Bette Midler was born on 1st December 1945 to a seamstress mother and housepainter father from Paterson, NJ. The couple had moved to Hawaii just prior to Midler's birth, where her father landed a job at a Navy yard. The transplanted Jewish East Coasters were a bit of an oddity in the rural South Pacific sugar cane fields, but Midler developed a quick wit to combat her outsider status, winding up as a well-liked class clown and notorious performer.
After a run as The Acid Queen in a Seattle Opera Association production of "Tommy," Midler returned to New York, determined to focus on her singing career. After rave club reviews which took note of her powerful pipes, she was booked on all the top variety TV shows of the day. She took a 16-week engagement that electrified the towel-clad gay clientele of the Continental Baths, where Barry Manilow backed her on piano. It was at that time, that the larger-than-life persona of 'The Divine Miss M' - not to mention a loyal gay following - was born.
Despite initially positive reviews, ratings were so-so and negative gossip about behind-the-scenes problems plagued the series' image. After dabbling in the executive producer role when she helped bring "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" (2002) to the big screen, Midler reunited with former collaborator Barry Manilow to record Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook for Columbia Records. The album was a bit of a surprise hit and went gold, in addition to earning the pair a Grammy nod.
Midler and Manilow recreated their previous album success with 2005's Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook and Midler returned to the studio in 2006 to record Cool Yule, a Grammy-nominated album of pop holiday classics. Helen Hunt lured Midler back to the big screen to star as her biological mother in Hunt's pet project, the comedic drama "Then She Found Me" (2008). That same year, the 62-year-old powerhouse began a two-year run of "Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On" at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.