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Barbra Streisand

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Barbra Streisand
Born April 24, 1942
Brooklyn, New York

Barbra Streisand (born April 24, 1942 as Barbara Joan Streisand), is a two-time Academy Award-winning American singer, theatre and film actress, composer, film producer and director. She has won Oscars for Best Actress and Best Original Song as well as multiple Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and an honorary Tony Award.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early years

Streisand was born Barbara Joan Streisand to a Jewish family in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Emanuel Streisand, a grammar teacher, died when she was 15 months old; and she had a turbulent relationship with her stepfather, Louis Kind. Her mother, Diana Ida Rosen, did not encourage her daughter to pursue a show business career, opining that Barbara was not attractive enough. She was educated at Erasmus Hall High School, where she graduated fourth in her class in 1959, and she sang in the school choir with Neil Diamond. She was also friendly there with future World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. She never attended college. Streisand has said, "I hated it (Brooklyn) when I grew up, but now I realize that I draw strength from my roots." (October 17, 2006; concert in Toronto).

[edit] Early singing, theater, and television career

Following a music competition, Streisand became a nightclub singer while in her teens. She originally wanted to be an actress and appeared in a number of Off-Off-Broadway productions, including one with then-aspiring actress Joan Rivers, but when her boyfriend Barry Dennen helped her create a club act — first performed in a gay bar in Manhattan's Greenwich Village in 1960 — she achieved success as a singer. It was at this time that she shortened her first name to Barbra to make it more distinctive.

Streisand in 1962
Streisand in 1962

In 1962 Streisand first appeared on Broadway, in a small but star-making role in the musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962). She also signed her first recording contract that year with Columbia Records. Her first album, The Barbra Streisand Album, won two Grammy Awards in 1963. Her recording success continued, and at one time, Streisand's first three albums appeared simultaneously on Billboard's pop albums Top Ten - an unusual feat considering it was at a time when rock and roll and The Beatles dominated the charts.

Jule Styne's and Bob Merrill's Funny Girl (1964), based upon the life of Fanny Brice, was fashioned for Streisand after Styne saw Streisand's I Can Get It For You Wholesale performance. Styne saw Streisand's work in the show at the invitation of producer Ray Stark's wife, who was Fannie Brice's daughter. Ironically, she was strongly opposed to the casting of Streisand, preferring Carol Burnett.

After several notable television appearances, including a legendary guest appearance on The Judy Garland Show (CBS, 1963), Streisand appeared on a number of her own television specials for CBS. The first special, My Name Is Barbra (1965), was praised by critics and fans, as were most of the subsequent specials.[citation needed]

Streisand is classified as one of the most "Amazing Female Vocalists" in the 2006 edition of Women in Song.

[edit] Singing career

Barbra Streisand has recorded more than 60 albums, almost all with the Columbia Records label. Her early works in the 1960s (her debut, The Second Barbra Streisand Album, The Third Album, My Name Is Barbra, etc.) are considered classic renditions of theatre and nightclub standards, including her version of "Happy Days Are Here Again". Beginning with My Name Is Barbra her albums were often medley-filled keepsakes of her television specials.

Starting in 1969, Streisand tackled contemporary songwriters; like many talented singers of the day, she found herself a fish out of water in attempts to tackle rock, but her vocal talents prevailed and she gained newfound success with the pop and ballad-oriented, Richard Perry-produced album Stoney End in 1971. The title track, written by Laura Nyro, was a big hit for Streisand.

Streisand's 1980 album, Guilty featured the songwriting, production and vocal talents of Barry Gibb and was one of her biggest successes
Streisand's 1980 album, Guilty featured the songwriting, production and vocal talents of Barry Gibb and was one of her biggest successes

During the 1970s, she was also highly prominent in the pop charts, with number-one records like "The Way We Were", "Evergreen", "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (with Donna Summer) and "Woman In Love"; some of these came from soundtrack records to her films.

When the 1970s ended, Streisand was named the most successful female singer in the U.S. - only Elvis Presley and The Beatles having sold more albums. [1]

In 1982, New York Times music critic Stephen Holden wrote that Streisand was "the most influential mainstream American pop singer since Frank Sinatra."

Streisand returned to her musical-theater roots with 1985's The Broadway Album. This was an unexpected success, holding the coveted #1 Billboard position for 3 straight weeks, and being certified 3x Platinum. The album featured songs reworked by Stephen Sondheim especially for this recording, was critically acclaimed, nominated as Album of the Year and landed Streisand her 8th Grammy as Best Female Vocalist.

In 1991, a four-disc box set, entitled Just for the Record was released, spanning Streisand's entire career. It featured over 70 tracks, including live material, greatest hits, and rarities, from her early recordings up to 1991.

Streisand's concert fundraising events helped propel former President Bill Clinton into the spotlight and into office. [2] Streisand later introduced Clinton at his inauguration in 1992. However, Streisand's music career was on hold. A tour was suggested, and she debated it for two years because of her stage fright. A year later, Streisand landed another #1 Back to Broadway. This album included the duet medley I Have A Love / One Hand, One Heart with the legendary Johnny Mathis whom Streisand has publicly acknowledged as one of her favorite singers.

In September 1993, Streisand made global news, announcing her first public concert tour in 27 years. Tickets to the limited tour were sold out in under one hour. Streisand also hit the cover of major magazines, in anticipation of what Time magazine named, "The Music Event of the Century." The tour was one of the biggest all-media merchandise parlays in history. Ticket prices ranged from $50 to $1,500 - making Streisand the highest paid concert performer in history. Barbra Streisand: The Concert went on to be the top grossing concert of the year, earned 2 Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, and the taped broadcast on HBO is to-date the highest rated concert special in HBO's 30 year history.

On New Year's Eve 1999, she returned to the concert stage, giving the highest grossing single concert in Las Vegas history to date. At the end of the last millennium, she was the number-one female singer in the US, with at least 2 # 1 albums in each decade since she had started out.

Around this time, Shock Jock Howard Stern did a skit on his radio program mocking fans who paid to see the singer for such large amounts of money, charging Streisand with fleecing the public. He ridiculed Streisand's singing style, stating at various times, "I could do this..." and mocked the film Yentl by mimicing the line, "Papa, can you hear me?" repeatedly. Stern's comedy writer (at the time) Jackie "the Joke Man" Martling weighed in with the insult "actress, producer, singer, director...thief."

Her most recent albums have been Christmas Memories (2001), a collection of somber holiday songs, and The Movie Album (2003), featuring famous movie themes and backed by a large symphony orchestra. Guilty Pleasures (called Guilty Too in the UK), a collaboration with Barry Gibb and a sequel album to their previous Guilty, was released worldwide in 2005.

In February 2006, Streisand recorded the song 'Smile' alongside Tony Bennett, at Streisand's Malibu home. The song is included on Tony Bennett's 80th Birthday Album, 'Duets'. In September 2006, the pair recorded a video segment of the song, to be included on a forthcoming TV Special.

In 2006, Streisand announced her intent to tour again, in an effort to raise money and awareness for multiple issues. The tour, which started on October 4 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, is simply being referred to as Streisand: The Tour. Special guests Il Divo were the scheduled opening act for Streisand.

On October 09 2006, Streisand performed a concert at the Madison Square Garden, featuring a skit that made fun of President George W. Bush. When one heckler continued to yell repeated taunts during and after the skit, Streisand responded by shouting "Shut the fuck up!" She later apologized for the incident, but added that "The artist's role is to disturb." [3] Despite negative audience reactions to the sketch at several performances, Streisand refused to remove the material from her show, citing her right to express her political views. In Fort Lauderdale an audience member threw a liquid filled cup at the singer but missed her. Streisand's manager, Martin Erlichman said that Streisand brushed the incident off saying: "It's a free country and they're entitled to express their opinion."[4]

[edit] Film career

Her first film was a reprise of her Broadway hit, Funny Girl (1968), an artistic and commercial success, for which she won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actress, sharing it with Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter), the first time there was a tie in this Oscar category. Her next two movies were also based on musicals, Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! (1969) and Alan Jay Lerner's and Burton Lane's On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970), while her fourth film was based on the Broadway play The Owl and the Pussycat (1970).

She also starred in the original screwball comedies, including What's Up, Doc? (1972), with Ryan O'Neal, and For Pete's Sake (1974), and the drama The Way We Were (1973) with Robert Redford. Her second Academy Award was for Best Original Song as composer of the song "Evergreen", from A Star Is Born (1976) and was the first time a woman had received this award. Along with Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier, Streisand formed First Artists Production Company in 1969 so the actors could secure properties and develop movie projects for themselves. Streisand's initial outing with First Artists was the personal Up the Sandbox (1972).

In 1970, she had a topless scene in The Owl and the Pussycat. She regretted the move and bought up all prints of the film, deleting the scene. When High Society magazine published the original photos of her bare breasts, Streisand sued them.

Streisand produced a number of her own films, setting up Barwood Films in 1972. For Yentl (1983), she was producer, director, writer, and star, an experience she repeated for The Prince of Tides (1991). Steven Spielberg called Yentl a masterpiece, and both won critical acclaim.

There was controversy when Yentl received five Academy Award nominations but none for the major categories of Best Picture, Actress, or Director [5]. Prince of Tides received even more nominations, including Best Picture, but, as commonly is the case, the director was not nominated.

In 2004, Streisand made a return to film acting, after an eight-year-long break, in the comedy Meet the Fockers (a sequel to Meet the Parents), playing opposite Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, and Robert De Niro.

[edit] Awards

Over the years, Streisand has been the recipient of an award in every medium she has worked in. Among her awards are two Oscars, six Emmys, eleven Golden Globes, ten Grammys, a Tony award, two Cable Ace awards, the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as a number of other awards.

In 1995, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. As of 2005, her US album sales rank her as the top-selling female recording artist in the US.

Even though her Tony was a special "Star of the Decade" award, Streisand remains one of only a few individuals (including Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Liza Minnelli, and Whoopi Goldberg) to have won an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy. However, Streisand's Tony was honorary rather than one of the regular awards, so she is sometimes not counted as one of the winners.

She will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

[edit] Personal life

Barbra Streisand has been married twice. Her first husband was actor Elliott Gould to whom she was married from 1963 to 1971. They have one child, Jason Gould. Her second husband is actor James Brolin, whom she married on July 1, 1998. The wedding was reported regularly in the celebrity gossip media. While they have no children together, Brolin has two children from his first marriage and one child from his second marriage.

Streisand has also allegedly dated Ryan O'Neal, Tom Smothers, Warren Beatty, Jon Voight, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, producer Jon Peters, Don Johnson, Steve McQueen, Andre Agassi, and news anchor Peter Jennings.

[edit] References in popular culture

Barbra Streisand's iconic status has been parodied on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live in the recurring skit Coffee Talk where character Linda Richman, played by Mike Myers, hosts a talk show dedicated to, among other things, the adoration of Streisand. Barbra Streisand, in a guest appearance, surprised Richman (and Myers) as well as her guests (played by Madonna, and Roseanne Barr).

South Park episode Spookyfish shown in "Spooky Vision".
South Park episode Spookyfish shown in "Spooky Vision".

Barbra Streisand has been repeatedly satirized on the South Park animated series such as in the episode called "Mecha-Streisand", in which she tried to take over the world by transforming herself into a giant robot as well as the Halloween special Spookyfish which was was filmed in "Spooky Vision", where all 4 corners of the screen had images of Streisand's face. In other episodes, characters use her name as a curse word.

Barbra Streisand's mentioned for many times in Fran Drescher's The Nanny, where Fran Drescher played Fran Fine who's obsessed with Barbra Streisand.

She is listed as #91 in Bernard Goldberg's controversial 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.

[edit] Performances on Broadway

[edit] Television Specials

Year Title Notes
1965 My Name Is Barbra  
1966 Color Me Barbra  
1967 The Belle of 14th Street  
1968 A Happening in Central Park filmed June 17, 1967
1973 Barbra Streisand... and Other Musical Instruments  
1975 Funny Girl to Funny Lady  
1976 Barbra: With One More Look at You  
1983 A Film Is Born: The Making of 'Yentl'  
1987 One Voice  
1994 Barbra Streisand: The Concert Also producer
2000 Barbra Streisand: Timeless  

[edit] Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1968 Funny Girl Fanny Brice  
1969 Hello, Dolly! Dolly Levi  
1970 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Daisy Gamble / Melinda Tentrees  
1970 The Owl and the Pussycat Doris Wilgus/Wadsworth/Wellington/Waverly  
1972 What's Up, Doc? Judy Maxwell  
1972 Up the Sandbox Margaret Reynolds  
1973 The Way We Were Katie Morosky  
1974 For Pete's Sake (aka July Pork Bellies) Henrietta 'Henry' Robbins  
1975 Funny Lady Fanny Brice  
1976 A Star Is Born Esther Hoffman Also executive producer
1979 The Main Event Hillary Kramer Also producer
1981 All Night Long Cheryl Gibbons  
1983 Yentl Yentl/Anshel Also producer, director, and writer
1987 Nuts Claudia Draper Also producer
1991 The Prince of Tides Dr. Susan Lowenstein Also producer and director
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Rose Morgan Also producer and director
2004 Meet the Fockers Roz Focker  
Preceded by:
Katharine Hepburn
for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Academy Award for Best Actress
for Funny Girl
co-awardee with Katharine Hepburn
Succeeded by:
Maggie Smith
for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

[edit] Discography

See Barbra Streisand discography

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Recording Industry Association of America: Newsletter 1999
  2. ^ George Magazine: November, 1996
  3. ^ "Streisand to heckler: 'Shut the @#&% up'"
  4. ^ {]
  5. ^ 1983 Academy Awards Winners and History

[edit] External links

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