I was watching The Carol Burnett 50th anniversary special in December 2017. Carol noted that Bernadette Peters was on her very first episode on 11 September 1967. How could that be?
Because Ms. Peters was a member of the Actors Equity union the age of nine, with two television credits from 1958! Moreover, she was in two short-lived roles, and was an understudy for a third, on Broadway before she first made the Burnett show, uncredited. She made at least ten more appearances.
Bernadette Peters is a Broadway legend who has won Tony Awards for her performances in Song and Dance (1985) and in the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Her numerous other Broadway credits include starring roles in Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, and Gypsy. She is considered by theater critics to be among the best interpreters of Stephen Sondheim’s work.
The actress, born Bernadette Lazzara, also made her mark in movies such as The Jerk and Pennies from Heaven, both with Steve Martin, whom she dated from 1977 to 1981. And she was in Annie (1982) with the aforementioned Carol Burnett.
Peters married investment adviser Michael Wittenberg on July 20, 1996. He “died at age 43 on September 26, 2005, in a helicopter crash in Montenegro while on a business trip.”
She has recorded six albums, performed in many concerts and serves on the Board of Trustees of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, among other works.
Starting on January 20, 2018, she has been starring in Hello, Dolly, an iconic role that been played by Barbra Streisand on screen, and Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey and, of course, Carol Channing on stage. She replaced Tony winner Bette Midler; Victor Garber follows David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder.
Charles, who directed me in Boys in the Band way back in 1975, saw the current production and declared it “spectacular.” He said, “Bernadette Peters has grown into a mature, comic actress who can also break your heart.”
Happy birthday to a performer who is still going strong, Bernadette Peters.