Drawing: Bette Midler in I’ll Eat You Last

Bette Midler

Showbiz icon Bette Midler returned to Broadway in 2013 to play her late friend, the legendary super-agent who ruled Hollywood during the 1970’s Sue Mengers, in John Logan’s I’LL EAT YOU LAST at the Booth Theatre.

I drew this drawing of Bette in the role and managed to get it to ‘The Divine Miss M’ when she toured the UK last July. Nothing came back, so I assumed it was assigned to the round file or left unopened along with zillions of other fan mail. When it arrived through the post last month I was very happy… for a brief moment, until I realised it was probably a ‘secretarial’.

This is a term used in the ‘graph business for signatures by authorised personnel but not the authentic autograph of the celebrity. It’s one of the disappointing aspects of collecting, one which I have experienced on a few occasions. All the more reason to try and get a graph in person. Bette does sign in person and did so at the stage door, but through the mail is a different matter. Bette’s original graph is more ‘energetic’ and her ‘M’ is more divine, without a loop as it darts across from crossing the ‘t’s’. I checked exemplars of her authentic graph and the secretarial versions and this one, sadly, looks like the latter. I’ll just have to catch her in person next year when she takes the lead role in the Broadway revival of HELLO DOLLY or pops back to Britain.

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