Barbra Streisand: An Entertainment Icon and Love that Endures

Barbra Streisand has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, earning rare accolades such as the prestigious EGOT status – winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. From her beginnings performing in nightclubs and gracing Broadway stages in the 1960s, she seamlessly transitioned to film, where she won hearts and the Academy Award for Best Actress for her unforgettable portrayal of Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” in 1968. Her talent extended beyond acting, as she also earned a second Oscar for her music composition in the 1976 version of “A Star Is Born.” Even as she entered her 80s, Streisand continued to wield her creative prowess with unmatched brilliance.

Though her illustrious career often takes center stage, her love life has been no less captivating. During the 1960s, she was married to actor Elliot Gould, and their union brought forth a son, the talented actor Jason Gould, who shared the screen with his mother in “The Prince of Tides.”

Following her divorce from Gould in the early 1970s, Streisand embarked on several relationships, with notable names like Don Johnson, Richard Gere, and Andre Agassi. However, on July 1, 1998, she tied the knot with the man who would become her lifelong companion. Since then, Streisand and actor James Brolin have shared more than 24 years of marital bliss, showcasing that enduring love can indeed thrive in Hollywood. Together, they have built a wonderful life, and their relationship stands as a testament that true love can withstand the test of time.

Barbra Streisand (circa 1975), (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Barbra Streisand: A Journey from Brooklyn to Worldwide Fame

Barbara Joan Streisand, renowned by her professional name Barbra Streisand, was born on April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were Diana Ida, who once contemplated a career in music, and Emanuel Streisand, a high school teacher. Their love story began at the school where he taught, and she worked as a school secretary.

Tragically, Streisand’s father passed away when she was just a few months old, succumbing to an epileptic seizure. The loss had a profound impact on the family, leaving Streisand to grapple with the absence of a father figure, a void she keenly felt as she observed her classmates with their dads.

In 1950, Streisand’s mother married a man named Louis Kind, adding a half-sister named Roslyn Kind to the family, in addition to her older brother Sheldon.

Even as a child, Streisand harbored grand ambitions and dreams of becoming famous one day. While others might have embraced the bustling life of New York, she longed to break away from Brooklyn, seeking a place where she could carve a name for herself. Blessed with a beautiful voice, she was already known around the neighborhood as “the girl who could sing.”

Though today she is celebrated as a global talent, Streisand’s beginnings were humble. Her first public singing performance took place at a PTA assembly. As time passed, she continued to share her gift at weddings and summer camps, gradually honing her skills and aspiring to turn her passion into a professional career.

At the age of 13, Streisand, with the critical yet growing support of her mother, recorded a four-song demo tape showcasing her incredible singing talent. Despite her remarkable abilities as a vocalist, her heart was set on becoming an actress. The turning point came when she was just 14, attending her first Broadway play, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which ignited an unwavering passion for acting. From that moment on, Streisand delved headlong into the art, immersing herself in the study of stage actresses, plays, and acting theories.

Surprisingly, Streisand revealed in a 2003 NPR interview that she never really took formal singing lessons or learned how to read music properly. Her approach to singing was unconventional, as she shunned traditional lessons and focused on singing in a way that felt natural and genuine, akin to speaking. Despite briefly attempting a singing lesson in the past, she realized it wasn’t aligned with her unique style and opted to rely on her instinctive abilities.

During her time at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, Streisand not only excelled in her studies but also joined the school chorus, where she coincidentally shared the stage with fellow classmate Neil Diamond. In the years to come, both Streisand and Diamond would achieve fame and success, eventually collaborating on the song “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” released in 1978.

Endowed with intelligence and a determination to pursue show business wholeheartedly, Streisand graduated from high school at the early age of 16. Eager to launch her career, she wasted no time and embarked on auditions for roles across various stages in New York City.

Barbra Streisand, Elliott Gould (1965). (Bettman/Contributor/Getty images)

Living in the bustling heart of the city, Streisand took on various odd jobs to sustain herself while relentlessly pursuing her dreams. Although her heart was set on becoming an actress, an opportunity presented itself when she heard about auditions for choir singers in a production of “The Sound of Music.” Despite not landing the role, it motivated her to market herself as both a singer and actress. Streisand’s vocal prowess was apparent, possessing a mezzo-soprano range that showcased strength in her middle and higher registers.

To set herself apart, Streisand decided to modify her name for her professional career, dropping the second “a” and becoming Barbra Streisand. The change allowed her to maintain her unique identity without losing the essence of her given name, Barbara Joan.

In the 1960s, Streisand’s persistence finally started to bear fruit as she began securing roles. She successfully auditioned for a musical comedy titled “I Can Get It for You Wholesale,” where she portrayed the lead character’s secretary, played by then relatively unknown actor Elliott Gould. As fate would have it, Gould and Streisand fell in love behind the scenes, and they married in September 1963. They welcomed a child together before eventually parting ways and divorcing in 1971.


Emerging from hopeful star to bona fide celebrity, Barbra Streisand was rapidly making her mark in the entertainment world. With appearances on stage and television, and the professional release of her music, her star was on the rise. Streisand’s stellar performances garnered her a well-deserved reputation, and she cleverly capitalized on her name, titling her first two albums “The Barbra Streisand Album” and “The Second Barbra Streisand Album.”

A defining moment in her career came with her awe-inspiring portrayal of Fanny Brice in the acclaimed production of “Funny Girl.” Her rendition of the show-stopping “Don’t Rain on My Parade” wowed audiences and led to the play’s instant success. Streisand’s talent was widely recognized, earning her a Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. A few years later, she reprised the role in the film adaptation of “Funny Girl,” a move that further solidified her stardom, culminating in the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actress in 1968.

While Streisand’s talent was taken seriously by all, she also displayed her versatility and comedic flair in screwball comedies such as “The Main Event” and “For Pete’s Sake.” In 1976, she shone in “A Star is Born” and earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song, co-writing “Evergreen” with lyricist Paul Williams.

Her accomplishments extended beyond acting and singing; Streisand broke barriers by becoming the first woman to direct, produce, write, and star in a major motion picture. Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the first female composer to win an Academy Award and remains the sole recording artist to achieve No. 1 albums in six consecutive decades. Barbra Streisand’s boundless talents and trailblazing achievements continue to leave an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.

She also has proven to have even more tricks up her sleeve and used her abilities as an actress to move behind the scenes, rightfully sitting in the director’s chair. Streisand spoke with CBS News about her decision to work as a director on top of still working as a singer and actress.

She said:

“…When you’re just an actress people think you’re stepping out of line if you suggest something to do with the whole film. When you’re a director you’re expected to know the answers. You’re expected to tell people what to do.”

While she has led a very busy life, Streisand has also made time for her loved ones. In her personal life, Streisand has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Gould. Afterward, she dated former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1973, she began dating hairdresser and producer Jon Peters, who went on to become Streisand’s own manager and producer. However, the pair split during the making of the 1982 film “Yentl.” While the film was revolutionary in Streisand’s career, earning her more awards, it wasn’t as beneficial for her relationship with Peters. Fortunately, the two have remained friends.

Streisand went on to date actor Don Johnson for about one year, and they even recorded a duet together called “Till I Loved You.”

During the 1980s, Streisand also had brief relationships with Richard Gere and Clint Eastwood. It was clear that Streisand was putting her all into her relationships as she continued searching for the right one, but nothing worked out until she met the man she now calls her husband.

Undoubtedly, Streisand is an iconic legend, celebrated for her multitude of talents and unwavering dedication spanning several decades, which truly showcases her unstoppable spirit. While she has long been accustomed to the spotlight, Streisand has also candidly shared the story of her enduring marriage to actor and director James Brolin, a love that blossomed in their mid to late 50s.

James Brolin has made a name for himself through notable roles in TV series like “Marcus Welby, M.D.” (1969-1976) and “Hotel” (1983-1988), as well as films such as “Skyjacked” and “Westworld.” His exceptional work has earned him various accolades, including a star on the illustrious Hollywood Walk of Fame. With three marriages and three children, including actor Josh Brolin, James Brolin has had his share of life experiences.

Their enduring relationship might lead some to believe they have known each other since childhood. However, the truth is they were introduced on a blind date, as revealed by People magazine. Their first encounter wasn’t exactly the romantic scenario one might expect from Hollywood movies; it involved Streisand making playful remarks about Brolin’s hair.

Recalling their initial meeting, Streisand revealed, “We were set up as a blind date, and I was so shy that I came into the house and I went downstairs to be with the children and play with them until I had to sit down at the table.”

Despite the slightly unconventional start, an undeniable chemistry blossomed between them. Brolin openly admitted that he knew right away that Streisand was the one for him, while Streisand herself took a few days to realize her feelings for him. This initial spark marked the beginning of a love story that has stood the test of time.

When Brolin and Streisand first started dating, Brolin recalled that his friends initially discouraged him from marrying the singer. “I heard it over, that she’s a tough one,” he said on The Talk. Fortunately, he did not heed their warnings.

Nowadays, Streisand and Brolin are celebrating more than 24 years of marriage. The two tied the knot on July 1, 1998, after dating for two years. They had a small wedding ceremony full of their famous friends, including Tom HanksRita WilsonQuincy Jones and John Travolta.

According to People, Streisand sang two songs at the celebration, and Brolin gave a famous speech saying:

“I can’t tell you how lucky I am that this would happen to me so late in life. Every night is a new adventure. Sleeping is a waste of time. I can’t wait to see her again in the morning.”

There are many factors that play into their long, successful marriage. Neither celebrity has sacrificed their career or independence for the other. Brolin told HuffPost Live that he and Streisand both have their own money and try to maintain that independence, so things do not get complicated.

Streisand credits their successful relationship to “kindness,” as she told Extra. She believes this simple advice can help couples keep their own relationships flourishing. She said:

“The Dalai Lama says, ‘Give truth with compassion…’ I used to use truth as a weapon years ago, actually, ‘Well, you look fat ’cause you’re fat… I’m telling you the truth.’ Truth with compassion would say it a different way — I don’t think you can take each other for granted.”

Now, Streisand is 80 and Brolin is 82, and the pair are just as in love as they were when they first met.

What are your thoughts on the enduring love between Barbra Streisand and James Brolin? Are you also a fan of Streisand’s incredible talent? If so, do share your favorite film, play, or album of hers with us! Let’s hear your opinions and feel free to pass this message along to all the musical theater enthusiasts you know!

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