m not certain. I’m also cutting my first album with Atlantic Records, but it won’t be out in time for my concert at Carnegie Hall. That’s on April 19. Another first. The first time anyone has ever played the revered Halls or Carnegie without having made it big on records. From the steam baths straight to Carnegie Hall. Can you dig it?

    “My family can’t take this scene. They are freaked by all of it. I think they wanted me to become a social worker or something. They came from Paterson, New’ Jersey, originally.

    My mother still talks about High Street. We were the cleaning establishment Midlers. My mother’s biggest claim to fame is that she learned English in high school from Allen Ginsberg’s father. I was an ugly, fat, little Jewish girl who had problems. I was miserable. I kept trying to be like everyone else, but on me, nothing worked. One day I just decided to be myself. So I became this freak who sings in the tubs. Now, I dunno, it’s a whole other world.

    “Gawd, I don’t know how long I’ve been here. It seems like forever, but I know it can’t be, ’cause I’m still so young. Ver-r-y young, have you got that? Tonight is my last night, really. I mean it. No, it’s the lousy sound that makes my voice bounce off the tile walls. It’s just — well, I’m on my way, and, like Thomas Wolfe, I feel you can’t go home again. Listen, you better get outta here. I’ve gotta dress for my final ‘farewell performance,’ and besides, my rear can’t take this seat any longer.”

    Startled from the spell her rattle-tattle New York jargon has cast on me, I jump to my feet and realize that this entire conversation has taken place with Crazy Bette Midler sitting on the John. The only empty seat in the house.

    In a city where night clubs are shutting down faster than a row of stand-up dominoes can tumble, there are 3,000 people waiting to get into the Continental Baths to see the freaky Miss M. Inside, the huge lower floor features a dance floor, snack bar, no booze, living room, swimming pool and a tiny stage.

    The crowd resembles a baggie filled with water – contained but giddy and intractable in its enthusiasm to fill every inch of available space. Everyone is friendly, chatty and terribly helpful finding room for roots, elbows, Yoga bent knees and their “rears,” to quote Bette.

    Most of the audience is on the floor and half of it is dressed only in towels. The only reason anyone is dressed at all is that when Bette sings, ladies are invited. There are even celebrities in the crowd, for word is out that she’s the best show in town. Men wander in from the steam room upstairs and rub wet elbows with chorus girls, Andy Warhol superstars and reporters from Women’s Wear Daily, who are doing a two-page layout on Miss M.

    It’s a circus, with all the acts in the sideshow.

    The lights lower.Silence settles. In the dark, off to the side, a door slowly, insidiously opens. A lovable Zasu Pitts appears and the crowd goes wild. A tight-fitting Garbo cloche is pulled down over her brow, pinching her eyes into glittering green Venetian blinds from which stars are shooting like emeralds. She shuffles over the rolling half-nude bodies uttering long moans that sound like vobine pleas for peace: “Ooooooohhhh, oh.ohohoh.”

    She sags into her mike, a vision of scrambled caricatures of past comediennes. Cass Daley, Charlotte Greenwood, Zasu Pitts, Martha Raye, Fanny Brice, Kaye Ballard – she resembles them all.

    With perfect timing, she accepts the bravos thrown from the crowd and begins her song, “You Gotta Have Friends.” The applause echoes like thunder off the walls. She does have friends. Now a new vision of personalities tumbles to mind: Streisand, Laura Nyro, Joe Cocker, Bessie Smith. (Yes, even ]oe Cocker, because she is spastic, often seizure-ridden while singing.)

    Bette is that talented. And outrageous.

    “Oh! Oh! You’re all mad. M-aaa-d, I say. Gawd, it’s steamier than usual tonight. Wait ’til Mario Thomas and her sister Terry play this room. Way-i-t.” She has shed her chubby fur and pulled off the Garbo hat. Her hair is red as a pomegranate, parted down the middle, a swirling mass of frizzed boop-a-doop curls surrounding her grotesquely beautiful-ugly face.

    Her lantern jaw glides into a smile with the ease of a bulldozer pushing sand. When she smiles, the crowd smiles. You can’t help yourself. She wears humility and vulnerability as nattily as she wears her funky Forties clothes.

    Shedding her puff-sleeved, shoulder-padded, pink and cherry printed satin jacket, she wipes her damp forehead. She is a ganglia of nerve ends which can’t stop twitching, clenching, jerking, moving. Always moving. She is deep into a number. The trashy old bubble-gum hit of the late Fifties, “Do You Wanna Dance?”

    But Miss M sings it in a soft, sexy, bossa nova style, throwing out knowing smiles to the men in towels.. Her black velvet skirt is slit to the waist. Hubba-Hubba… Her bosom is formidable — two lovely melons slung bralessly into a swath of tie-dyed chiffon with a life of their own.

    She moves fiercely on tiny feet strapped into the highest platform wedgies since Carmen Miranda. Then she disappears for a second and returns to lay the audience low with a Carmen Miranda impression on the naughty old song “Marijuana.” Finishing, she sheds her tutti-frutti hat and suddenly she’s the Andrews Sisters reviving “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

    Her energy and talent is so expansive, she turns into all three — Patti, Maxine and Laverne – all at once. Then back into the blues with a new Joni Mitchell song. Many facets, all dazzling. The crowd goes wild. A man in a towel almost falls down on Helen Gurley Brown, who has been digging from the sidelines. Some of the men in the crowd look like those Cosmopolitan girls. Nobody cares.

    One boy gets so carried away his towel falls off and he stands there, unshattered in his nudity. The crowd does not faint. They join in friendly laughter. That’s what Bette Midler does to her audience. The boy clutches his towel and says “With Bette Midler, the world can overcome anything. Anything.”

    Today, the tubs. Tomorrow, the world. . .

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    Monday, November 2, 2015

    BetteBack November 28, 1967: Stardom Begins to Loom for Young Actress (Interview)

    Lowell Sun
    Stardom Begins to Loom for Young Actress
    By Barry Robinson
    November 28, 1967 Read More

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    Monday, September 14, 2015

    1980 – Barbara Walters – Bette Midler

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