Bette Midler Is ‘On Cloud Nine’ at the Kennedy Center Honors

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

Bette Midler has made a name for herself through stage work and comedy. Yet even she was shocked to be at the Kennedy Center Honors.

Midler was one of the performers to receive this prestigious honor this year.

She stopped to speak with reporters.

“For me, unbelievable and it’s absolutely shocking, and I’ve yet to come down from Cloud Nine,” Midler said. “I can’t believe that I’m here.”

Check out this video from The Associated Press with Bette Midler talking about the ceremony.

Besides Midler, others receiving Kennedy Center Honors included Motown founder Berry Gordy, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, and opera singer Justino Diaz.

The Honors Gala, which took place on Sunday, Dec. 5, will air on CBS on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central.

Diaz, Gordy Share Their Kennedy Center Honors Thoughts

Other honorees shared their thoughts ahead of the Honors Gala through a press release.

“I’m deeply grateful to be receiving this Honor,” Diaz said. “It is especially thrilling for me because 50 years ago I sang as the male lead in Ginastera’s Beatrix Cenci on the Opera House stage at the Kennedy Center’s grand opening—the night after Bernstein’s Mass. I was the first operatic voice to christen the walls of this wonderful institution all those years ago and I am beyond honored to return to this stage to have such a distinction bestowed on me.”

Gordy said, “The Arts not only give voice to the voiceless, but connect us, transform us, and soothe our souls. The Kennedy Center Honors epitomizes the recognition and value of both the Arts, and the Artist. I am thrilled to become a part of this prestigious American legacy. Growing up in Detroit, I was not only Black but the ‘black sheep’ of my family. I was a failure at everything I did until I was 29 years old, while my younger brother Robert was not only a family favorite, but strangely, a favorite of mine as well. … Throughout the years I’ve been blessed with many wonderful memories, but this—the Kennedy Center Honors—is one that will be forever in my heart. Thank you.”

SNL Creator Michaels, Singer-Songwriter Mitchell Offer Their Gratitude

“The Kennedy Center’s commitment to the performing arts has always been an important force in American culture,” Lorne Michaels said. “Being acknowledged here and included in this company is an honor in the truest sense. I am deeply grateful.”

“I’m grateful to the Kennedy Center for bestowing this honor on my work and I look forward to being a part of this prestigious celebration of the arts,” Mitchell said. “I wish my mother and father were alive to see this. It’s a long way from Saskatoon.”