Born Bernadette Lazzara in 1948, in Ozone Park, Queens, New York, Bernadette Peters is a Tony Award-winning actress who made her Broadway debut at age 11 in Most Happy Fella. In 1968, Peters achieved national fame as Ruby, a chorus girl in the off-Broadway musical Dames at Sea, and later appeared in the films The Jerk, Pennies from Heaven (both with Steve Martin) and Silent Movie.
Born Bernadette Lazzara on February 28, 1948, in Ozone Park, Queens, New York, Bernadette Peters in a Tony Award-winning actress who made her Broadway debut at age 11 in Most Happy Fella. With bright eyes and bee-sting lips, Peters is best know for her comedic musical performances, finding particular success with period roles.
In 1966, Peters received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Ruby, a chorus girl in the musical Dames at Sea, which was originally staged Off-Off-Broadway at Caffe Cino in Greenwich Village and then transferred to Off-Broadway in 1968. Though threatened to be typecast as a high-pitched airhead blonde, Peters dodged the bullet with the leading role in 1969's George M. The following year, she played Mabel Normand opposite Robert Preston's Mack Sennett in the musical comedy Mack and Mabel.
Though reluctant to leave her native New York City, Peters has occasionally traveled to Hollywood for a sporadic movie career. Her films include Silent Movie(1976) and The Jerk (1977), in which she plays the long-suffering wife of Steve Martin. She reteamed with Martin for Pennies From Heaven in 1981.
Feeling unfulfilled in Hollywood, Peters returned to Broadway in the mid 1980s, reclaiming her prominence in such musicals as Sunday in the Park With George, Song and Dance and Into the Woods. In 2003, she impressed Broadway critics when she starred in the revival of the 1959 classic Gypsy, about famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and her monstrous stage mother.
Peters was romantically involved with co-star Steve Martin for several years. She married investment adviser Michael Wittenberg in 1996; he died in a helicopter crash in 2005.
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