Barbra Streisand’s outsized personality, combined with her voice and acting talents, made her one of the most successful performers of the twentieth century. Streisand’s Jewish looks made it hard to break into show business, so she got her start in the underground gay bar scene, building up a following and her comic repertoire. She finally made her TV debut on the Jack Parr Show in 1961, won critical acclaim for her Broadway performance in I Can Get It for You Wholesale in 1963, and released her chart-topping first album in 1964. In 1968, she played fellow Jewish comedian Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. Throughout her career, she alternated between serious and comedic roles on screen as well as recording a number of successful albums, earning Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, a special Tony, and a Peabody among her many accolades. Her directorial debut was Yentl, based on an Isaac Bashevis Singer story, and she continued to direct and produce movies while maintaining her career as a performer. Through the Streisand Foundation, she funds charities ranging from gender equality and gay rights to environmental protection.
More on Barbra Streisand
- Encyclopedia Article: Barbra Streisand
- This Week in History: The "New York Times" reports on Barbra Streisand's Broadway debut
- This Week in History: A 22-year-old’s first TV special: "My Name is Barbra"
- Blog: "Only in America" poll results
- Blog: The "fury of the kooky, odd-looking girl"
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Barbra Streisand." (Viewed on June 4, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/streisand-barbra>.