|Born: February 28, 1948 |
Often called "the finest singing actress since Barbra Streisand ," Bernadette Peters is certainly one of the few leading ladies of the last decade or so whose name on a Broadway marquee can cause box-office lines to form before the show has gone into previews. She was tap dancing and acting at an early age, and joined Actors' Equity when she was nine. Soon afterward she changed her name to Peters, and played Tessie in the 1959 revival of "The Most Happy Fella" at the New York City Center. After appearing in the role of Baby June in a road tour of "Gypsy," she gave up performing for a time and studied acting and singing in her teens, before returning to the stage in two Off-Broadway shows, "The Penny Friend" (1966) and a Shirley Temple parody, "Curley McDimple" (1967). In 1968 she received favorable notices, and a Theatre World citation, for her portrayal of George M. Cohan Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II 's CINDERELLA, in which Peters played the Wicked Stepmother.
In "Sunday in the Park with George" she played the artist Georges' mistress, Dot, and his daughter, Marie.
In 1977 Peters formed a private and professional partnership with the comedian and actor Steve Martin, and they appeared together in two movies, THE JERK (1979) and the highly expensive box-office disaster PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981), for which Peters won a Golden Globe Award. Her other films around this time included the musical ANNIE, in which she played Lily. In the '80s she excelled in three Broadway musicals, two of which had scores by Stephen