On October 1, 1962, Barbra Streisand landed her first record contract with Columbia Records. Ever since then, Streisand’s name has been synonymous with show business, winning multiple awards for her work, including 10 Grammys and two Academy Awards. In addition, she has also been a passionate advocate for women’s equality and health.
Streisand was born on October 24, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY. She spent her formative years fantasizing about a career in show business, while binging on as many TV shows and movies as possible. Streisand’s first public singing performance was at a school assembly when she was 13. After graduating from high school at 16, Streisand moved to the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City to become a Broadway actress.
Lacking the typical looks of a starlet, Streisand struggled to land acting roles. When she decided to start singing instead, her entertainment career kicked into high gear. Streisand’s first paid gig was in 1960 at the Bon Soir nightclub in New York City, opening for comedian Phyllis Diller. Two years later, she scored her first record deal at age 20. A year later, her debut album, “The Barbra Streisand Album,” was released. To date, she has sold more than 68.5 million albums in the U.S. and a total of 150 million albums worldwide. She is also the only recording artist to have charted a number one song for each decade from the 1960s to the 2010s.
By the late 1960s, Streisand ventured into film, winning an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her starring role in “Funny Girl.” When two key scenes from director Sydney Pollack’s film “The Way We Were” ended up on the cutting room floor, Streisand was determined to start directing her own movies. She explained in an interview, “I directed because I couldn’t be heard.”
After receiving her second Academy Award for her performance in “A Star is Born,” Streisand became the first woman to write, produce, direct, and star in a film, 1983’s “Yentl.” Her next turn as director/star was the 1991 hit, “The Prince of Tides.” With her successes in front of and behind the lens, she was now being heard.
Six decades later, Barbra Streisand continues to wow audiences with her music, while also unleashing her voice to champion women’s issues. She launched The Streisand Foundation in 1986 to promote women’s equality and she has generously contributed to help fight women’s heart disease.