Barbra Streisand’s career has been long and very successful, I think we can all agree on that.
Over the years, the 80-year-old Brooklyn native has shown her brilliance as an actor, producer, and singer. It’s resulted in her becoming the highest-selling female recording artist of all time, as well as winning some of the most honorable awards along the way.
While Streisand’s career quickly turned into a success story, so did her private life. Since 1998, she’s been married to second-husband James Brolin, and their love story is never-ending. Moreover, the two don’t have to worry about stepping on each other’s toes, as their house – or mansion – is enormous.
Here’s all you need to know about Barbra Streisand – and we’ll take a look inside her fantastic house while we’re at it.
Barbra Streisand was born on April 24, 1942, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to parents Diana Rosen and Emanuel Streisand. Her early childhood was struck by tragedy when her father died from complications of an epileptic seizure when Barbra was just 15 months old.
Streisand’s mother, Diana, would later re-marry. However, Barbra felt that the new man didn’t like her. As a young child, the now-praised singer and actress decided to go her own way – and it was clear that she had talent right from the start.
At six, Barbra realized she had a good voice. As she describes it, she was “known as the kid who had a good voice and no father.”
“I was kind of a wild child, like an animal, I could never sit still at a table – not that my family ever sat down and ate a meal together,” Barbra told Oprah.
“I used to stand over the stove and eat out of a pot. There was no mealtime. I have no idea when my brother and sister ate because I came in whenever I wanted. I also taught my mother how to smoke when I was 10.”
Suffice to say that Streisand had a tough childhood. Not only did her mother have problems making ends meet, but at school she was often rejected and taunted by other children.
Her mother thought that pursuing a career in show business was a bad idea as Barbra wasn’t attractive enough. Streisand, though, never gave up.
She sang in the school choir at Bais Yakov School, and while in high school, she met a future colleague of hers, Neil Diamond.
At age 15, Streisand’s life changed when she met Anita and Alan Miller. She had a job at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village, where she moved sets and painted scenery. Alan was an acting teacher. For a while, Barbra babysat their children, and in return, Alan gave her a scholarship to his acting school.
Streisand went to both schools simultaneously, and in 1959, graduated from Erasmus Hall High School. Many teenagers had their sights on continuing on to college – Barbra was not one of them.
Instead, she decided to move to New York City to pursue a career in acting. She had no plans for becoming a singer, but that soon changed.
Streisand moved to Manhattan from Brooklyn, and planned on living by herself. She took a job as a clerk at a business firm, and took acting and drama lessons by night.
“I used to hum and my boss would say, ‘Stop humming around here, what do you think you’re in, a show?’ Now when I see him, he asks me if I remember when he used to bawl me out for humming,” she told Seventeen Magazine in 1963.
“I went up to Rodgers and Hammerstein once to audition for the office manager. He got a big kick out of me. Whenever I’d come back they’d get someone at the piano, and I’d sing,” Streisand continued.
“I entered a talent contest about two or two and a half years ago that was sponsored by a club and someone who heard me took me over to the Bon Soir in Greenwich Village to audition for them. I sang there and then came The Blue Angel uptown.”
Suddenly, Barbra had become a person working in show business for real. She got gigs as a singer at clubs, embarking on what some would call a cabaret career.
Streisand had already forged a large fanbase when she got her big breakthrough. In 1962, she made her debut on Broadway, starring in the show I Can Get it For You Wholesale. It was a smash hit, winning Barbra a New York Drama Critics Award and even receiving a Tony nomination. She reportedly received a five-minute-long standing ovation after her first show.