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Barbra Streisand is the highest-selling female recording artist of all time, and has won awards and acclaim in every medium that she's worked in.
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Barbra Streisand was born on April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York. She didn't attend college; instead she moved to Manhattan and worked as a cabaret singer. Her Broadway debut led to a recording contract and a long series of gold records. Over her career she has mastered nearly every entertainment medium available and won numerous awards. Streisand is an ardent supporter of the Democratic Party.
"I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy and driven."
"What does it mean when people applaud? ... Should I give 'em money? Say thank you? Lift my dress? The lack of applause—that I can respond to."
"It is every woman's dream to be some man's dream woman."
"I knew that with a mouth like mine, I just had to be a star or something."
Born Barbra Joan Streisand on April 24, 1942 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 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. Her mother raised Barbra and her older brother, Sheldon, by working as a secretary in the New York City public school system. Her mother remarried in the late 1940s to Louis Kind, a used-car salesman, while Streisand was away at camp. Streisand was unaware of the second marriage, or that her mother was pregnant. Streisand's half-sister, Rosalind, was born in 1952.
Streisand has described her childhood as painful. She was shy as a child, and often felt rejected by other children because her looks were unusual. Additionally, she saw her stepfather as emotionally abusive. She also found no support from her mother, who thought her too unattractive to pursue her dreams of show business.
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 traveling to New York City to study acting. At the age of 15, she met Anita and Alan Miller at the Cherry Lane Theater 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. It was one of two she simultaneously attended. She graduated from Erasmus High in 1959 at the age of 16. She was fourth in her class.
Streisand never attended college. She moved to New York City in 1960 instead, months after graduating from high school. There, she shared several apartments with friends, including one with actor Elliot Gould, who she wed in 1963. They were married for eight years. Together the couple had one child, Jason.
While working office jobs and attending acting lessons, Streisand was encouraged to enter a talent night at a local club. She had never taken a singing lesson before. The evening was a resounding success, and she soon embarked on a career as a cabaret singer, dropping the middle "a" from her name so that it would stand out. Her vibrant soprano soon won Streisand a loyal audience at local clubs, such as the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel.
She claims that she learned how to cover her insecurity on stage by studying the flamboyance of the drag queens she met during this time. Still, Streisand is infamous for having avoided live performances for nearly three decades due to a debilitating bout of stage fright.
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