Bette Midler: My Life in Pictures
DIVA IN TRAINING
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler, (left, circa 1947), got her first job in a pineapple cannery at 13. "I got up at 4 o'clock in the morning, took the 5:30 bus to get to the cannery by 6 or 6:30 and you were done at 3," she tells PEOPLE. "They didn't get on your case if you got your work done."
Milder (far right), seen as a high schooler in Honolulu in 1963, was voted "Most Talkative" in 1961 and "Most Dramatic" in 1963 and went onto study drama at the University of Hawaii. She left after three semesters before heading to New York City in 1965.
The singer's first big break came when she joined the Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof in 1966. Her star began to rise in 1970 (the year this shot was snapped) when she began singing in a gay bathhouse in New York City. Her piano player, Barry Manilow, produced her first album, The Divine Miss M, in 1972.
CAMPING IT UP
Midler guest-starred on the Feb. 12, 1975, premiere of the Cher show on CBS, where the duo performed "Trashy Ladies Medley" and sang "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and other Motown hits with guest stars Elton John and Flip Wilson.
A sign she was making it: The young star was photographed leaving her apartment on Barrow Street in Manhattan's artsy Greenwich Village on Feb. 19, 1975, before hopping into a chauffeured limo to head to a public appearance.
Midler had a hit in 1975's Clams on the Half Shell, her Broadway revue (here, she's seen in her dressing room). The year before, she won a special Tony award for her contributions to the Broadway season.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
On Feb. 17, 1976, Midler basked in the adulation from cheering fans in a parade leading to Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was named the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year.
SUPPORTING THE CAUSE
Midler used her fame for good, too (and continues to today); here, she commiserated with Jack Nicholson at an Equal Rights Amendment gathering at actress Joan Hackett's Beverly Hills home in March 1978.
She's been framed! Midler dished with pop artist Andy Warhol on Oct. 11, 1978, at The Palace Theatre in New York City after she'd performed.
ON THE CATWALK
Work it, Bette! Midler modeled a Holly Harp dress during a celebrity fashion show in Beverly Hills on April 11, 1985, to raise funds for the Summer Arts Festival.
Midler with her husband of almost 30 years, Martin von Haselberg, and their daughter, Sophie von Haselberg, now 27, in 1987. "She is my best friend," Midler tells PEOPLE of her daughter (who's currently starring in the off-Broadway play Billy & Ray).
The actress founded the New York Restoration Project in 1995 to improve gardens and parks in New York City. "I love the planet," she tells PEOPLE. Here, she's seen at a NYRP event with Sophie in 2006.
She's back – big time! Midler performed during the opening of her Vegas revue "The Showgirl Must Go On" at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Sin City on Feb. 20, 2008. She hit the stage for 300 shows before ending the run in January 2010.