Barbra Streisand on her long-awaited memoir

Step into the basement of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu home and you’ll be transported to her own private mall—yes, a mall. One of the “shops” is Bee’s Doll Shop. It’s a poor girl’s fantasy brought to life, Streisand-style.

“I love to collect,” Streisand said. “I love antiques. [As a child] I didn’t have a doll, so I put hot water in a thermos, which felt like a real person.”

“Wow, Barbra,” King said. “I think you’ve done away with not having a doll when you were a child.”

barbra-streisand-antique-doll collection.jpg
Barbra Streisand introduces CBS News’ Gayle King to her antique doll collection.

CBS News

Further down the mall: her extraordinary life’s wardrobe of dresses she wore to meet President Kennedy and the Queen of England, along with clothes fit for a Second Hand Rose. “These are things I bought at the thrift store,” Streisand said. “Feel velvet. It was ten dollars! I feel right in something that had a life in it. In other words, something from the past that I felt like I was there once.”

In her new memoir, “My name is Barbra” (released Nov. 7 by Viking), Streisand takes us there, giving us a front-row seat to her extraordinary six-decade career as a singer, actor, and director, while talking about past loves and regrets along the way, setting the record straight .

When asked what she wanted readers to get out of the book, Streisand replied, “I want them to know the truth. I love the truth. One of the reasons I wrote the book is to talk about the myths about me.”



Praised for her incomparable voice, the singer is also known as a demanding perfectionist and she makes no apologies. In her memoir, she writes: “A man is powerful – a woman is pushy. … He shows leadership – she controls. …. If he acts, produces and directs, he is called a multi-talented link. She is called vain and selfish.”

“I don’t think of myself as a famous person, I just don’t,” Streisand said. “I’m the same Barbara Joan Streisand I was in high school.”

Growing up in Brooklyn, Streisand was a confident child and a good student: “But I had a D in behavior, because if they didn’t call me and I answered, I’d just punch it out!”

She says the death of her father, Emanuel, when she was just 15 months old, left a hole in her life: “I was angry that I didn’t have a father. I remember saying to my mother, why didn’t you ever tell me about my father?’ And she said, ‘I didn’t want you to miss him’.”

Streisand’s mother, Diana, a 34-year-old widow with two young children, is described in the book as cold and unsupportive.

“She didn’t seem very loving to you,” King said.

“Well, she didn’t believe it,” Streisand replied. “I said, ‘Mom, why don’t you ever hug me? Or say the words, I love you?’ And she said, ‘You know, my mom and dad, they never hugged me, but I knew they loved me.’ Now I said, ‘Well, I didn’t know that you loved me.”

Her talent would save her. “I knew I had a good voice when I was five,” she said. “We kids used to get together on the stoop and we’d harmonize and I was the girl without a father and a good voice.”

At 13, Streisand’s mother paid to make her first record. Before long, she met her longtime manager Marty Ehrlichman while singing at a Greenwich Village nightclub. “Marty found me at 19 at Bon Soir,” Streisand said, “and he wanted to get me a record deal. Columbia Records wants to sign me, but I said, ‘I don’t care what they pay me, I just have need creative control.’ Now he said to me, ‘Creative control? You are 19, you are nobody. You know, I don’t know if I can get it to you.’

King said, “Not too many 19-year-olds asking for creative control, by the way.”

“Probably not! But for me, they saw me on Bon Soir. They said, ‘She sings these cockamamie songs like Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf one minute the next is Sleeping bee. I was in the moment. I wanted to be an actress. I didn’t want to be a singer. I had to pay the rent, so I entered a talent contest and won, right? But I was able to use the techniques I learned in acting classes to make it interesting for me to sing a song.”

Take the slick standard “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Streisand slowed down and made it her own:

Happy Days Are Here Again (Live at the Bon Soir, Greenwich Village, NYC – November 5, 1962) by
Barbra Streisand – Topic on

As she writes in her book, it would lead to a memorable duet with Judy Garland on “The Judy Garland Show” in 1963.

Streisand said, “I fell in love with her. And her voice is spectacular. But when I sang with her, I noticed her fragility. And she held my hand through our duet. I wondered why she was nervous.”

JUDY GARLAND AND BARBRA STREISAND – Happy days are here again by
George John on

“Later we became friends. I remember she came to my apartment. And I thought, ‘Now I know what she’s afraid of.’ That’s what happens when you have a long career. It doesn’t easier; it gets harder. And you’re not afraid when you know, ‘You’re going to be famous, you’re not going to be famous.'”

King asked, “You’re not afraid today?”

“I’m not afraid today? Of course! I don’t want to sing in public anymore.”

The dangerous fame Streisand dreamed of came with a starring role on Broadway, playing the role of Fanny Brice. “Funny Girl,” she said, “meant the world to me. It was everything I imagined an act should be to me. To have serious relationships. To have comedy. To sing good songs.”

But as she writes, the success of “Funny Girl” came at a high price – she had a contract to fulfill: “Now I had to stand on stage and do the same thing every night for eighteen months. It was like a prison sentence for me.”

King asked, “But it’s hard to do the same thing over and over again? Singing the same songs over and over again?”

“God, yes,” Streisand said. “You’re just boring yourself. It’s very boring.”

“For the audience sitting there, for some of them it’s the first time they’ve seen it. So they’re not bored.”

“I’m not them!”

Actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand.

CBS News

And that was part of Streisand’s appeal: There had never been anyone quite like her, right down to her distinctive nose. She writes that for many years people had told her that she should “do something” about her nose or her teeth. “And I thought, ‘Why should I take my bump off? It makes me look more unique’.”

Her performance in the film version of “Funny Girl” won her an Oscar and launched her film career, played comedy in “What’s Up, Doc” and captured the magic of an opposites-attracts romance in “The Way We Were.” That film, along with a remake of “A Star Is Born,” cemented her box office status.

With “Yentl,” Streisand took on the first of three films that she would direct. “I love directing,” Streisand said, “because it’s a complete vision. … It calls upon every aspect of yourself: To decorate, to visualize, to help actors achieve a performance that I have in mind for them .”

After an early marriage to actor Elliott Gould, with whom she had a son, Jason, the cast of Streisand’s real-life romances included a politician (Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau), actors (Don Johnson, Ryan O’Neal) and even a tennis star (Andre Agassi) .

“Listen, I didn’t want to write about any of them,” Streisand said. But, “My editor said, ‘You have to leave some blood on the page!'”

King said, “I like to know that Barbra had a very nice dating list. I like that myself. Did you have a good time?”

“With the men in my life, yes.”

Streisand was in her 50s when she was paired with actor James Brolin at a dinner party. She had quite the opening line: “I walked past him, touched his hair and said, ‘Who the hell did your hair?’ Because it was the truth… What else could I say? Hi, my name is Barbra. I mean, what?”

King asked Brolin, “Some people might have been turned off by that kind of directness. You weren’t. That was attractive to you, wasn’t it?”

“A lot,” he replied. “It was instant. It was like a magic wand went, Bing. Oh, oh, you’re screwed.”

They have been married for 25 years.

James Brolin and Barbra Streisand.

CBS News

When asked what he thinks is the biggest misconception people have about Streisand, Brolin replied: “Well, there’s a lot of little girl in there. A lot. And so it was covered up with a lot of firmness about how she liked life . to be and how she would like things done.”

At 81, Barbra Streisand can look back on a good life and a legacy. When asked what makes her happy, she replied: “I love it when people write to me and they say, ‘I played you at my wedding.’ ‘That song helped me get through cancer.’ When I help people through my music or movies, that’s what makes me feel good, that I’ve earned my right to be born, you know I’ve earned my right to be here , and to reap the success that has been skimmed. me.”

To listen to the Barbra Streisand album “Evergreens – Celebrating Six Decades on Columbia Records”, click the embed below (free Spotify registration required to hear the tracks in full):

For more info:

Story produced by Reid Orvedahl. Editor: Lauren Barnello.

For more of Gayle King’s interview with Barbra Streisand, tune in to “CBS Mornings” on Monday, November 6.

click here to Mo Rocca’s account of how Barbra Streisand “became” Barbra

Also see:

Barbra Streisand, with a little help from her friends by
CBS Sunday morning on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *