Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Barbra Streisand Through the Years: Broadway and Beyond

By Michael Feb 25, 2024

Barbra Streisand has captivated the stage, screen and world with her acclaimed career and one-of-a-kind vocals.

Streisand landed her big break at age 19 in 1962, scoring the role of Miss Marmelstein in I Can Get It for You Wholesale on Broadway. Two years later, she originated the role of Fanny Brice in the stage production of Funny Girl.

“I want to play with it, play with the music, you know, rephrase it depending on how I felt that night,” Streisand recalled to NPR‘s Terry Gross in November 2023 of her experience on the Funny Girl stage. “That’s what I think keeps a performance honest. You can’t just copy what you did from the night before. You know, it never works, I don’t think. I like actors who respect their reality at the moment.”

Streisand reprised her role of Fanny Brice in the 1968 film adaptation, which ultimately earned her an Academy Award trophy. She has since completed the “EGOT” mantle after earning a second Oscar, four Emmys, eight Grammys and one honorary Tony Award.

Keep scrolling to revisit Streisand’s life in photos:

I Can Get It for You Wholesale was Streisand’s first professional role and also marked her Broadway debut.
Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Streisand met Elliot Gould, who would become her first husband, in the I Can Get It for You Wholesale audition room when she was 19.
“I loved Elliott. He was familiar to me … from Brooklyn, down-to-earth. But I still wasn’t sure I was ready for marriage,” Streisand wrote in her My Name is Barbra memoir, which was published in 2023. “After all, I was only 21, and he was my first serious boyfriend. I didn’t want this marriage thing to become a big deal.”
They ultimately tied the knot in Las Vegas in 1963. Streisand and Gould divorced eight years later in 1971.
Later that year, she released her first records, The Barbra Streisand Album and The Second Barbra Streisand Album.
Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Less than one year after their nuptials, Streisand scored her next Broadway role as leading lady Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.
“I never think of the show in terms of being the ‘star’ of it. I think of it as a job to do,” she told The New York Times after opening night, where she received a standing ovation. “Well, yeah. That was kinda nice.”
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Streisand and Gould welcomed their only child together, son Jason. He has followed in his mom’s footsteps as a musician.
Fotos International/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Streisand reprised her Funny Girl role in its film adaptation, which earned her an Oscar statue for Best Actress. Later that year, Streisand starred as matchmaker Dolly Levi in the film adaptation of Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Streisand joined forces with Robert Redford for the romantic classic The Way We Were, which also spawned the iconic theme song of the same name
Columbia Pictures International/Courtesy of Getty Images
She starred in the second adaptation of A Star Is Born opposite Kris Kristofferson.
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Streisand made her directorial debut with Yentl, which marked the first time that a woman wrote, produced, directed and starred in a major studio film. Yentl won the Oscar for Best Score and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture — Musical. 
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Streisand was set up on a blind date with actor James Brolin in 1996, getting married two years later.
“I’ve seen my wife in concert 41 times since I met her,” Brolin gushed to Us Weekly in his “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” feature in June 2021.
Streisand made her triumphant return to acting in comedy sequel Meet the Fockers, playing Ben Stiller’s eccentric mother.
L. Cohen/WireImage
President Barack Obama presented Streisand with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“For six decades, Barbra Joan Streisand has used her extraordinary voice to bring life to the range and humor of the human experience,” Obama told reporters. “Her talent, authenticity and bold performances have left an indelible mark on American film, theater and music, inspiring generations of fans and performers. As a philanthropist and powerful advocate for women’s heart health, she encourages others to use their own voices to make a difference.”
While listing off Streisand’s accomplishments, Obama joked that he was “getting all verklempt’ just thinking about,” using the Yiddish term for overwhelmed. (Streisand, for her part, is Jewish, and the “verklempt” line was a nod to a popular running Saturday Night Live sketch “Coffee Tal,” on which Streisand eventually made a cameo.)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images
Streisand has long been an avid dog lover. After Coton de Tulear pup Samantha died in 2014, the actress cloned the canine twice.
“They have different personalities,” she told Variety. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.”
One of Streisand’s last public concerts took place in Chicago in August, where she sang a rendition of her No. 1 disco smash “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” with pop star Ariana Grande. (The late Donna Summer was Streisand’s original duet partner on the 1979 track.)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB
Streisand’s debut memoir, the 970-page My Name Is Barbra, was published in November, chronicling her relationships and career.
“For forty years, publishers have been asking me to write an autobiography. But I kept turning them down because I prefer to live in the present rather than dwell on the past,” she wrote in the prologue. “And the fact is, I’m scared that after six decades of people making up stories about me, I’m going to tell the truth, and nobody is going to believe it.”
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation
Streisand received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 Screen Actors Guild Awards in February.
“I didn’t like reality, I wanted to be in the movies even though I didn’t look like the other women on the screen. My mother said, ‘You better learn to type,’” Streisand said in her acceptance speech. “But, I didn’t listen and somehow, someway, thank you God, it all came true.”
In addition to sharing her love for film, Streisand used her moment on stage to advocate for equality.
“Now, I dream of a world where such prejudice is a thing of the past,” she added to widespread applause. “I’ve always believed in the power of the truth and I think really good actors rely on that.”
Brolin was pictured in the audience and adoringly watched his wife accept the prestigious trophy, which was presented by Jennifer Aniston and Bradley Cooper.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

By Michael

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