Bette Bids Farewell to Tearful Rosie

05/13/2002 at 11:30 AM EDT

As she did 10 years ago when Johnny Carson finished his 30-year run as host of the "Tonight" show, Bette Midler on Monday serenaded daytime queen Rosie O'Donnell, who on Wednesday of next week will end her six-year stint behind the desk of the "Rosie O'Donnell Show." (Caroline Rhea will pick up the hosting duties on the syndicated program.) Coincidentally, Rosie, 40, noted, her last day, May 22, was also the date of Carson's last broadcast. "It just happened that way," she said. Looking svelte on Monday's program, which was taped late last week, Midler, 56, said before singing, "I was also the last guest on Krusty's show, Krusty of 'The Simpsons.' I think I did the same act." For Carson, Midler sang Johnny's special request, the Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer classic, "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)," while for Rosie, Midler delivered a song that was her own choice: the Charles Trenet romantic ballad, "I Wish You Love." Changing some of the lyrics, and announcing prior to breaking into song, "I've never sung this song in public before . . . but this one's for you, Rosie," Midler sang such lines as, "My broken heart and I agree/That you belong here on TV . . ." When the song finished, an emotional Rosie gave Bette a giant bear hug that lasted well into the commercial break. Before it was all over, though, Midler had some words of advice for O'Donnell. "Four words, Rosie," said the Divine Miss M. "Don't do a sitcom."

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