“At my age it’s quite a challenge,” she’s said about the demands of singing and dancing through eight energetic performances a week. “Bette’s had enough and feels she made her mark on the role, which was her lifelong dream,” a friend of the star tells Closer. “She’s 72 and in great shape, but she’s still 72.”
Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters will take over the role, and Bette is looking forward to spending much-needed tranquil time with her husband, Martin von Haselberg, 68, and their daughter, Sophie, 31. “She craves quiet, simplicity,” explains the friend, adding that while Bette has no desire to tackle another big gig, she has been eyeing some cameo roles in upcoming films. Says the pal, “She has nothing to prove at this point in her life.”
Leaving the show “isn’t bittersweet” for Bette, says a friend, adding that her Tony-winning role “was tough on her emotionally.” Bette has said, “I might be done after this. I’ve done a lot.”
Bette’s acceptance speech at the Tony’s this year was quite a memorable one. “I’m so privileged, I’m so honored,” she said onstage. “I hope I don’t cry. Thank you to the Tony voters, many of whom I’ve actually dated… I’m so grateful for the outpouring of love and affection — I can’t remember the last time I had so much smoke blown up my a*s, but there’s no more room.”
Before Bette began her stint on Hello, Dolly!, she received advice from Carol Channing, who played the same role in the original. “Carol told Bette that she thinks she will be fabulous in the role,” the friend told Closer. “It was definitely a lovefest between the two. These two women greatly admire each other.” Well, Carole was right — Bette was perfect in the role indeed, and she will be missed!