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Hey, Kathy Griffin, what should I do with Bette Midler's Emmy?

June 4, 2009 | 11:20 am

Not only is two-time Emmy champ Kathy Griffin pals with Bette Midler, but the Divine Miss M will star in the first episode of the new season of Kathy's "My Life on the D-List," which debuts next Monday, June 8. So I figured that their connection was good enough reason to confess my guilty conscience about owning Bette's first Emmy Award while chatting with Kathy about her shameless lusting after acquiring a third of her own.

Bette Midler's Emmy-1

At the end of my webcam chat with Kathy the other day, I pulled Bette's Emmy off the shelf behind me, held it up to the webcam and asked Kathy what she thinks I should do with it. Offer to sell it back to Bette? My fear is that the statuette may have been stolen. I purchased it for $5,100 from the estate sale of Robert L. White held by Hantman's Auctioneers in 2004.

I don't know how White came about owning it. He was renowned for collecting memorabilia of John F. Kennedy. He also dabbled in Hollywood lore on the side, but I don't know what his connection to Bette might have been. When I purchased it, the auctioneers assured me that it was Bette's actual statuette, not one won by one of the producers of her show that won best variety TV special of 1978. It's possible she sold it, or gave it away, after she won her second, which is far more famous: for singing "One for My Baby" to Johnny Carson upon his retirement from the "Tonight Show." She also won an Emmy for best performance in a variety special in 1997 for "Bette Midler in Concert: Diva Las Vegas."

This portion of our webcam chat below begins with some final remarks about Kathy's Emmy quest, which I had to trim out of our main chat because the time chunk exceeded YouTube's limit of 10 minutes. The reason I bought Bette's Emmy, by the way, was because I'm a collector of historic showbiz statuettes. I possess what's believed to be the largest personal collection on the planet. You can read more about that here, here and here.

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Photo: Hantman's Auctioneers

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