Barbara Streisand was born on April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York to Diana Rosen and Emanuel Streisand. Streisand’s father was a high school English teacher who died from complications of an epileptic seizure when Barbra was only 15 months old. She is an American singer, actress, director and producer and one of the most successful personalities in show business.
Her mother raised Barbra and her older brother, Sheldon, by working as a secretary in the New York City public school system. As a child, Streisand attended Bais Yakov School, where she sang in the school choir.
Following elementary school, Streisand was a student at Erasmus Hall High School where she met future collaborator, Neil Diamond. Even before Barbra graduated from high school, she was travelling to New York City to study acting.
At the age of 15, she met Anita and Alan Miller at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village. Streisand negotiated a deal with the couple; she would babysit for their children in exchange for a scholarship to Alan’s acting school.
She is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with more than 71.5 million albums in the United States and 145 million records sold worldwide.
She is the best-selling female artist on the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) Top Selling Album Artists list, the only female recording artist in the top ten, and the only artist outside of the rock and roll genre. Streisand’s first television appearance was on The Tonight Show, then hosted by Jack Paar, in 1961, singing Harold Arlen’s “A Sleepin’ Bee”.
Orson Bean, who substituted for Paar that night, had seen the singer perform at a gay bar and booked her for the telecast. (Her older brother Sheldon paid NBC for a kinescope film so she could use it in 1961 to promote herself.
Beginning with My Name Is Barbra, her early albums were often medley-filled keepsakes of her television specials. Starting in 1969, she began attempting more contemporary material, but like many talented singers of the day, she found herself out of her element with rock.
In 1964 she continued to increase her fame due to a new original Broadway show, “Funny Girl” by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, a musical based upon the life of 30’s comedienne Fanny Brice; the show main song “People” became her first hit and Barbra appeared on Time magazine cover.
After many TV show appearances as guest star, like “The Judy Garland Show” (for which she was nominated for an 1963 Emmy), she signed an exclusive contract with CBS for a series of annual TV special: “My Name is Barbra” (1964, Emmy winner) and “Colour me Barbra” (1965, her first work in colour) were extremely successful.
In 1991, Barbra directed “The Prince of Tides”, probably the pinnacle of her screen career, playing the role of a psychiatrist who tries to help a man (Nick Nolte) in finding pieces of his past life: the motion pictures received 7 Oscar Nominations (but again NOT for Best Directing) and a nomination from Director Guilds of America.
Streisand has contributed to the show business industry in an a personal and unique way, collecting a large fan-base that embraces more generations: despite the immense powerful and recognizable vocal range, most of her funny, often self deprecating, humour, side by side her serious dramatic sensible performances and strong politics, Streisand originality shines in her constant and pure research for “Beauty”: a strong and romantic conception in which Love stands out as the main feeling to find in ourselves to be shared with others.