Barbra Streisand (1942-) is, quite simply, the best-selling female singer of all time.
She has had an astonishing thirty-one albums hit the Top Ten, nine of which went Number One, and is the only singer in history to have a Number One album in five consecutive decades, beginning with People in 1964 and, as of now, ending with Love Is The Answer in 2009. She has won two Academy Awards, ten Grammys, four Emmys, an honorary Tony and a Peabody, was the first woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Director, was a Kennedy Center Honors honoree and won AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
Streisand made her film debut as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, for which she split a Best Actress Oscar with Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter). She would later give noted performances in Hello, Dolly!, The Way We Were (opposite Robert Redford) and Yentl (which she also produced and directed).
Oh, yes, she's a director as well. Other directing credits include The Mirror Has Two Faces and The Prince Of Tides.
She has taken heat for the shape of her nose over the years (well, decades), most notably from New York Times critic John Simon, who has been waging a jihad on the singer's nose since the 1970s. To her credit, Ms. Streisand refused to undergo cosmetic surgery early in her career, though admittedly not out of a high moral principle; she once famously credited her unique voice to a deviated septum. "If I ever had my nose fixed, it would ruin my career." Barbra's nose was referenced on Glee, where Kurt uses it to talk Rachel (who is a fan of Streisand) out of getting a nose job.
She is also a noted political activist, and was very close friends with former President Bill Clinton (whom she introduced at his first inauguration) and his mother Virginia Dwyer, whom she called at least once a week from when they met to Dwyer's death. She is a famous (or infamous) supporter of liberal causes large and small and is noted for her strong stances on feminism and gay marriage, among other issues.
Although the population as a whole either loves her or despises her, she is a pop culture icon and one of the most important celebrities in the past fifty years of American history.
- Streisand Effect: Her attempt to block photos of her house from being released backfired so badly that it wound up naming this trope and providing the page image.
- Long Runner: She has been active since the 1960s.
- The Musical: One of her specialties.
- Signature Song: "Don't Rain on My Parade." Also, "The Way We Were" and "As If We Never Said Goodbye."
- Signature Style: She sings ballads with some mid-tempo, in a classic pop style with a heavy dash of New York accent. She plays characters who mix great ambition with great insecurity, who are willing to take great risks to get what they want. Material success comes to these characters more easily than interpersonal success (with others or themselves). It should also be mentioned that she does this very, very well.
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