Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand in 1966, public domain
Barbra Streisand in 1966

What a career Barbra Streisand (born April 24, 1943) has had! She is the quintessential musical theater star. She performed in two Broadway productions (I Can Get It For You Wholesale and Funny Girl), 19 movies, and 17 television specials. She’s an actress, singer, and director, and one of very few EGOTs, having won four Emmys, ten Grammys, two Oscars (for Funny Girl, and for the song “Evergreen,” the first time a woman had won an Oscar as a songwriter), and one Tony (in 1970 for Star of the Decade). She achieved five number one hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and 11 albums topped the Billboard 200. And she has one of the most recognizable voices in the world.

Streisand first attracted a following in the early 1960s, performing in nightclubs and on Broadway. She made several television appearances, and a recording contract with Columbia Records soon followed, but on her own terms: she retained full artistic control in exchange for a lower pay rate.

Barbra Streisand in 2013, cropped
Barbra Streisand in 2013; photo by lifescript via Flickr, cropped and used under Creative Commons license

I was aware of her in the early 60s, because of radio and television. My mother was a huge fan, and we watched Streisand on TV whenever she was on. I’m sure we watched her first special, My Name is Barbra (April 28, 1965), and probably her second, Color Me Barbra (March 30, 1966), and many of the ones that came later.

Her first movie was Funny Girl:

This song was our first dance when Greg and I were married:

This was another huge hit for Streisand:

In 1983, Streisand’s movie Yentl was released. It was the first time a woman had written, produced, directed, and starred in a major studio motion picture. But she had to fight to get it made. It was turned down by every Hollywood studio at least once.

Billy Joel credits Streisand with giving him his big break:

And just to prove what a good sport she is, here she is doing Carpool Karaoke with James Corden:

Barbra Streisand’s 80th birthday is fast approaching. What an exceptional career she has had.

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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