Listen to Bette Midler: "Bruce was the first man to put something in my mouth that made us both money." She and Vilanch began working together in 1970 after she read his Chicago Tribune review of her show saying she needed more jokes. She called him and said, So write me some jokes. Thirty-eight years later, in 2008, he co-wrote her Caesars Palace gig The Showgirl Must Go On. The Oscars' head writer and New Hollywood Squares star has won six Emmys. He's also created comic material for Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Diana Ross, David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Florence Henderson, and, recently, Tab Hunter. Vilanch has punched up many, many Hollywood scripts, including films that don't immediately seem to bear his razor humor, and he has acted in Mahogany, Ice Pirates, and The Morning After. He's also starred on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, for which he shaved off his signature thirty-year shaggy blond beard, and off Broadway in his own show Almost Famous. He is the subject of the A-list love explosion Get Bruce! and appears in Laughing Matters. Beyond being funny, Vilanch has been a tireless supporter of many aids and gay rights causes and appears in Christopher Hines' documentary about gay body image, The Adonis Factor [watch now].
Naming him to this year's Out 100 list, the magazine mentions his "upcoming memoir." Until then, get Bruce!: My Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Essays.