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A View From A Broad

by Daniel Scheffler
Contributor
Monday Apr 7, 2014
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An institution, really: There just isn’t any other way to look at Bette Midler (or, as she is also known, "The Divine Miss M"). She should be an American version of a Dame at this point. The same way that Cher and Madonna have shaped the entertainment industry, Midler has penetrated the very soul of gay boys (as she was oh-so-pro gay marriage even in the 90s), young (and older) Jewish lasses and somehow a whole lot of folk in between all that. Midler releases her "A View From A Broad" memoir again: The first was in 1981 and her hair was frizzier then, but now she’s smiling even broader.

Midler, who calls the book a "confection" that came out of her 1980 world tour, says: "I had decided I wanted to do a book before we started rehearsals, and lo and behold, the publishers were lined up in droves. What clout I had in those days! My best friend, Jerry, and his boyfriend, Sean (not his real name, which was Wesley -- don’t ask), searched maps and guidebooks to decide where we could shoot pictures to accompany whatever was to come. We did many by-the-seat-of-our-pants photo shoots when abroad, like the Penguin Parade in Australia, and though most of the photos never made the book, I remember many of the charming, out-of-the-way places we found; the taxidermy store in Paris, the monastery outside Munich, musty old London bookstalls." The book covers her childhood in Hawaii and living in New Jersey and eventually Manhattan and the way she took on a whole new personality to stand on stage, and how she was hiding from herself and from the world.

"I had decided I wanted to do a book before we started rehearsals, and lo and behold, the publishers were lined up in droves. What clout I had in those days!"

Midler is not just that redhead you’ll never forget. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. Who knew she’s reach such heights in 1970, when she began singing in the Continental Baths, a sultry New York gay bathhouse? -- so appropriate, as the ultimate ugly duckling diva that has become the swan everyone loves. She’s also rip roar funny, with a wicked dark sense of humor that you cannot get enough of.

"A View From A Broad"
Bette Midler
$29.99
Simon & Schuster

Based between New York and Cape Town, Daniel Scheffler writes about socio political and travel matters and is working on a memoir. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler.

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