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Streisand, Barbra


STREISAND, BARBRA (1942– ), U.S. singer and actress. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Streisand worked as a switchboard operator and theater usher until she won a singing contest at a Greenwich Village bar. After some appearances on television, she made her first Broadway success in the musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962). Streisand made a great hit in the Broadway show Funny Girl in 1964, playing the part of Fanny Brice, and won an Academy Award for her role in the film version in 1968. Her television show, My Name Is Barbra, received a Peabody Award and five Emmy Awards in 1965.

Her subsequent film roles include Hello, Dolly! (1969); On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970); The Owl and the Pussycat (1970); Up the Sandbox (1972); What's Up, Doc? (1972); The Way We Were (Oscar nomination for Best Actress, 1973); For Pete's Sake (1974); Funny Lady (a sequel to Funny Girl, 1975); A Star Is Born (produced, 1976. Oscar for Best Song, "Evergreen," making her the first female composer to win an Academy Award); The Main Event (produced, 1979); All Night Long (1981); Yentl (wrote, produced, and directed, 1983), based on a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer in which she played a yeshivah student in pre-War Poland; Nuts (produced, 1987); The Prince of Tides (produced and directed; Oscar nomination for Best Picture, 1991); The Mirror Has Two Faces (produced and directed; Oscar nomination for Best Song, "I Finally Found Someone," 1996); and Meet the Fockers (2004). She was the first woman to produce, direct, write, and star in a major motion picture (Yentl).

In 1979 Streisand established her own film production company, called Barwood Productions. In addition to serving as the vehicle for the films in which she starred, Barwood produced other films as well, such as the 1995 tv movie Serving in Silence, a film about the attitude toward homosexuality in the military; Rescuers: Stories of Courage, (1997–98), a series of six two-part dramas about non-Jews who heroically saved Jews in the Holocaust; and The Long Island Incident (1998) on the issue of gun control.

As a singer, Streisand's record albums achieved wide popularity. She went on to achieve legendary status in the American entertainment world, commanding huge sums for her rare live performances and earning several Grammy Awards. Through 2005 she recorded 60 albums, of which 49 were gold and 30 platinum; 18 of her albums achieved multi-platinum status in record sales, surpassing any other female singer. Streisand rates an all-time second in topping the charts, exceeded only by Elvis Presley. For her single recordings, she had nine gold and five platinum records.

Among her many awards and accolades, Streisand won two Academy Awards, ten Grammys, six Emmys, a Tony, two Peabody Awards, eleven Golden Globes, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.

Beyond the realm of arts and entertainment, Streisand established the Streisand Foundation in 1986. Contributing to a wide variety of causes and charitable organizations, the foundation's scope includes gaining women's equality; the protection of human rights and civil rights and liberties; the needs of children at risk in society; and the preservation of the environment.

Streisand was married to actor Elliot Gould from 1963 to 1971. She was married to actor James Brolin from 1998.


Time Magazine (April 10, 1964); Newsweek (Jan. 5, 1970). add. bibliography: R. Riese, Her Name Is Barbra (1994); N. Bly, Barbra Streisand: The Untold Story (1994); J. Spada. Streisand: Her Life (1995); B. Dennen, My Life with Barbra (1997); A. Edwards, Streisand: A Biography (1998); C. Nickens and K. Swenson, The Films of Barbra Streisand (2001).

[Lee Healey /

Jonathan Licht /

Rohan Saxena and

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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