If you think pit bulls are tough, Bernadette Peters says you probably haven't met her Stella.
"She just wants to kiss everybody," the actress says of the pit bull she named after a character in A Streetcar Named Desire. "She always wants to lie down next to you and cuddle with you. She's an amazing animal."
Peters, who rose to fame in movies (The Jerk, Annie) and is currently wrapping Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway, plans to put her love of animals to good use this Saturday at the second annual Broadway Barks! benefit in New York City's Times Square. Peters and pal Mary Tyler Moore will co-host the daylong pet adoption event featuring the talents of Patrick Stewart, Tom Wopat, Joel Grey, Bebe Neuwirth and several other Broadway stars.
Peters tells us she's still hurting from the loss of her cat, Murphy, who suffered from kidney failure and was recently put to sleep at age 13. "They stop eating and they kind of tell you they don't want to do it anymore," she says. "She couldn't walk and I realized that was bad so I took her [to the vet]. Even at that moment I was really concerned whether I did the right thing."
With Murphy gone, pet-loving Peters and investment advisor husband Michael Wittenberg are now making do with Stella and their other dog, Kramer. Why the name Kramer? "He bounces off the walls and he slides into a room," giggles Peters.