Bernhard's one-woman off-Broadway show "Without You I'm Nothing" and the resulting film and album established her as a star in 1989, and in the 20 years since she hasn't had a "grand plan" to build a large-scale business around her talent. But, she told Sunday's Los Angeles Times, she's been able to keep her artistic integrity and have lot of fun in a trade off she says is worth it.
"Maybe I'd have a lot more money and a certain kind of success that I don't have, but I'd certainly never have the fun that I have and I'm having," Bernhard said. "When you have that sort of machinery in place, you've got to serve that machinery. You can never say, 'I'm taking a break from it,' because the people go, 'No, you're not!'"
She added, "I dunno, maybe that's why Michael Jackson just died. It just sapped his creative energy."
The Times said Bernhard also has new music album with Ted Mason, titled "Whatever It Takes," coming out this week.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]