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Monday, December 2, 2013

Bette Midler, Birthday Girl!

The Divine Miss M just had her 68th birthday on December 1. The diva thanked her fans for their best wishes today on Twitter. Can you imagine? Sixty-eight?! But what a legend, what a career! And she looks damned good and is going strong, though she allowed, also on Twitter, "It annoys me when people call me lazy. Just because my only ambition in life is to continue breathing." I know just how she feels!

Ms Midler's career has lasted nearly a half century, garnering three Grammys, three Emmys, four Golden Globes, two Oscar nominations and a special Tony Award. She was indeed divine on Broadway this past Spring in I'll Eat You Last. 

That she was denied a Tony nomination for her sly and nuanced performance as Sue Mengers in that one-woman Broadway show is considered a snub by many fans and industry people.

Born in Honolulu after her parents moved from Paterson, NJ (where I was born and raised), she majored in Drama at the University of Hawaii but dropped out after her third year after she earned money as an extra in the 1966 movie saga, Hawaii.

Before her famed appearances at the gay men's bathhouse, the Continental Baths, which ultimately led to her recording career and subsequent fame, she was in both the Broadway casts of Fiddler on the Roof and the Hair-wannabe musical, Salvation. She then starred in Tom Eyen's off-off-Broadway play at the East Village's La Mama theater in Miss Nefertiti Regrets.

Said Miss M of her Continental Baths days, where she was accompanied on piano by her arranger, the then-unknown Barry Manilow, "I'm still proud of those days. I feel like I was at the forefront of the gay liberation movement, and I hope I did my part to help it move forward. So, I kind of wear the label of 'Bathhouse Betty' with pride."

In New York City, the bi-coastal Bette is also known for her charity work, having founded the New York Restoration Project in 1995, a non-profit organization that revitalizes neglected neighborhood parks in our city.

Today, we wish the ever-divine diva, an entertainment legend in her own time and in ours, a very Happy Birthday and we wish her many more!

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