Barbara “Barbra” Joan Streisand
Born: April 24, 1942, Brooklyn, New York
Occupation: Actress and Singer
Marital Status: Elliot Gould (Divorced), Married to James Brolin
Children: Jason Gould
Education: Bais Yakov School, Erasmus Hall High School
“I was a personality before I became a person – I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy and driven.”
Anything we could say about Barbra Streisand wouldn’t be enough to fully capture what she represents and what she has accomplished. Streisand is the top-selling female artist of all time; she is a living legend that is showing no signs of slowing down. Few artists can claim they’ve had the same effect on an audience and the entertainment business.
Barbra Streisand had to overcome a painful child to become the star is today. Her father died when she was only 15 months old, and had to deal with an emotional abusive stepfather. She also had to deal with bullying from her peers because of her unusual looks. Instead of being a source of comfort for Streisand, her mother mirrored her peer’s feelings and discouraged Streisand from pursuing her dream.
Instead of succumbing to their derision, Streisand only worked harder to achieve her dream. However Streisand’s first taste of acting came because of luck. At the age of 15, she met Anita and Alan Miller at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village. She agreed to become a babysitter for their children in exchange for a scholarship to Alan’s acting school.
After appearing in a number of cabaret shows, Streisand made her Broadway debut in the show, I Can Get it For You Wholesale in 1962. Streisand signed with Columbia Records the same year and released her first album, The Barbara Streisand Album in 1963. The album received a Grammy for Album of the Year.
Streisand would go on to appear in the Broadway show, Funny Girl, for two years. During this time, she would also star in the television special, My Name is Barbra. The show would receive five Emmy Awards. Streisand would make her big-screen debut in film adaptation of the show, Funny Girl in 1968. She won a Golden Globe for her performance.
Streisand would finally get a No. 1 hit with the song, “The Way We Were,” from the film of the same name. The film also earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Streisand would achieve No. 1 status with the songs, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” and, “No More Tears (Enough is Enough).” Streisand followed up these hits with the biggest-selling album of her career. Guilty was released in 1980, and was produced by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.
Streisand made her directorial debut with the film adaptation of the short story, “Yentl, The Yeshiva Boy” in 1983. The film, Yentl, received five Academy Award nominations. The film also produced a top ten soundtrack.
During the late 1980’s, Streisand released The Broadway Album and starred in the film Nuts. Along with starring in the film, she also produced and wrote the music for it. In 1991, She made her second directorial effort in the film, Prince of Tides. It received seven Academy Award nominations.
The litany of accomplishments Barbra Streisand is staggering. As well as being the top-selling female artist of all time, she is one of few artists that have had a No. 1 hit in the last four decades. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, she is also the only artist to receive awards from every major award institution. She is simply one of a kind.
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