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Bette Midler shares the greatest award she ever received — and it may surprise you

To a pro like her, showing up is what matters most.
/ Source: TODAY

Over the years, Bette Midler has been showered (rightly so!) with all kinds of awards. She's got two Emmys, two Oscar nominations and two Tonys, just for a start.

But ask the legendary diva what award she considers "one of the greatest" prizes that's been bestowed on her, and you might get a surprise: It comes from her 2008 to 2010 Las Vegas shows, "The Showgirl Must Go On."

Bette Midler performing at "The Showgirl Must Go On" in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2008.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

"I had a residency in Vegas, and I was given a lot of awards at that time, a great time," she recently told The Washington Post. "Toward the end of the run, I got probably one of the greatest awards I ever received."

What could it be? Not another Tony, as it wasn't on Broadway. And one of those Emmys was for a Las Vegas performance, but that was a one-time event in 1997, "Diva Las Vegas." So what prize does she adore?

"An award from the ushers and the box office staff — for perfect attendance," Midler, 76, said in the interview. "Because if you don't work, they don't get paid."

Bette Midler in 2019.John Lamparski / Getty Images

The words of a true pro! Midler's a legendarily hard worker, having performed hundreds, if not thousands of shows everywhere from Broadway (her big break was in "Fiddler on the Roof" from 1966 to 69) to Sin City to New York's gay bathhouses of the 1970s (in case you hadn't heard, Barry Manilow was her piano player then). Lately, she's appeared in TV shows like "The Politician" and is shooting a sequel to the beloved 1993 comedy "Hocus Pocus" with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. And during the pandemic, she helped her daughter Sophie, 34, with her "homespun" wedding.

And she knows that while she might have the spotlight, there are hundreds of other workers who rely on her, no matter what the project is. So to be honored by them is a particular achievement, she says.

"I'm so proud of it because look, hey, their lives depended on me showing up," she said. "And I showed up."