Barbra Streisand Sets the Record Straight in First Memoir ‘My Name is Barbra’: “I Love Truth”

The name Barbra Streisand is synonymous with strength, perfectionism, unique talent, and—as with most celebrities with a six-decade-long career—countless myths. She was Joan Rivers’ murder victim in a 1950s off-Broadway lesbian play, she didn’t want to make the movie version of Funny Girl, and she’s a diva. In her first memoir, titled My Name is Barbra, Streisand sets the record straight concerning her vast mythology.

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“I want [people] to know the truth,” she told CBS Sunday Morning recently. “I love truth.” Streisand sat down with Sunday Morning’s Gayle King after a tour of her extensive Malibu home to discuss the new book and touch on her 60-year legacy. The two spoke about Streisand’s early childhood, her discovery at the Bon Soir nightclub, being the breakout star of Funny Girl, and her numerous romantic conquests.

“One of the reasons I wrote the book,” Streisand continued, “is to talk about the myths about me.” Streisand has star power and the celebrity that goes with it, but she made sure to clarify that she’s not a diva, and never has been.

“I don’t feel like a famous person,” she said. “I just don’t, I’m the same Barbra Joan Streisand as I was in high school.” Along with her incredible talent, it’s that naturally humble approach to celebrity that makes Streisand so beloved. Yes, she has a reputation as a staunch perfectionist, even a tyrant as a director on movie sets, but she wishes to maintain creative control of her work just as she did when she was signing her first record deal at 19.

On her origins into stardom, she reflected on first meeting her long-time manager “Marty [Erlichman] found me at 19 at the Bon Soir and he wanted to get me a record contract,” Streisand began, telling the story of her discovery. “Columbia Records will sign me but I said ‘I don’t care what they pay me, I just need creative control.’ [Marty] said to me, ‘Creative control? You’re 19, you’re nobody, I don’t know if I can get that for you.'”

Streisand never intended to be a singer but her incredible voice put her on the map and eventually led to her first acting gigs. “I was able to use the techniques I learned in acting classes to make it interesting for me to sing a song,” she said, which was undoubtedly what led to her having such a unique presence on stage and in films.

Barbra Streisand is telling her truth in the massive 992-page volume, but nearly 1,000 pages still don’t seem like enough to encapsulate the incredible life and career of one of the brightest stars. My Name is Barbra comes out on November 7 through Penguin Random House, and can be ordered from the website.

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/WireImage for BSB

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