Panelist, "The Marriage Ref"
Bette Midler is a renowned comedienne, singer, and actress. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, she studied drama at the University of Hawaii; her first screen role was as an extra on the 1965 adaptation of James Michener's "Hawaii." She moved shortly thereafter to New York City, landing the role of Tzeitel in a production of "Fiddler on the Roof." During her three-year theatre run, she also developed, performed, and polished a nightclub act designed to showcase her vocal skills and love of bawdy comedy. Her shows became an underground hit throughout New York; for a time Bette was accompanied on piano by a then-unknown Barry Manilow.
Her debut album, 1974's "The Divine Miss M" delivered a number one hit ("Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy") and garnered Bette a Grammy award as Best New Artist. The same year she received a Tony Award for her work on Broadway. Two years later, her first television special, "Ol' Red Hair Is Back" won an Emmy award for Outstanding Comedy Special. Having found success on stage and on television, Midler turned to the big screen, again scoring kudos practically from the start. In 1979, her dramatic performance in the title role of "The Rose" earned her the first of two Best Actress Oscar nominations.
Midler's gone on to appear in dozens of film and television roles, including "For the Boys," (for which she was also nominated for an Oscar), "Outrageous Fortune," "Beaches," "Big Business," "Scenes from a Mall," "The First Wives Club," "Get Bruce," "The Stepford Wives" and "Then She Found Me." She has also starred in and executive produced her own TV series. The multi-talented performer continues to record musically; her 2006 album of holiday songs, "Cool Yule," was nominated for a Grammy in 2007. All told, she has four Grammys, three Emmys, three Golden Globe awards, two Academy Award nominations, and two People's Choice awards.
In 2008 she began an incredibly popular Las Vegas run of her stage extravaganza, "Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On." The show continues to play to sold-out audiences.
In 1995, Midler founded the New York Restoration Project, a non-profit organization that helps revitalize green spaces in low income neighborhoods of New York City.
Since 1984, she has been married to Martin von Haselberg. The couple have a daughter named Sophie who graduated from Yale in 2008.