Congrats to our very own Barbra Streisand who recently became the recipient of one of the artistic world’s top honors. This time is wasn’t an Oscar or a Grammy, but America’s highest civilian honor. Last week, Barbara was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.
If you are known by the company you keep, she was in good company indeed, with such greats as Itzhak Perlman, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and James Taylor, to name a few. Legendary music maker Stephen Sondheim rounded out the group.
President Obama described his picks as “men and women who have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.”
Ms. Barbra is one of the top-selling recording artists of all time, winning accolades and acclaim in almost every field she’s worked in. Hailing from Brooklyn, she didn’t attend college, but instead moved to Manhattan and worked nights as a cabaret singer. It wasn’t long before this rare gem made her way to the neon lights of Broadway, and went on to numerous recording contracts and a series of awards.
She made her Broadway debut in “I Can Get It for You Wholesale” in 1962. By 1963, she released “The Barbra Streisand Album,” which became a Top Ten gold record and received two Grammy Awards, including the award for Album of the Year.
From there it was on to memorable performances in “Funny Girl,” “On a Clear Day You can See Forever” and “What’s Up, Doc?”
The 1970s ushered in film hits like “The Way We Were,” “A Star is Born” and “The Main Event.” In “Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy,” she made her directorial debut. The film received Golden Globe Awards for best director and producer. She is a generous supporter of various causes and a lifelong Democrat.
When she’s not putting in the hours, Barbra enjoys gardening, decorating and writing. She has been married to actor James Brolin since 1998. In her varied career, she has sold more than 70 million albums and is the only artist to have earned honors for all major award institutions, including two Oscars, one Tony, five Emmys, 10 Grammys and 10 Golden Globes. Also in her collection is one Cable Ace Award, the University of Georgia’s George Foster Peabody Award and the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also been a major donor to local cultural venues, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
From getting her first foot in the spotlight in “I Can Get It for You Wholesale” to “A Star is Born” and “Back to Broadway,” it’s an exceptional body of work for a skinny girl from Brooklyn who made it big.