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How Streisand Got Her Start

A new biography of the singer, performing in Brooklyn this week, tells how a penniless teen got her star born

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This week, Barbra Streisand returns to Brooklyn for her first public performances in her native borough since moving away more than 50 years ago. News of her homecoming shows was announced in May—with tickets to performances tonight and Saturday selling out months before the $1 billion Barclays Center, where she’ll appear, even opened.

How did this happen? In 1960, Streisand was a 17-year-old kid from Flatbush trying to make it big in Manhattan. Four years later, she was the country’s top-selling female recording artist and was starring on Broadway as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. How she and her loyal associates transformed her into a beloved and critically acclaimed star is the subject of Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand, a new biography by William Mann. (Mann’s previous subjects include Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn.) Mann joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about how Streisand exaggerated her “kooky” persona—since traded in for a more poised demeanor, how she sassed Mike Wallace on national television, and how she capitalized on her nontraditional looks. [Running time: 23:05.] 

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I wonder if she includes the story of her stealing Harlan Ellison’s sets.

Ms. Streisand is fantastic. Her voice is still magnificent. Her style is great. She is one of this country’s best success stories. Stop looking for negatives because her positives so greatly outweigh them.

Beautiful voice, would have been nice to do more probing on the, abuse and apparently acute family pain that drove her. Narcissism apparently is a reaction to severe childhood abuse and loss of self with parents. These are intergenerational family problems what about her immediate and extended family. That’s where the real story lies, not in the manufactured PR.

What a voice — no doubt forged in the deepest pain.

    hazelgreen says:

    And thank-God that she found a way to channel her pain in a way that proved to be a pure sound of her spirit! I have never known her to be anything but a thriving and exquisite example of persistence and accomplishment–I am certain that she has dealt with her pain responsibly in a private and productive way. Respect her dignity(and yours,really) by affording her the privacy that (if what you’re saying is accurate) that was taken from her as a child. I speak from personal experience on the subject–she has given to the world a gorgeous expression of her joy and the love in her heart-ie. her music—-she DOES NOT OWE the WORLD to reveal her personal pain….SHE JUST DOES NOT— GET IT!!!

one8th says:

I recall seeing Barbara Streisand in one of her first TV appearances and hearing “that voice”. Hearing it again in this interview — brought the same chills down my spine! What amazing talent!


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How Streisand Got Her Start

A new biography of the singer, performing in Brooklyn this week, tells how a penniless teen got her star born

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