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Bette Midler Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here is a look at the life of award-winning singer, actress, comedian and activist Bette Midler.


Birth date: December 1, 1945

Birth place: Honolulu, Hawaii

Birth name: Bette Davis Midler

Father: Fred Midler, house painter

Mother: Ruth (Schindel) Midler, seamstress

Marriage: Martin von Haselberg (1984-present)

Children: Sophie

Education: Attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Other Facts

Named after actress Bette Davis.

Nominated for 14 Grammy Awards and has won three.

Nominated for nine Emmy Awards and has won three.

Nominated for two Academy Awards and has not won.

Nominated for one Tony Award and has won once.

She was the valedictorian of her high school class.


1965 – Moves to New York City after winning a small part in the movie, “Hawaii.”

1966 – Makes her Broadway debut in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Early 1970s – Performs at the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in New York, with Barry Manilow as her pianist, arranger and musical director.

1970 – Midler appears on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson for the first time.

April 28-May 16, 1971 – Midler stars as the “Acid Queen” in the first professional production of the rock opera, “Tommy.”

November 1972 – Releases her first album on Atlantic Records, “The Divine Miss M.”

March 2, 1974 – Wins the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

April 1974 – Receives a special Tony Award for “adding lustre to the Broadway season.”

September 17, 1978 – Wins the Emmy Award for Outstanding Special in a Comedy-Variety or Musical for “Ol’ Red Hair is Back.”

November 7, 1979 – Her first film, “The Rose,” is released. It is loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin.

1980 – Simon & Schuster publishes her first book, “A View from a Broad.”

February 25, 1981 – Wins the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Performance, for her single, “The Rose.”

January 28, 1985 – Midler joins 45 other stars to record “We Are the World,” USA for Africa’s fund-raising single.

1985 – Forms All Girl Productions, with partner Bonnie Bruckheimer.

November 22, 1988 – Releases the soundtrack to the film “Beaches.” The album goes triple platinum, and the title track, “Wind Beneath My Wings,” goes to number one.

February 21, 1990 – Wins the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for “Wind Beneath My Wings,” with producer Arif Mardin.

September 15, 1991 – Is presented with the Commitment to Life Award from AIDS Project Los Angeles for her work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

August 30, 1992 – Wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program for her May 21, 1992, appearance as one of the two final guests of “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.

December 12, 1993 – Stars as “Mama Rose” in the television version of the famed Broadway play, “Gypsy.”

July 7, 1995 – Midler begins The New York Restoration Project, a non-profit focusing on beautifying the open spaces in under-resourced communities in New York.

September 14, 1997 – Wins the Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program for her HBO special “Diva Las Vegas.”

2003 – Joins forces with Barry Manilow for the first time since the 1970s to record “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook.”

February 20, 2008 – “Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On” debuts at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The show includes the Harlettes, the Caesar Salad Girls, and a 13-piece band. The show ends its run in January 2010.

March 20, 2011 – “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert,” opens on Broadway. Midler is co-producer of the show which runs through June 2012.

June 14, 2012 – Receives the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

April 24, 2013 – “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers” opens on Broadway with Midler’s portrayal of the famous Hollywood agent. The show runs through June 2013.

November 4, 2014 – Releases her 14th studio album “It’s the Girls,” a tribute to the music of famous girl-groups over the years.

June 11, 2017 – Wins a Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for “Hello Dolly.”

September 14, 2017 – Takes a tumble during a Broadway performance of “Hello Dolly” after two set pieces collide and gets back on stage after a short break to resume her performance.

June 29, 2019 – Headlines New York’s Pride Main Event, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall at WorldPride NYC. The event is held at the Javits Center in Manhattan and includes performances by Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter and Brandy.

February 16, 2021 – Midler’s children’s book, “The Tale of the Mandarin Duck,” is published.

December 5, 2021 – Receives the Kennedy Center Honors lifetime achievement award.

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