Tag Archives: Beaches (film)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Bette Midler calls ‘Hello, Dolly’ the role of a lifetime

The show-stopping actress and legend reflect with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on her divine career, from “Beaches” and “Hocus Pocus” to Broadway.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

BetteBack July 1, 1975: ‘Clams’ Breaks Broadway’s Box Office Record

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BetteBack June 3, 1975: Bette Midler To Record Gospel Song

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

BetteBack April 20, 1975: Bette Midler’s ‘Clams’ Will Be A Rave

Colorado Springs Gazette
April 20, 1975

2016-07-19_8-48-20

Will the divine Miss M — Bette Midler, succeed or fail in her big Broadway comeback at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre? We’re betting she’ll be a rave despite all the dire predictions that she ruined her career lying around out of sight for a whole year. Tickets
to this campy event are hard to come by and the powers-that-be made it a policy not to invite any press for Bette’s opening if the press in question had ever said a word against her in the past.

By the by, detractors of Bette’s manager, Aaron Russo, may rave on and on about how he is Svengali-ing her career to death, but the guy is very much in love with her and his motives are excellent, all in Bette’s behalf.

Aaron loves Bette so much, he wants to marry her in the worst way, but she is still saying no waltzing down the aisles, just samba-ing in the balcony.

  • BetteBack December 5, 1973: Bette Midler: PALACE, N.Y.
  • BetteBack August 29, 1973: Truly Tacky Bette Midler – And How She Got That Way
  • Bette Midler Re-Issuing Remastered ‘The Divine Miss M,’ Mentoring on ‘The Voice’
  • Aaron Russo On Bette Midler And The Right Script: | BootLeg Betty
  • Bette Midler On Aaron Russo: | BootLeg Betty
  • Read More

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    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    BetteBack March 27, 1975: What Did Bette Mean By Her Cher Joke At The Grammy’s?

    Charleston Gazette
    March 27, 1975

    UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Bette Midler (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

    Q. ”On the recent Grammy Awards, what did Bette Midler mean when she said Cher gave her the dress she was wearing? ”R.R., Paterson, N.J.

    A. Bette was making a small joke .. . she said Cher gave her the dress instead of a solo (Higher And Higher) on Cher’s recent special.

    BetteBack January 21, 1990: Bette Midler And Cher To Star In ‘Angry Housewives’ (This Would’ve Been A Hit!)
    BetteBack September 21, 1990: A Fan Wants To Know The Basics Of Bette Midler
    Bette Midler On The Johhny Walker Radio Show – December 25, 2014
    Bette Midler On Cher: “Cher can go on forever – her career is larger than God so far,” | BootLeg Betty

    Trashy Ladies Medley – 1975 – Bette Midler – Cher. | BootLeg Betty Read More

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    Saturday, September 9, 2017

    BetteBack March 8, 1975: Was Bette Midler In A Broadway Show?

    Alton Telegraph
    March 8, 1975

    2016-08-27_4-24-03

    Q. – Bette Midler was in the musical on Broadway. “Fiddler on the Roof,” playing one of the daughters, right? I can’t convince my boyfriend. L.W., Perth Amboy. N J

    A. – Bette Midler was indeed in the Broadway company of Fiddler on the Roof However, it did virtually nothing for her career. She didn t start to make it big until she adopted her own approach to singing.

  • Bette Midler Reveals How She Got Her Nickname with Release of Deluxe Edition of ‘The Divine Miss M’
  • The Critics Are Raving: Bette’s Still Got It!
  • BetteBack September 23, 1973: Bette Midler Sings In Berkley
  • Bette Midler’s Stages for Success: ‘Every Kid Deserves A Chance To Sing Out’ | BootLeg Betty
  • The Idea Of Bette Midler Doing ‘Dolly’ Dates Back Two Decades | BootLeg Betty
  • Read More

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    Friday, July 21, 2017

    I love Barbara Hershey and Lainie Kazan. I had no idea “Beaches” was an ‘uberweepie’! The nerve!

    I love Barbara Hershey and Lainie Kazan. I had no idea “Beaches” was an ‘uberweepie’! The nerve! It wasn’t so bad. I co-produced it. It was a pretty damned good screenplay. I thought it was just another movie. I didn’t think of it as a women’s picture. I was so excited to be able to sing again and have a soundtrack.

    Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, night

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    Saturday, July 1, 2017

    BetteBack December 25, 1974: Is the Bette Midler movie, “The Divine Mr. J,” going to play on TV?

    News Journal Mansfield
    December 25, 1974 Read More

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    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    BetteBack January 30, 2000: Susann’s success a great filmgoing treat

    The Boston Herald
    January 30, 2000 | Schaefer, Stephen

    ISN'T SHE GREAT, Bette Midler, 2000, (c)MCA

    ISN’T SHE GREAT, Bette Midler, 2000, (c)MCA

    It’s easy to be dismissive of the writing of Jacqueline Susann. Easy and, well, probably called for.

    But the “Valley of the Dolls” author’s impact on the entertainment industry is not so easily dismissed. In some ways, she changed the way entertainment product – from books to films – is sold to the public.

    Isn’t She Great,” a new film featuring =&0=& =&1=& as Susann, initially presents her as glamorous but unfulfilled. As the film begins, she is a woman undaunted by her life of continual failure – as a playwright, actress, quiz-show panelist and product demonstrator. She remains determined, despite the odds, to become famous.

    This comic fable, which co-stars Nathan Lane as Susann’s husband and publicist Irving Mansfield, skimps on many of the harsh facts of Susann’s life, but it is on target with regards to her achingly real, fully focused need to be a star.

    And she became one, with the publication in 1967 of the irresistibly lurid “Valley of the Dolls.” The book spawned a hit Hollywood film, an ’80s miniseries remake, a ’90s off-Broadway hit starring a drag performer, and it is reportedly to be remade yet again for TV.

    By the time she died of breast cancer in 1974, Susann had helped pave the way for not just the blockbuster novel – printing a million copies, supported by a nationwide advertising blitz coordinated with key TV and print appearances – but the blockbuster movie era ushered in by the mass-release of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws.”

    Hollywood couldn’t help but admire the way Susann was transformed into a “name” author, the name becoming even more important than the individual book title. She was critic-proof the way Danielle Steel or Tom Clancy are today. Like Martha Stewart, Susann, had she lived, likely would have expanded the “brand” to include a lot more than books.

    Susann’s first book, a humorous non-fiction account of life with her black poodle called “Every Night Josephine,” became a bestseller entirely due to her personal push. With Mansfield in tow, the duo drove around the country to bookstores, making notes on the names, birthdays, anniversaries of the sales people that would serve her well three years later with “Valley of the Dolls.”

    “Susann did stuff no self-respecting author would do at the time,” said Nathan Lane, citing a scene in the movie where she brings coffee and doughnuts to Teamsters who are loading her books at a store. “This was unheard of, people showing up bringing coffee to Teamsters! And it made a difference.

    “Publishers would tremble when Jackie and Irving would call,” Lane continued. “They knew they’d be making a lot of demands. But they changed the way books were sold. They made her into this celebrity author, which hadn’t been done before. “There was something admirable about them, how determined and focused they were.”

    Susann and Mansfield knew that it was “buzz” and not reviews that sold a book. They were among the first to realize that TV and the talk shows were instrumental in creating “buzz” in that pre-Internet era. They designed their covers specifically so that they would appear clearly on TV.

    Nothing she did had a greater impact than “Valley of the Dolls.” Based on what Susann saw and, more important, heard over the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at showbiz parties, “Valley of the Dolls” told of the trials and tribulations of a trio of comely young women hoping, like Susann herself, to find happiness by becoming famous.

    Susann took the tragic story of Judy Garland, a talented young singer who became addicted to amphetamines and sleeping pills – called “dolls” in Susann terminology – and renamed her Neely O’Hara. She took the tragedy of Carole Landis, a 1940s sex symbol who committed suicide, and Marilyn Monroe, who was also thought to have killed herself, and fashioned Jennifer, a blond actress who has a mastectomy and commits suicide with her beloved “dolls.”

    The book’s most talked-about scene became the 1968 film version’s definitive moment, shown in all its campy glory in “Isn’t She Great”: legendary Broadway singing star Helen Lawson meets pill-popping Neely in a ladies room and after they tussle, Neely rips Helen’s wig off (to reveal an all-white head of hair) and flushes it down the toilet. Lawson, dignity intact, wraps her head in her shawl and grandly makes her exit.

    “How accurate is Jackie Susann’s take on show business?” Lane wondered aloud. “Obviously it’s a part of it. Somewhere, someone is tearing off a wig and popping a pill. How else can you survive this insanity? She’s captured something.

    “Obviously, her experience as an actress – and I use the term loosely – informed her writing. Helen is based on Ethel Merman.”

    Amanda Peet, who plays Susann’s assistant on her book tours in the movie, told Lane her reaction to reading “Valley of the Dolls”: “It’s like you’re overhearing gossip in the ladies room.”

    Susann grew up star-struck. Like =&1=&‘s movie suggests, she tried many careers and failed miserably in all of them before becoming a best-selling novelist in the ’60s. Her legacy may not be her oeuvre of four books but the way she brought the hard sell and the personal touch into book publishing – and transformed the industry in the process.

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    Friday, June 23, 2017

    BetteBack January 28, 2000: Great? Not by a Long Shot

    The Washington Post
    January 28, 2000 | Desson Howe

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    I SLOGGED my way through a blizzard to watch this?

    Isn’t She Great,” a woefully ungreat biopic about trash-writing queen Jacqueline Susann, is definitely not worth braving any weather for.

    Although =&0=& =&1=&, who plays “Valley of the Dolls” author Jackie-S, proves to be an amusing live wire at times, and although screenwriter Paul Rudnick (who co-wrote “AddamsFamily Values”) has a wicked talent for drag-queen-culture one-liners, this movie slumps endlessly through the Valley of the Dulls.

    If it were the last videotape available in the only video store in the remotest corner of Alaska, I’d take one last slug of Jack Daniels and start walking directly into the howling snows.

    And poor Nathan Lane. As Irving Mansfield, the publicity agent who falls in love with Susann and leads her all the way to pulp-fiction mega-fame, he has to spend almost all of this movie’s 95 minutes gazing adoringly in her direction. I bet his face ached after the third day of shooting.

    For all the movie’s celebration of Susann’s tell-it-like-it-is bluster, it’s amazingly coy. The real relationship between her and Mansfield is a head-scratcher.

    Are we to believe that Lane (hardly anyone’s idea of a heterosexual romantic lead) is madly in love with =&1=&? They don’t kiss or touch. I don’t remember a single physical moment between them. And when Mansfield fussily places a handkerchief on the sidewalk and goes down on bended knee before Susann, you wonder if he’s going to propose or sing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.”

    Well, he proposes and it’s the beginning of a beautiful marriage. But what kind of marriage is it? Director Andrew Bergman‘s movie seems to have no idea what it’s trying to tell us.

    The plot follows the familiar gotta-make-it-at-any-cost scenario: Failed actress Susann is suffering through bit parts on stage and screen when Mansfield–enraptured with Her Susannness–begs to become her agent.

    Why he adores her so much isn’t made clear either, unless he wants to be her. But his undying faith is a big part of her success. And it’s Mansfield’s chance sighting of a woman reading a Sidney Sheldon novel that makes him hit upon the idea of turning Jacqueline into a novelist.

    After all, she knows the dark side of the theatrical life, the wannabes and has-beens and their sexual depravities and drug taking. She can write the kind of material that eventually informs her first triumph, “Valley of the Dolls.”

    The movie, essentially, has four connecting strands:

    Jacqueline can’t write her way out of a paper bag. In a sort of Jew-and-gentile odd coupling, the crassly dressed, grammar- challenged Susann bumps heads with her stuffy, priggish editor Michael Hastings. Hastings is played with one-dimensional shtick by David Hyde Pierce, whose role must be modeled on Michael Korda, who was Susann’s editor and whose article “Wasn’t She Great?” was the basis of this movie. This is a painful ordeal for them–and us.

    Jacqueline is dying of cancer. Great little intrusion into a Hollywood ’40s-style romance, huh? But that’s par for the coarse. Will she die before she makes it? Apparently, this is Universal Pictures’ great strategy for bringing in movie audiences by the millions.

    Jacqueline has a shameful secret. A child is born from the marriage, a blond-haired child that looks like it was born from another marriage, but never mind. The poor kid is mentally retarded. So they leave Guy in a home that will take care of him. Does the movie ever challenge the couple’s complete narcissism for dumping this child? No. But they do visit Guy. And there’s a special emotional high note, when Irving holds up his hand and the child– now a teenager–exchanges a high five with him. Touching, touching, touching.

    Jacqueline checks in with The Tree of Light. Here’s my favorite part of all. Jacqueline is convinced that the shafts of light striating from a tree in Central Park amount to the soul of God. So whenever there’s a big issue that only God could answer–like, Why isn’t Jacqueline Susann famous yet?–she comes and chats with the tree.

    So, pulp fame, a mentally challenged kid who can do high-fives, death from cancer and a tree that amounts to God’s Speaker Phone? What are you waiting for? Rent that snow-plow and blaze a trail to your neighborhood theater now. Because in about 13 days, that movie is gone, gone, gone. I hope.

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