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Bette Midler Biography

Home > Music > M > Midler, Bette > Biography

Born: 1945/12/01
Birth Place: Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. Territory
Years Active: 1965-present
Genres: Vocal, Pop, Adult Contemporary, Comedy

Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945) is an American singer, actress and comedian, also known (by her informal stage name) as The Divine Miss M. During her more than forty-year career, Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards; and won four Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has also sold over 54 million records as an artist.

Midler released her debut album “The Divine Miss M” on Atlantic Records in December 1972. It reached Billboard's Top 10 and became a million-selling platinum-certified album, and earned Midler the 1973 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. It featured three hit singles with "Do You Want To Dance?," "Friends"and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" which became Bette's first #1 Adult Contemporary hit.

Midler's self titled follow-up album was released at the end of 1973. It reached Billboard's Top 10 and eventually sold close to a million copies in the United States alone. Midler returned to recording with the 1976 and 1977 albums, “Songs for the New Depression” and “Broken Blossom.”

In 1979, Midler made her first motion picture, starring in the 1960s-era rock and roll tragedy The Rose, as a drug-addicted rock star modeled after Janis Joplin. That year she also released her fifth studio album, “Thighs and Whispers.” Midler's first foray into disco was a commercial and critical failure and went on to be her all-time lowest charting album, peaking at #65 on the Billboard album chart.

In 1979, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for “The Rose,” for which she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Comedy or Musical). The film's acclaimed soundtrack album sold over two million copies in the United States alone, earning a Double platinum certification. The single version of the song held the #1 position on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart for five consecutive weeks and reached #3 on Billboard's Hot 100. It earned Midler her first gold single and won the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.

In 1983, she released the album “No Frills,” produced by Chuck Plotkin, best known for his work with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. The album included three single releases, the ballad "All I Need To Know," a cover of Detroit native Marshall Crenshaw's "My Favorite Waste of Time" and Midler's take on the Rolling Stones song "Beast of Burden." The rock and New Wave album went on to become Midler's third lowest charting album in the US, yet surprisingly went on to become her highest selling album to date in Europe.

She scored a hit staring in the 1988 tearjerker film “Beaches”, co-starring Barbara Hershey. The accompanying soundtrack remains Bette's all-time biggest selling disc, reaching #2 on Billboard's album chart and with US sales of four million copies. It featured her biggest hit, "Wind Beneath My Wings," which went to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100, achieved platinum status, and won Midler her third Grammy Award, for Record of the Year, at the 1990 telecast.

In 1990, Midler’s "From A Distance" was another chart-topping platinum single for her. It earned a Grammy award (for the song's composer Julie Gold), and became her longest running #1, six consecutive weeks, on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. It also reached #2 Pop and was another Platinum-selling single for Bette.

In 1995 and 1999, she reached #1 on the US Dance Charts with remixes of her hits "To Deserve You" on Atlantic and "I'm Beautiful" on Warner Brothers Records.

After a reported long-standing feud with Barry Manilow, the two joined forces for the first time in years in 2003 to record “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook.” Manilow duetted with Midler on the song "(I'd Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China," after a little dialogue between the two artists at the start of the track. Now signed to Columbia Records, the album was an instant success, being certified gold in only a few weeks. Midler joined forces again with Manilow for another tribute album, “Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook.” Released in October 2005, the album sold 55,000 copies the first week of release and returned Midler to the Top 10.

In 2006, a new Christmas album “Cool Yule” was released by Midler featuring the title song (written by Steve Allen) and a duet with Johnny Mathis of "Winter Wonderland/Let It Snow." In December 2007, Midler's album “Cool Yule” received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

A new "best of" album, “Jackpot: The Best Bette,” was released in 2008 and reached #66 on the U.S. charts, and #6 in the U.K., where it was certified platinum. In November 2010, Midler also released another compilation of lesser known tracks from her back catalog, entitled “Memories of You.”