Barbra Streisand PhotoBORN: April 24, 1942, Brooklyn, NY

A superstar performer of stage, TV, films, and recordings, Barbra Streisand is one of the chosen few who can boast of having a Grammy, Oscar, Tony and Emmy to her name. Born April 24, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, Streisand harbored show business ambitions from childhood. In 1960, when she was 18, Streisand won a talent contest at The Lion, a Greenwich Village nightclub; she went on to gain some recognition on the nightclub circuit and appeared in an off-Broadway revue. In 1962 the singer made her Broadway debut in a supporting role in I Can Get It For You Wholesale; the musical wasn't very successful, but she stole the show with her singing and comedic skills, leading to a New York Critics Award and instant stardom. Streisand's role in the show also contained another perk; an introduction to co-star Elliott Gould, whom she married in 1963 (they were divorced in 1971).

Streisand went on to gain huge popularity in supper club appearances and on various television specials, particularly in a TV appearance with Judy Garland that gained the nation's attention. She won further popularity with her 1965 TV special, My Name is Barbra, and its follow-up, Color Me Barbra (1966). Streisand topped her own success in a stunning performance as the lead in the hit Broadway musical Funny Girl (1964); she repeated her portrayal of real-life entertainer Fanny Brice in the musical's film version (1968), her big screen debut, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar. Meanwhile, CBS signed her to a multi-million dollar recording contract and she starred in a number of elaborate TV specials. In 1970 she was presented with a special Tony award as Broadway's "Actress of the Decade." She went on to become a successful screen actress in an up-and-down career that included starring roles in musicals, comedies, and dramas. Some of her more notable work included 1970's The Owl and the Pussycat, Peter Bogdanovich's hugely successful What's Up, Doc? (1972), and The Way We Were (1973), in which she co-starred with Robert Redford and had her first #1 single with the film's title song. In 1976, Streisand won further acclaim with A Star is Born, for which she won a Best Song Oscar.

The 1980s saw Streisand begin to take a more active role in behind the camera as a producer and director. In 1983 she directed, co-wrote, and starred in Yentl, winning a Golden Globe for her directorial efforts. Her next big onscreen hit came with 1991's adaptation of Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides. Considered one of the most powerful and independent women in showbusiness, with five Emmys and seven Grammys to her name by 1990, Streisand continued to ride high with a sold-out concert series in 1995. In 1996, she directed The Mirror Has Two Faces, which she starred in with Jeff Bridges and Lauren Bacall. In 1998, she once again made news with her marriage to actor James Brolin; and in 1999 she released A Love Like Ours. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Movie Guide