Bernadette Peters (Actress) - The Jerk
Bernadette Peters 1
Updated: 8/28/13

Name: Bernadette Peters

Born: February 28, 1948, Queens, New York City, New York

Claim To Fame: Known for her roles in films such as The Jerk and as a Broadway star.

Family Life: She was married to Michael Wittenberg from 1996 until September 2005 (his death).

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Info: Peters began acting as a child on stage and continued acting through her teens. She began appearing on television on such hit shows as The Muppet Show and The Carol Burnett Show, and in films like Silent Movie, The Jerk, Pennies from Heaven and Annie. She returned to the stage in the 1980s and became one of the best-known Broadway stars.

Peters is particularly noted for her starring roles in stage musicals, including Song and Dance, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun, and Gypsy, becoming closely associated with composer Stephen Sondheim.

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Trivia: Her husband died in a plane crash in 2005.

Younger sister of casting director Donna DeSeta.

Is a staunch liberal Democrat and feminist.

Was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre.

Once dated Steve Martin.

Created the roles of Dot in "Sunday in the Park with George", Mabel Normand in "Mack and Mabel" and The Witch in "Into the Woods" in the original Broadway productions.

Has won two "Best Leading Actress in a Musical" Tony Awards for "Song and Dance" and "Annie Get Your Gun".

Has two siblings, Joseph and Donna.

Awarded the President's Award at the 11th Annual 'Mr. Abbott' Awards Dinner.

Is the youngest performer to be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Is a member of the MTC Board of Directors.

Was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.

Her father Peter Lazzara drove a bread truck.

Of Italian descent, she changed her last name to Peters (after her father's first name) because she did not "look Italian" and, at the time, ethnic stage names were discouraged.

Has an American pit bull terrier named Stella.

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Where Are They Now: Peters is known for her charitable work, including as a founder of the Broadway Barks animal charity. To support the animal adoption charity that she co-founded, Broadway Barks, Peters has written two children's books, both illustrated by Liz Murphy. The first book, Broadway Barks, was published in 2008. Her second book, Stella is a Star, was published in 2010.

Peters has released six solo albums and several singles, and has been performing her solo concert in the United States and Canada for many years.

Recently, she has made appearances on the NBC television series Smash. She portrays Leigh Conroy, Ivy's mother, in several episodes in 2012-13.

At the 66th Tony Awards (2012), Peters was presented with the honorary Isabelle Stevenson Award for "making a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations, regardless of whether such organizations relate to the theatre", specifically for her work with Broadway Barks. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and participates in that organization's events, such as the annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction, and the "Gypsy of the Year" competition.

Write To Bernadette Peters:
Bernadette Peters
323 W. 80th Street
New York, NY 10024

Official Website:


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