Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945, Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American singer, actress and comedian, also known (by her informal stage name) as The Divine Miss M. She has starred in live-action films such as Ruthless People, Beaches and Hocus Pocus, as well as featuring in animated films such as Oliver & Company and Fantasia 2000.
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 30 Million records as an artist. [Wikipedia]
Named after another great woman who didn’t let anyone push her around, Bette Davis, Bette Midler spent her youth feeling displaced. She was a poor, fat, short, homely, Jewish girl in Hawaii. After a stint on Broadway, as Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof, she was offered $50 a weekend to do two shows at New York’s Continental Baths. Initially shy, she soon learned she could be outrageous, tell raunchy jokes, and enjoy herself. The more flamboyant she was, the more the audience loved her. “Ironically,” she said later, “I was freed from fear by people who, at the time, were ruled by fear. And I will always be grateful.”
Soon finding her way into the mainstream, she toured, won a Grammy and an Academy award for The Rose (1981), and, in 1986, proved her comic genius in Down and Out in Beverly Hills. [Remember the Ladies, Kirsten Olsen]
In 1995, Midler founded the New York Restoration Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of revitalizing neglected neighborhood parks in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York City. These include Highbridge Park, Fort Washington Park, and Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan and Roberto Clemente State Park and Bridge Park in the Bronx.
In 1999, the city planned to auction 114 community gardens for commercial development. Midler led a coalition of greening organizations to save them. NYRP took ownership of 60 of the most neglected plots. Today Midler and her organization work with local volunteers and community groups to ensure that these gardens are kept safe, clean and vibrant. In 2003, Midler opened Swindler Cove Park, a new 5-acre (20,000 m2) public park on the Harlem River shore featuring specially designed educational facilities and the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse, the first community rowing facility to be built on the Harlem River in more than 100 years. The organization offers free in-school and after-school environmental education programming to students from high-poverty Title I schools. [Wikipedia]