A superstar performer of stage, television, films, and recordings, Barbra Streisand has been one of the few in American entertainment history with Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and Emmy awards. Born April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, NY, Streisand harbored show business ambitions from childhood. At 18, she won a talent contest at The Lion, a Greenwich Village club; 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 divorced in 1971.)
Streisand went on to gain huge popularity in supper club appearances and on various TV specials, particularly in an appearance with Judy Garland. 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 four years later in her big-screen debut, for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress. Meanwhile, CBS signed her to a multimillion-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 number-one 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 '80s saw Streisand begin to take a more active role 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 show business, with five Emmys and seven Grammys to her name by 1990, Streisand continued to ride high with a sold-out concert series in 1995. The following year, she directed The Mirror Has Two Faces, in which she starred with Jeff Bridges and Lauren Bacall. In 1998, she again made news with her marriage to actor James Brolin.