Guest Author - Vance Rowe
It’s a good thing that Barbra Streisand did not listen to her mother when she was younger. Her mother had told her that she wasn’t pretty enough to be a performer. Barbra Streisand was born on this day April 24, 1945. She was born Barbara Joan Streisand in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y. and when she started performing she dropped the middle “a” from her first name so it would stand out.
Her father died when she was only fifteen months old so her mother raised her and her brother for a few years until the late 1940’s when she remarried while Barbra was away at summer camp. Barbra did not know about the marriage. Her half sister, Rosalind, was born in 1952 and Barbra didn’t even know her mother was pregnant. She graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1959 when she was just sixteen years old and was fourth in her class. She also met Neil Diamond there. Neil would go on to become a future collaborator with Streisand as well as a tremendous singer in his own right. While she was in high school, she would often go to New York City to study acting. A few months after graduating high school, Barbra moved to New York City and roomed in an apartment with Elliot Gould, a man she would marry three years later.
After a successful outing on a talent night at a local club, Barbra Streisand would become a cabaret singer. She was always insecure on the stage and learned to overcome that by studying drag queens that she had met and their flamboyant style. Her first major debut on the stage came on Broadway in the musical “I Can Get it For You Wholesale”. Her performance won her the New York Drama Critic’s Award and a Tony nomination. Her first album came out in 1963 when she signed with Columbia Records. “The Barbra Streisand Album” became a Top Ten gold album and she won two Grammy Awards, making her the youngest female at the time to achieve this.
These were just the beginning of the plethora of awards that she would go on to receive. Right now, Barbra Streisand is the highest selling female artist of all time. She is second behind Elvis Presley in the all time charts with 50 gold albums. She has sold more than 70 million records worldwide. Her list of honors and awards is seemingly endless and has received honors from all of the award institutions. She is currently the only artist to accomplish this feat. She has two Oscars, five Emmys, one Tony, ten Grammy awards, ten Golden Globes, a lifetime achievement award from the A.F.I., a Peabody Award and a Cable Ace Award.
Barbra Streisand has one son from her marriage with Elliot Gould and in 1998 she married for a second time to actor James Brolin. Barbra Streisand is a very accomplished actress, singer and performer and she is one of the most popular performers today and was even lampooned on an episode of the television show “South Park” as a giant mechanical dinosaur called Mecha-Streisand. She also made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live during a Mike Meyer’s skit called “Coffee Talk”. He plays a Jewish woman talk show host named Linda Richman in the skit. His guests were two other Jewish women played by Roseanne and Madonna. They were talking about their hero Barbra Streisand and they were all “verklempt” when Barbra walked onto the set. They did not know that she was going to be there. It was classic. There is a link at the bottom of the page to a video of the episode.