Happy Birthday

Barbra Streisand, Barbara Streisand
Chris Pizzello/AP

Happy Birthday, Barbra Streisand, Singer, Actor, Director and Producer

April 24, 2010
by findingDulcinea Staff
In an industry dominated by larger-than-life personalities, Barbra Streisand is quite capable of holding her own. For decades, a unique style, strong sense of self and an incredible vocal talent have made Barbra Streisand a force to be reckoned with. From her nights in New York City’s famed Lion Club to sold-out concerts worldwide, Streisand's talent has outshone any critique. 

Barbra Streisand’s Early Days

Barbra Streisand was born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 24, 1942. Tragedy struck early in her life: her father Emmanuel died of a cerebral hemorrhage just 15 months after her birth. Her mother Diana worked as a bookkeeper to support Barbra and her brother Sheldon.

After graduating from high school, Streisand moved to Manhattan in 1959 to follow her acting dreams. She developed a singing/theatrical routine that she debuted on the stage of the Lion Club, one of New York’s top gay clubs. Her wit, combined with her phenomenal voice, made her an instant star within the gay community.

Streisand’s Notable Accomplishments

The 19-year-old’s first big break came when she starred for nine months in the Broadway musical, “I Can Get It For You Wholesale.” In 1963, Streisand married her co-star from the show, Elliot Gould. Three years later, they had a son, Jason Emmanuel, but ended their marriage in 1971.

Streisand was a self-taught singer who never learned to read music. “I never approach singing as singing … I have to sing like I would speak,” she told NPR in 2003. Her first album, “The Barbra Streisand Album,” was produced by Columbia Records in 1963, and catapulted the singer into music royalty, winning two Grammys.

Streisand went on to prove herself as an actress with her 1968 Oscar-winning performance as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl.” Her next big hit came with Robert Redford in the timeless romance, “The Way We Were.” The title song of the film was Streisand’s first number one hit.

Her 1981 album “Memories,” which included the song “Memory” from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats,” went platinum, and Streisand’s 1985 recording of “The Broadway Album” won the singer a Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance. Listen, watch and read about Streisand’s four decades of entertaining on AOL Music.

During the 1990s, Streisand expanded her talents in the film industry, acting, directing and producing “The Prince of Tides” (1991) and “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (1996).

Throughout her career, Streisand has won numerous prestigious awards, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1992 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. She has recorded 50 gold albums, 30 platinum albums and 13 multi-platinum albums.

The Rest of The Story

Streisand married fellow actor James Brolin in 1998. She returned to live performances in 2006 when she kicked off her farewell tour, commanding a hefty sum from concertgoers.

Streisand released a new album in September 2009, “Love Is the Answer,” which became her ninth album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts. She promoted the album with a private concert at New York’s Village Vanguard for 100 of her biggest fans.

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