Bette Midler Brought 2 Screen Legends to Tears When She Performed to Bid Them Farewell

The Divine Miss M has had quite a unique career trajectory. From singing in bathhouses with Barry Manilow on the piano to selling out Vegas night after night, she defied all the doubters who told her she would never make it. The two-time Oscar nominee, Tony, and Grammy award winner can do it all. 

Bette Midler
Bette Midler attends the WSJ Mag 2019 Innovator Awards at The Museum of Modern Art | Mark Sagliocco/WireImage

Midler brings audiences to tears with her heartwrenching ballads and makes them laugh out loud with some raunchy Sophie Tucker jokes.  She is an entertainer — a diva in the true positive, performative connotation. The Divine does not merely sing in concert; she pulls the audience in to witness a work of art. Whether she’s a mermaid in a wheelchair yearning for fame or a lady swinging around balls on a string, she always puts on a show. Thus, it should come as no surprise that two screen legends requested her presence as they were preparing to bid lifelong TV gigs farewell.

Bette Midler performed for Johnny Carson during his penultimate episode as host of ‘The Tonight Show’ 

Johnny Carson adored Bette Midler, as she appeared on The Tonight Show several times throughout the host’s 30-year run. Yet, the last time she appeared, as one of his final guests (joining Robin Williams) is unquestionably the most memorable. 

Midler’s appearance on the show ended with her singing “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road). Midler came out and said “I can’t believe it. The last guest. The last fool Mr. Carson will have to suffer gladly. You are the wind beneath my wings.” She then began to serenade the legend, bringing the man to tears — something Miss Midler seems to have a knack for. 

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Earlier in the episode, Midler explained that she can’t “imagine what life is going to be like” without Carson. The episode was filled with humor and tender moments — also thanks to the genius that is Robin Williams. 

Midler also brought Barbara Walters to tears a week before Walter’s last show as co-host on ‘The View’

The View brought on Bette Midler a week before Walter’s last episode as co-host. Walters loves Midler, as she expressed during the episode. However, Midler was not planning to sing when she came onto The View that day. She was supposed to be a mere talking guest, but a little nudge from Walters (and the audience) changed all that. 

Walters noted that Midler said “goodbye to Johnny Carson” when he retired, and she was now there to do the same for Walters. Though Midler wasn’t even warmed up, she sang a little tune, “Glory of Love.” With lines like “as love as there’s the two of us, we got the world and all its charms,” Midler spontaneously made a perfect choice. 

Some clapping from the audience turned into a slow acapella serenade toward the end — with Midler and Walters in a close embrace — and Walters tearing up. Midler then excitedly jumped up and down at having made Walters cry.