Bette Midler - Rotten Tomatoes

Bette Midler



Gloriously flamboyant American entertainer Bette Midler was born in Honolulu, HI, to the only Jewish family in the neighborhood. After dropping out of a drama class at the University of Hawaii, she took a tiny role in the 1966 film Hawaii, playing a seasick boat passenger (though it's hard to see her when viewing the film). Training for a dancing career in New York, Midler made the casting rounds for several months before finally winning a chorus role, and then the featured part of Tzeitel, in the long-running Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof.



It helps to do something well that no one else does, and Midler found her forte by singing at the Continental Baths, a gay hangout in New York. Most bath house performers were painfully bad, but Midler established herself by combining genuine talent with the tackiness expected of her. As the "Divine Miss M," Midler did an act consisting of campy (and dirty) specialty numbers; dead-on imitations of such earlier performers as the Andrews Sisters and Libby Holman; and the most outrageously revealing costumes this side of Bob Mackie. Soon she outgrew the bath houses and went on to nightclub and recording-artist fame, earning a Grammy Award in 1973. After several years of sell-out tours, Midler re-entered films as the star of The Rose, a 1979 film à clef loosely based upon the life and times of Janis Joplin. The film was a success, but it failed to establish Midler as a dramatic actress; audiences, particularly gay fans, still preferred the Divine Miss M.



Jinxed (1982), Midler's next film, lived up to its name with well-publicized production squabbles between Midler, the director, producers, and a few of her co-stars. Following the film's failure, Midler wasn't seen onscreen until she signed a contract with Disney in 1986. Establishing a new film identity as a character comedienne, Midler sparkled in Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), and was even better as a loudmouthed kidnap victim in Ruthless People (1987). Using her restored film stature, Midler set up her own production company and produced Beaches (1988), a pals-through-the-years saga that proved to be a four-hankie audience favorite. Once again attempting to establish herself as a tragedian, Midler starred in Stella (1989), a poorly-received remake of 1937's Stella Dallas. For the Boys (1992), offered Midler in tons of old-age makeup as a Martha Raye-style USO star (Raye responded to this "tribute" by suing the studio). The subsequent Scenes From a Mall (1991), which paired Midler with Woody Allen, and witchcraft fantasy Hocus Pocus (1993) also failed to truly showcase her talents. She rebounded somewhat in 1995 with a role in the wildly acclaimed Get Shorty, and had even greater success the following year co-starring with Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn in The First Wives Club. In 1999, Midler played herself in two films: the TV mockumentary Jackie's Back and Get Bruce!, a big-screen documentary about legendary comic writer Bruce Vilanch.



In addition to her film work, Midler still performs live concerts to sold-out crowds and continues to release albums, including Bathouse Bette, a tribute to her early singing days. In 1993, she scored an enormous success in a superb TV adaptation of the Broadway musical Gypsy. And, in 2000, Midler extended her talents to television, starring as herself in the aptly-named sitcom Bette. Though she would only appear in a handful of films over the next decade, Midler remained quite active on stage and television, even earning an Emmy nomination for Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On in 2011.

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
93% Casting By
  • Actor
2013
99% 20 Feet From Stardom
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Vito
  • Actor
2013
17% Parental Guidance
  • Artie Decker
2012
14% Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
  • Kitty Galore
2010
13% The Women
  • Leah Miller
2008
No Score Yet The Women
  • Actor
2008
50% Then She Found Me
  • Bernice Graves
2007
No Score Yet The Magic 7
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Bette Midler: The Divine Bette Midler
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet From the Big Apple to the Big Easy: The Concert for New Orleans
  • Actor
2005
26% The Stepford Wives
  • Bobbie Markowitz
2004
No Score Yet Peter Allen: The Boy from Oz
  • Actor
2004
44% Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Executive Producer
2002
54% What Women Want
  • Dr. J.M. Perkins
2001
82% Fantasia 2000
  • Narrator
2000
29% Drowning Mona
  • Mona Dearly
2000
25% Isn't She Great
  • Jacqueline Susann
2000
No Score Yet Jackie's Back
  • Actor
1999
71% Get Bruce
  • Herself
1999
43% That Old Feeling
  • Lilly Leonard
1997
No Score Yet Intimate Portrait - Bette Midler
  • Actor
1997
39% The First Wives Club
  • Brenda Morelli Cushman
1996
86% Get Shorty
  • Doris
1995
30% Hocus Pocus
  • Winifred Sanderson
1993
40% Gypsy
  • Rose
1993
No Score Yet Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories
  • Actor
1992
38% For the Boys
  • Dixie Leonard
  • Producer
1991
32% Scenes from a Mall
  • Deborah Fifer
1991
No Score Yet Stella
  • Stella Claire
1990
29% Beaches
  • CC Bloom
1988
44% Oliver & Company
  • Georgette
1988
36% Big Business
  • Sadie Shelton
1988
50% Outrageous Fortune
  • Sandy Brozinski
1987
94% Ruthless People
  • Barbara Stone
1986
84% Down and Out in Beverly Hills
  • Barbara Whiteman
1986
No Score Yet Women in Rock
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Jinxed
  • Bonita Friml
1982
No Score Yet Divine Madness
  • The Divine Miss M
  • Screenwriter
1980
No Score Yet Thorn
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet Bette Midler - Divine Madness
  • Actor
1980
86% The Rose
  • Rose
1979
75% Hawaii
  • Passenger
1966
No Score Yet Bette Midler's Mondo Beyondo
  • Actor
No Score Yet Bette Midler Show
  • Actor
No Score Yet Bette Midler - Art or Bust
  • Actor
No Score Yet Turkey Shoot: Beaches
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
No Score Yet American Masters
2001
  • Narrator
No Score Yet Project Runway
2004-2016
  • Judge
No Score Yet The Marriage Ref
2010-2011
  • Panelist
No Score Yet American Idol
2002-2016
  • Performer
No Score Yet Colbert Report
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Inside Comedy
2012-2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
2003
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet The View
1997
  • Guest
No Score Yet Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
2009-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center
2000
  • Performer
No Score Yet The Voice
2011-2016
  • Appearing
No Score Yet The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
2014
  • Performer
No Score Yet Sunday Morning
2011
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
1975
  • Musical Guest
No Score Yet Seinfeld
1989-1998
  • Bette Midler

Quotes from Bette Midler's Characters