Cover image for Hello, gorgeous becoming Barbra Streisand
Hello, gorgeous becoming Barbra Streisand
Large print ed.
Publication Information:
Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, c2012.
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921 p. (large print) ; 24 cm.
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Book LP 921 STREISAND 1 1
Book LP 921 STREISAND 1 1

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In I960, she was a seventeen-year-old Brooklyn kid with plenty of talent but no connections or money. Four years later, Barbra Streisand was the top-selling female recording artist in America and the star of one of Broadway's biggest hits. Drawing on the private papers of Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse, and interviewing scores of the friends and lovers who knew Barbara before she became Barbra, William Mann recreates the vanished world of 1960s New York City and uncovers the truth of her formative years. The Streisand who emerges is a young woman who, for all her tough-skinned ambition, was surprisingly vulnerable in love. Book jacket.

Author Notes

William J. Mann is an American novelist, biographer, and Hollywood historian best known for his studies of Hollywood and the American film industry, especially his 2006 biography of Katharine Hepburn, Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn. Kate was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2006 by the New York Times. Mann was born in Connecticut and received his Master's degree at Wesleyan University. His first novel, The Men From the Boys, was published by Dutton in 1997. His other biographies include How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood, and 2014's New York Times bestseller: Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestselling biographer Mann (of Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor) chronicles the dazzling series of events as Streisand "gate-crashed her way to fame." Mann tightens the focus in this hefty volume to just the early, formative years of her career, choosing 1964 as his cutoff point. Beginning with her 1960 acting classes at age 17 and her friends then, he traces her journey as a performer. Boyfriend Barre Dennen steered her away from acting into singing, giving her an education on the great female vocalists and helping her develop a club act. After winning contests at a gay Greenwich Village club, she changed her name from Barbara to Barbra (to become "the only Barbra in the world"). Her nightclub performances "displayed the raw power of Piaf," and word spread. After her TV debut on The Tonight Show, she arrived on Broadway in 1962 in I Can Get It for You Wholesale, followed by Funny Girl two years later. The marketing of Streisand and the men in her life are key themes throughout. Combining extensive interviews (some anonymous) and exhaustive archival research, Mann balances intimate personal details with audience reactions and critical acclaim to etch an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman. 16-page and 8-page b&w photo inserts. Agent: Malaga Baldi, Baldi Agency. (Oct. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Before she was Barbra, she was Barbara, a homely Brooklyn kid who had an unshakable belief that she would be a star. What she didn't think was that fame would come through her singing voice. Streisand wanted to be an actress; she saw Shakespeare in her future, not Fanny Brice. Mann takes readers from the day Streisand took the train from Brooklyn to Manhattan and ends with her as the toast of Broadway. He seems to have gotten closer than most to some friends and coworkers of the early Streisand first love Barry Dennen, first husband Elliott Gould, manager Marty Erlichman and he's lucky that she left a paper trail of interviews. Mann seems to have combed through every one, looked at the old videos, and has even gone as far as to check Noel Coward's schedule for 1960 to prove he could not have seen Streisand sing at Bon Soir. Though some of this is well-trod ground, Streisand fans will come away feeling they've had a ringside seat at her early career, and they will leave the show applauding.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

BARBRA STREISAND'S story may be the most triumphant case of revenge in show business history. In the wake of the white-bread, conformist 1950s, Streisand was the ridiculed young misfit whose every move shrieked defiance. Singing in nightclubs and on television, she faced down audiences with her crossed eyes, beaklike nose and thriftstore costumes. Her voice - big, nasal, braying and edged with her native Brooklynese - was seldom pretty, but it was unmistakably hers, and it riveted the ear with its reckless intensity. Torch songs like "Cry Me a River" and "When the Sun Comes Out" became roller coasters of psychodrama, yet she never played the victim; one felt her ferociousness every time she lurched for a high note, then seized it as the ugh she had scaled the Matterhorn. To her fellow outcasts, from unattractive girls to gay men, Streisand, at 21, was a symbol of victory. By 1964, she had made the covers of Time and Life, and sung on TV with Judy Garland in what looked like a passing of the mantle. Streisand was the golden girl of Columbia Records and the toast of Broadway, in "Funny Girl." Two years before; people had called her a "kook"; lately they were proclaiming her beautiful. Her "Funny Girl" anthem, "Don't Rain on My Parade," is still the battle cry for an endless procession of star-struck girls; when they stand up in piano bars and yowl, "I'll march my band out,/ I'll beat my drum!" in Streisand's melismatic way, they can pretend that her peculiar success story is theirs, too. Dozens of books have wrung the Streisand myth dry, none with her cooperation (and all to her annoyance). But the fascination goes on. Now William J. Mann, the author of "Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn" and "How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood," along with several novels, has turned a microscope on Streisand's formative years. They start in 1960, when she was a teenage usherette and aspiring actress, and end with "Funny Girl." Her opening line in that show - "Hello, gorgeous," spoken to a mirror - gives this book its ironic title. Predictably, little of the fact and anecdote in Mann's 500 pages of text is new. But he has pored over previous books (particularly her youthful beau and mentor Barry Dennen's "My Life With Barbra") and hundreds of clippings, done a few dozen interviews, delved deeply into the supporting cast and locales, and written a novelized biography notable for its breadth of detail and fair-mindedness. Her early life is a writer's feast. It involves childhood tragedy (the death of her kindly father when Streisand was an infant), emotional neglect (from her mother, Diana, a frustrated singer who rarely gave her a warm word of approval) and outright abuse (by a stepfather who called her ugly). Erasmus Hall High School's "odd duck" pursued acting with a vengeance, but met mostly snubs. Singing was her second choice. In the cabarets of Manhattan, which embraced talented weirdos, Streisand found a home. Supportive friends, many of them gay, helped transform her into a Brooklyn Cinderella. Bob Schulenberg, an illustrator, did her makeup in the style of a '30s movie star, and suggested retro-glam clothes. Dennen, a fledgling actor-comic, went further, schooling her in the great singers and steering her toward several of her best-known songs. He urged her to enter a talent contest at the Lion, a local gay bar - she won - and groomed her for her debut at the Bon Soir, the fabled basement cabaret on West Eighth Street. Romance bloomed: Streisand moved into his Village apartment, where they conducted an unlikely love affair. Her nightclub appearances marked her as a comer, but the insults didn't end. The Broadway producer David Merrick initially deemed her "too ugly" for the small comic role of a Jewish secretary in the musical "I Can Get It for You Wholesale"; cast in it anyway, she stole the show. And when a starry creative team undertook a musical of the life of Fanny Brice - a self-confessed ugly duckling who had reached the heights - the lyricist, Bob Merrill, still though¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿ ¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿ ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿ Streisand too hard on the eyes. But as her stock rose in the months before the opening, the creators of "Funny Girl" minimized other actors' roles and heeded her every demand in order to make the show the Streisand tour de force it became. At his best, Mann vividly evokes the atmosphere of Streisand's New York. Entering the Bon Soir, he writes, seemed like "descending into a pit of darkness, for the only light flickering below came from a single shaded bulb over the cash register. . . . People in the club moved as if they were shadows." Personalities like the "Funny Girl" producer Ray Stark and the rising actor Elliott Gould - whom she wed in 1963, but quickly overshadowed - come colorfully to life. Sometimes, alas, the color is purple, as Mann strains to freshen up the old stories. His fly-on-the-wall (or in-the-air) descriptions can induce eye-rolls: "The sun was just beginning to rise over the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, sending ripples of pink and gold across the calm surface of the water. Barbra came skipping barefoot through the sand of Oak Street Beach, the morning sun reflecting off the majestic skyscrapers of downtown Chicago." In setting scenes and defining her moods, he employs more weather reports than any book except "The Old Farmer's Almanac." DISCUSSING Streisand's art, Mann effuses more than analyzes. Her voice was "absolutely exquisite," he writes; "when she held the notes," he reports, its "sheer power . . . inspired shivers." Arguably, however, readers of "Hello, Gorgeous" will already know her singing by heart, and won't need him to conjure it up for them. By opening night of "Funny Girl," Streisand's every dream had come true - and still she wasn't happy. Success had apparently left her more neurotic, mistrustful and hypersensitive to criticism than ever. Mann takes pains to explain why. Most revealing is something she said in 1964: "I'm not the underdog, the homely kid from Brooklyn they can root for anymore. I'm fair game." Her old mentors may have had trouble sympathizing. Determined to take credit for everything, she had purged them from her résumé and her life. Intimidation and control obsessed her; Mann's last three chapters are rife with examples. "If she didn't like 'the color of the rug,' " he writes, "she'd become 'affected,' and so the color had to be changed." Streisand gained a title that excused even her worst behavior: "perfectionist." Over time, she disowned the ruthless young striver of "Hello, Gorgeous," just as surely as Bette Midler tried to exorcise her own early identity: that of the breast-shaking vulgarian who became den mother to a herd of newly liberated gays at the Continental Baths. Now 70 and about to go on tour, Streisand has aged into a queenly figure who receives her fans' worship yet keeps them at a vast remove. Her onstage spontaneity is long gone, replaced by a wary carefulness. The Barbra legend, it seems, is a scary thing to live up to - making "Hello, Gorgeous" a cautionary tale about the high cost of getting what you wish for. Her fans know all about that. For her homecoming later this week - two concerts at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn - official ticket prices soar up to $650. Fifty years after enduring so much rejection on her way to the top, Streisand is still making them pay. Streisand's youth is a writer's feast. It involves childhood tragedy, emotional neglect and outright abuse. James Gavin is the author, most recently, of "Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne." He is working on a biography of Peggy Lee.

Kirkus Review

Hollywood chronicler Mann (How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood, 2010, etc.) divulges the blood, sweat and tears that propelled a diva's rise to stardom. Barbra Streisand is such a cultural institution that it sometimes seems as if she sprang fully grown from the head of the entertainment industry. Not so, argues the author in this surprisingly suspenseful and masterfully paced biography. Covering the fundamental years from 1960 to 1964, he shines the spotlight on an awkward yet ambitious teenage girl who aspired to play grand theatrical roles. To Streisand, singing came so easily that she didn't regard it as work, and she practically had to be pushed into appearing at Greenwich Village nightclubs. When a friend suggested that she approach singing a song as if acting a part in a play, however, she made a creative breakthrough that led to appearances on TV talk shows, a Broadway role in I Can Get It for You Wholesale and a recording contract at Columbia Records. Streisand didn't accomplish this alone, and Mann appropriately gives credit to the agents, accompanists, directors and mentors who brought her idiosyncratic style to a generation hungry for new idols. He also delves into her paradoxical mixture of self-confidence and -doubt, disclosing that she privately felt insecure about her looks despite publicly flaunting an outlandish flair for fashion and a loopy sense of humor. Mann structures the book by seasons, further dividing these into a series of vignettes that read like scenes from a novel peopled with extraordinary characters. Even though we know the answers to most of the questions--Will our heroine win the coveted role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl? Will she live happily ever after with her Prince Charming, Elliott Gould?--this book makes getting to them a treat.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Barbra Streisand: a name synonymous with musical talent and acting prowess. Yet before she achieved the status of cultural icon, Streisand was an insecure teenager who simply wanted her mother's hard-won approval. For his newest biography, Mann (Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn) focuses on this young Streisand and her initial journey to stardom. Tales of publicity stunts, long nights performing for raucous nightclub crowds, and relationships built and broken lead up to her landing the starring role in Funny Girl. Mann also reveals the complexities of creating and staging a musical. While Streisand did not contribute to this biography, many of her friends and colleagues did, and their contributions shed light on a driven young woman who did everything in her power to become a star. VERDICT A compelling, detailed look at the rise of the multitalented Streisand from 17-year-old unknown to chart-topping singer and Broadway star. Highly recommended for fans of Streisand, biographies, and theater.-Katie Lawrence, Chicago (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Why Streisand Now? Just five years after arriving in Manhattan as a seventeen-year-old kid without money or connections, Barbra Streisand was the top-selling female recording artist in America and the star of one of Broadway's biggest hits. Twenty-two years old, her face graced the covers of Time and Life . That was only the beginning of a career that has marched its band and beat its drum for half a century, but everything Streisand has accomplished in that time can be traced right back to this first half decade of her professional life. The young Barbra was like nothing the world of entertainment had ever seen. So fresh, so fearless, so unself-conscious--so bursting with desire--that today, even the lady herself seems to cower when confronted with the memory of that young upstart. If Streisand has ever been afraid of anything, I suspect that it might be the burden of living up to that sexy, vulnerable, sensational younger self who gate-crashed her way to fame during the turbulent 1960s, defying old definitions of talent, beauty, and success, harnessing an extraordinary confluence of talent, hard work, and shrewd salesmanship. In these all-important formative years, Streisand first learned how to dazzle, how to connect, and how to get what she wanted. It was also during these years that she learned--in that less comfortable and far less controllable world offstage--how to love, be loved, and lose love. These were the years that the budding Brooklyn teenager named Barbara Streisand would become both a personality and a person, a time when she got her first inkling of how much the artistic affirmation she craved--and the fame that came with it--would cost. This book charts Barbra's climb from her earliest days in Manhattan to her first major triumph, the Broadway musical Funny Girl . After that, her chronicle becomes a very different kind of story: a Cinderella tale after she's secured prince and palace. (Or at least the palace; princes, for Barbra, weren't so easy to come by.) My goal has been to understand this early, groundbreaking Barbra, the artist and the woman who, out of need and lack of nurture, transformed herself into a superstar the world loved or loathed, an ambivalence that seemed to mirror the feelings in her own head and heart. I've attempted to zoom in as closely as possible on this complicated young woman--not the constructed myth or icon--in order to document how this unlikely kid from Brooklyn turned herself, in just five years' time, into the biggest star on the planet. Much of it, of course, was due to her astonishing talent, and to a voice that pianist Glenn Gould called "one of the natural wonders of the age." Streisand came out of a time when talent still mattered, when the pursuit of greatness, not infamy, was rewarded--a world very different from ours, where Snooki and the Kardashians and drunken "real housewives" grab the lion's share of media attention. Still, for all her gifts, Streisand wasn't above merchandizing her fame, and during these first five years, she learned to do so expertly. She would cultivate an eccentric personality to go along with the mellifluous voice, knowing it would be the combination of the two that would keep audiences and interviewers coming back for more. Yet Streisand's vaunted ambition remains very different from the lust for notoriety that drives so many of today's celebrities. Barbra's determination to reach the big time was never simply an engine to accumulate fans or headlines or even dollars. From the start, she made it clear that she did not wish "to be a star having to sign autographs or being recognized and all that." Instead, there were much more human reasons. Barbra wanted to make it big so she could demonstrate she had talent and appeal to a father who had never known her, a mother who hadn't seemed to care, and a world that had thought she was too different to succeed. No surprise, then, that being acknowledged as good would never be enough; Barbra had to be great. And as for paying her dues, she showed little patience: "It was right to the top," she declared early on, "or nowhere at all." Of course, Streisand's rise has been told before. To say something new and valuable, to put her career into fresh perspective, I have tried to re-create the vanished world of her beginnings. Given my subject's refusal to speak with biographers, I knew I would need to uncover new, authoritative source materials on my own. Happily, I discovered that there were, in fact, several never-before-used collections that provided exactly the kind of detailed inside information I needed--material that, as I discovered, did not always jibe with the established canon of Streisand's early years. I can't say that I was surprised by this--the written historical record often serves as an important corrective to the faulty human memory--but I was nonetheless struck by how many oft-told tales and assumptions about Streisand's career turned out to be false. The personal papers of Jerome Robbins, for example, revealed that, contrary to what has always been written, Ray Stark wasn't opposed to Barbra's casting in Funny Girl; rather, he was her most ardent champion right from the start. Claims made by Garson Kanin that he had to persuade Stark to hire Streisand were latter-day self-embellishments (something Kanin was very good at ) because the Robbins papers clearly show that Barbra was on the project months before Kanin came on board. Likewise, the papers of Bob Fosse finally flesh out that director's rather shadowy involvement with the show. Streisand buffs might want to read my notes thoroughly, as I present evidence that debunks many of the famous myths about her career, such as the story of her being fired from a nightclub in Winnipeg. Also documented for the first time is the prodigious amount of backstage maneuvering and public-relations chicanery that propelled Streisand forward. Her ticket to the top was indisputably her voice, but her great good fortune was to choose a crackerjack team of managers, agents, and publicists who made sure that her voice got heard. This able corps of lieutenants, operating largely unseen and unsung, was led, almost from the start, by Marty Erlichman, second only to the lady herself in engineering her brilliant career. Erlichman understood that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Streisand's very difference--her unusual looks, her Jewishness, her offbeat manner--could assist her rise, not hinder it. He was able to argue that she was so uniquely talented that her huge fame was simply fated; all they had needed to do to make Barbra a star was wait "for her talent to speak for itself." As such, her celebrity wasn't "artificially created," Erlichman insisted, but something that simply "had to happen." Such a platitude, of course, obscures all the press releases, publicity gimmicks, and backstage deals that he and his efficient band of foot soldiers waged on their client's behalf, especially during these crucial first five years. Yet to acknowledge such clandestine efforts risks undercutting the image of a singularly talented star to whom the world has flocked instinctively and unbidden. Now, thanks to publicists and advocates finally sharing their accounts, another story emerges, and it is every bit as fascinating and compelling as the myths that have long been spun. Here is the chronicle of a girl--so green, so raw, such a diamond in the rough--carried along on a wave of masterful salesmanship to the attention of such influential figures in the world of theater and music as Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne, Harold Arlen, and Sammy Cahn, who then adopted her, anointed her, and presented her to the world. With such an entrance, Streisand's acclaim was instant and overwhelming. None of that diminishes Barbra's talent or star quality. If she hadn't been as sensational as her handlers said she was, she would have crashed and burned like so many before her had done. Nor, significantly, should it minimize Streisand's own role in making it all happen. Styne said she "carried her own spotlight." Certainly no one knew better than Barbra what worked best for her, and she had little time for false modesty. In fact, Streisand's very narcissism--a trait that has created a vocal minority of detractors--proved a key ingredient of her success, perhaps as essential as her ample talent and capable assistants. Greatness cannot be achieved, after all, without a corresponding belief in one's own greatness. That single-minded egoism left some people resentful, however, and others simply perplexed. Rosie O'Donnell, a fervent Streisand devotee, once pressed Barbra on whether she, too, had had idols in her youth. There was a long pause, in which Streisand seemed to struggle with the very concept. "I don't think so," she said at last. Of course not: It had always been just her. For all of Streisand's self-confidence, there was also the corresponding self-doubt. "That goes so deep," she admitted--right back to those days in Brooklyn when her mother withheld praise and the girls at Erasmus Hall High School turned up their considerably smaller noses at her. As much as she'd been determined to make it, when success came, it still seemed strange to her. Seeing her name in lights was hard to accept. "Barbra Streisand doesn't sound like a star," she told a reporter in 1963. Since that time, she has made "Barbra Streisand" synonymous with stardom, becoming the bar by which others measure their success. But fifty years earlier, she'd had her own hurdles. There had been Jewish stars before her--Lauren Bacall, Joan Collins, Piper Laurie, Judy Holliday--but none who seemed to announce it quite as forcefully as Streisand did when she walked into a room or onto a stage. There had been stars who had looked different, stars who hadn't fit conventional expectations of beauty or glamour, but none who had insisted they were beautiful--leading-lady material--as Streisand did. She was fortunate to emerge at a time when the old order was breaking down: Diahann Carroll and Chita Rivera were challenging the white-bread glamour handbook of Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day, and people such as Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, and Joan Rivers were introducing new voices into the American conversation. Streisand's times were, therefore, right for her--but she was also right for her times. Though the critics started out calling her ugly and strange, within five years she had transformed not only their opinion of her, but also their very concept of what was beautiful and what was talented. That was a lot to accomplish for a young woman barely out of her teens, especially one who had to be great and not merely good. Early on, Streisand learned she could only achieve her goals by taking charge herself; her first album, engineered and orchestrated by others, wasn't nearly as masterful as her second, on which she exerted more control. That word "control," however, had "negative implications," she argued; Streisand preferred to say that she took "artistic responsibility." Yet sometimes in her quest for the best, she seemed to overshoot and expect perfection, especially from herself. Part of the reason she didn't have pierced ears, she explained to Oprah Winfrey, was because "each ear is a different length, so how could you possibly put a hole in exactly the same place on different ears?" But she has always worn this insistence on precision as a badge of pride. "I really don't like being called a 'perfectionist' as if it's a crime," she has said. Certainly Arthur Laurents and Jerome Robbins, her earliest examples of auteurship, had been no shrinking violets when it came to taking control over their work. "What is so offensive about a woman doing the same thing?" Streisand has asked. Even her detractors concede she has a point on that score. Perhaps this accounts for Streisand's recent prominence on the scene. Suddenly she's everywhere: celebrated on Glee, collecting awards, invoked in pop-rap songs, top-lining a movie for the first time in sixteen years. I suspect that our renewed fondness, even adoration, of Streisand is evidence of a nostalgia for a time when striving for excellence was at least as important as making a buck, and when originality was prized over focus-grouped packaging. In the early 1960s, Streisand reset the cultural parameters when she walked onstage in Funny Girl and said "Hello, gorgeous" to herself in the mirror--a slender, unusual girl who wouldn't compromise on appearance, performance, or integrity. Fifty years later, she still matters, and for all the same reasons. All scenes and events described herein are based on primary sources: interviews, letters, production records, journals, and contemporary news and weather reports. Nothing has been created simply for dramatic sake. Anything within quotation marks comes from interviews or other sources; dialogue is used only when it originates directly from these sources. Attitudes, motivations, and feelings attributed to Streisand or others always come from descriptions given in interviews. Full citations are found in the notes. Excerpted from Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand by William J. Mann All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Why Streisand Nowp. 9
1 Winter 1960p. 19
2 Spring 1960p. 64
3 Summer 1960p. 95
4 Fall 1960p. 137
5 Winter-Spring 1961p. 170
6 Summer 1961p. 216
7 Fall 1961p. 249
8 Winter 1962p. 285
9 Spring 1962p. 341
10 Summer 1962p. 392
11 Fall 1962p. 435
12 Winter 1963p. 474
13 Spring 1963p. 517
14 Summer 1963p. 555
15 Fall 1963p. 614
16 Winter 1964p. 690
17 Spring 1964p. 754
Acknowledgmentsp. 801
Notesp. 809