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Authors: Mark Bego

Bette Midler

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Bette
Midler
BOOKS BY MARK BEGO

The Captain & Tennille
(1977)

Barry Manilow
(1977)

The Doobie Brothers
(1980)

Michael!
[Jackson] (1984)

On the Road with Michael!
[Jackson] (1984)

Rock Hudson: Public & Private
(1986)

Sade!
(1986)

Julian Lennon!
(1986)

The Best of “Modern Screen”
(1986)

Whitney!
[Houston] (1986)

The Linda Gray Story
(1988)

TV Rock
(1988)

Between the Lines
[with Debbie Gibson] (1990)

Linda Ronstadt: It’s So Easy
(1990)

Ice Ice Ice: The Extraordinary Vanilla Ice Story
(1991)

One Is the Loneliest Number
[with Jimmy Greenspoon of Three Dog Night] (1991)

I’m a Believer: My Life of Music, Monkees and Madness
[with Micky Dolenz of the Monkees] (1993)

Country Hunks
(1994)

Country Gals
(1994)

Dancing in the Street: Confessions of a Motown Diva
[with Martha Reeves of Martha & the Vandellas] (1994)

I Fall to Pieces: The Music & the Life of Patsy Cline
(1995)

Rock & Roll Almanac
(1996)

Alan Jackson: Gone Country
(1996)

Raised on Rock: The Autobiography of Elvis Presley’s Step Brother
[with David Stanley] (1996)

George Strait: The Story of Country’s Living Legend
(1997)

Leonardo DiCaprio: Romantic Hero
(1998)

LeAnn Rimes
(1998)

Jewel
(1998, Music Sales Press)

Matt Damon: Chasing a Dream
(1998)

Will Smith: The Freshest Prince
(1998)

Vince Gill
(2000)

Madonna: Blonde Ambition
(2000, Cooper Square Press)

Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul
(2001)

The Marx Brothers
(2001)

Cher: If You Believe
(2001)

Bette Midler: Still Divine
(2002, Cooper Square Press)

Bonnie Raitt: Still in the Nick of Time
(2003, Cooper Square Press)

Tina Turner
(2003, Cooper Square Press)

Bette
Midler

STILL DIVINE

MARK BEGO

INTRODUCTION BY RITA COOLIDGE

First Cooper Square Press edition 2002

This Cooper Square Press hardcover edition of
Bette Midler: Still Divine
is an original publication. A portion (now greatly revised and expanded) of the material contained herein appeared in a work by the author entitled
Bette Midler: Outrageously Divine
, first published as a mass market original paperback in New York in 1987.
Bette Midler: Still Divine
is published by arrangement with the author.

Copyright © 2002 by Mark Bego
Introduction copyright © 2002 by Rita Coolidge

All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review.

Published by Cooper Square Press
A Member of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
200 Park Avenue South, Suite 1109
New York, New York 10003-1503
www.coopersquarepress.com

Distributed by National Book Network

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bego, Mark.

Bette Midler : still divine / Mark Bego ; introduction by Rita Coolidge.—1st Cooper Square Press ed.

p.   cm.

Revised and expanded edition of Bette Midler: outrageously divine, 1987.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Discography:
p. 327

Filmography:
p. 346

ISBN 978-0-8154-1232-8

1. Midler, Bette. 2. Singers—United States—Biography. I. Coolidge, Rita. II. Title.

ML420.M43 B4 2002
782.42164′092—dc

212002009347

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48–1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America.

To Glenn Hughes:

Fans around the world
will always remember you
as the “Leather Man” from the Village People.
I will always remember you
as a dear and caring friend.
You were the original
“Knight in Black Leather.”

CONTENTS

Introduction
by Rita Coolidge

Prologue

1
    Bette Midler: The Ultimate Diva

2
    Aloha, Honolulu

3
    From Pineapples to the Big Apple

4
    Steaming Up the Continental Baths

5
    Enter: The Divine Miss M

6
    Higher and Higher

7
    Instant Stardom / Instant Breakdown

8
    Clams on the Half Shell

9
    The New Depression

10
    The Bumpy Road Back to the Top

11
    Everything Comes Up Roses

12
    Totally Jinxed

13
    Ready to Begin Again

14
    Her Outrageous Fortune

15
    A Divine New Plateau

16
    From a Distance

17
    Bette of Roses

18
    First Wives Club

19
    Isn’t She Great?

20
    Bette TV

21
    Experience the Divine

Sources of Quoted Materials

Bibliography

Discography

Filmography

TV Specials and Series

Concert Tours

Websites

Bette Midler Facts

Members of the Harlettes

Mark Bego’s Idea for a Bette Midler Album

Awards and Distinctions

Guide to the Episodes of the TV Series
Bette, 2000–2001

Index

About the Author

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author would like to thank the following people for their help and encouragement with this book: Joseph Amaral, David Andrew, Bart Andrews, Brooks Arthur, Marilyn Arthur, Ann Bego, Angela Bowie, Peter Brown, Joe Canale, Rita Coolidge, Trippy Cunningham, John Deeg, Hector Dejean, Baby Jane Dexter, Michael Dorr, Howard Einbinder, Luke Falby, Terry Fischer, Dr. Clark Fuller, Sasha Goodman, Gary Herb, Tom Hill, Jan Kalajian, Dr. Kamran Kalpari, John Klinger, Sally Kirkland, Moogy Klingman, Buzzy Linhart, Virginia Lohle, Walter McBride, Michael Messina, Keven Mulroy, Jim Pinkston, Ross Plotkin, Bobby Reed, Debby Regiani, Sherry Robb, Richie Rothenstein, David Salidor, Barbara Shelley, Don Siegel, Andy Skurow, Mark Sokoloff, Dr. Steven Tay, George Vissichelli, Beth Wernick, and Dr. Robert Wolfe.

INTRODUCTION

I just love Bette Midler: her music, her personality, and everything she stands for. I released my first solo album around the same time that her
Divine Miss M
album was released. It was an era of female singer/songwriters like Carly Simon and Carole King, and I was very aware of what kind of music everyone else was making at that time.

While, personally, my music was more folk– and country–based, hers seemed to intersect all sorts of styles. Naturally, Bette really got my attention with her raucous and humorous songs of this era. However, what impressed me the most about her, initially, was her ability to really sell a ballad. She seemed to completely connect with the songwriter’s lyrics and become a part of the song. What she did with John Prine’s “Hello in There” was a great example of how she was able to set a mood with her voice.

After hearing Bette do her rendition of the classic blues song “Am I Blue?” I, too, wanted to record an album of jazz and pop standards. I liked what she did with that song so much that in 1975 I recorded it as well, for my
It’s Only Love
album.

In 1969, when I was on Joe Cocker’s “Maddogs and Englishmen” tour, I debuted a song called “Superstar.” Although I never did get co-writing credit for my contributions to this composition, it was a song that Bonnie Bramlett and I wrote with Leon Russell. Bonnie and I had first written down the lyrics to it during the “Delaney & Bonnie & Friends” tour of 1969, and the guitarist that we were singing about was Eric Clapton. After I was heard singing the song on the
Maddogs and Englishmen
album, it was always one of my trademark songs. I loved what Bette did with this song on her first album. She put her heart into this song, and it will always be one of my favorite Midler recordings.

I love Bette Midler in the movies as well. She has created some of the most memorable film roles of the last thirty years. Her portrayal of a rock singer in
The Rose
really captured the essence of what it was like
to be on 1960s rock shows. She was great in
Beaches
and so funny in
First Wives’ Club
. I am certain that there are many more movie roles to come for the Divine Miss M.

Another thing that I admire her for is her charitable work over the years. When the AIDS crisis began, Bette Midler was right there to lend a hand and sing her songs for the cause to find a cure. Her recent involvement in cleaning up the environment is really admirable. It takes a lot of courage for one person to spearhead cleaning up New York City, but if any diva can accomplish the task, it’s Bette Midler.

I love Bette Midler. She is a clever, funny, and brilliant performer. Her life story is a fascinating tale of determination, creativity, and survival.

—R
ITA
C
OOLIDGE
, 2002

BOOK: Bette Midler
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