Elyria Chronicle Telegram
June 1, 1980
Q: By winning an Oscar nomination for tbc film, “The Rose,” actress-singer Bette Midler certainly made an Olympian jump into prominence. Yet, we’ve beard only a few years earlier she worked as a masseuse in a Turkish bath in New York City for some $50 a night. Is there any truth to this remarkable story? — Florence L., Staten Island, N.Y.
A: Yes and no. Fact is she worked for a while at the Continental baths — but as a singer of nostaglic songs — not as a masseuse. Which is where the rub comes in. Since Bette and Barbra Streisand are contemporaries who made it on talent, not beauty, even before her recent Academy recognition, Midler was on the brink of superstardom. Miss Midler will candidly insist she was born in Hawaii, not Brooklyn, approximately around 1944. And she’s continental enough to concede the only time she sings in a bath these days is in the privacy of her own tub or shower. According to Bette, all her love affairs end badly. But the Midler cult insists their idol’s torch songs light up their lives.