Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945), also known by her informal stage name The Divine Miss M, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, and film producer. In a career spanning almost half a century, Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has sold over 30 million records worldwide and along with that has also received four Gold, three Platinum and three Multiplatinum albums by RIAA.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler began her professional career in several Off-Off-Broadway plays prior to her engagements in Fiddler on the Roof and Salvation on Broadway in the late 1960s. She came to prominence in 1970 when she began singing in the Continental Baths, a local gay bathhouse, where she managed to build up a core following. Since then, she has released 13 studio albums as a solo artist. Throughout her career, many of her songs became hits on the record charts, including her renditions of “The Rose”, “Wind Beneath My Wings”, “Do You Wanna Dance?”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, and “From a Distance”. In 2008, she signed a contract with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to perform a series of shows titled Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, which ended in January 2010.
Midler made her motion picture debut in 1979 with The Rose, which earned her a Golden Globe and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress of 1980. In the following years she starred in a string of hit films that includes Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Outrageous Fortune, Beaches, The First Wives Club, and The Stepford Wives, as well as For the Boys and Gypsy, the latter two of which she won two further Golden Globe Awards for in 1992 and 1994.
In June 2012, Midler received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in recognition of her having “captivated the world” with her “stylish presentation and unmistakable voice.” The same year, she co-starred alongside Billy Crystal in the family movie Parental Guidance (2012), playing a couple of old school grandparents trying to adapt to their daughter’s 21st-Century parenting style. Despite generally negative reviews by critics, who felt the film was “sweet but milquetoast,” box office totals for the movie were higher than expected. In 2013, Midler performed on Broadway for the first time in more than 30 years in a play about the Hollywood superagent, Sue Mengers. The play, titled I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers and dramatized by John Logan, opened on April 24, 2013 at the Booth Theatre. After the show’s success in New York recouping its initial $2.4 million investment it was decided to show the play in Los Angeles at the Geffen playhouse.
In December 2013, it was announced that Midler would portray Mae West in an HBO movie biography, written by Harvey Fierstein and directed by William Friedkin. In March 2014, she performed at the 86th Academy Awards telecast at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, singing “Wind Beneath My Wings”.
Midler formed and announced plans to release an all-girl group album at the end of 2014, with further plans of doing a tour. It was announced on September 23, 2014, that Midler would be releasing her 25th overall album, It’s the Girls!, on November 4, 2014, through Warner Bros. Records. The album spans seven decades of famous girl groups, from 1930s trios The Boswell Sisters (the title track) and The Andrews Sisters (“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön”) to 1990s R&B legends TLC’s “Waterfalls”.