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Stage and screen star Barbra Streisand insists she’s ‘definitely not a diva’ | Radio-Canada

The Sunday magazine11:54 p.m.“I’m definitely not a diva”: Barbra Streisand wants to set the record straight

Barbra Streisand says despite her fame and success, she’s just like the rest of us. After all, she’s also trying to maintain her Wordle streak.

The pun is part of a nightly routine that includes solitaire, then backgammon – if she is still awake. But gin rummy, she says, is her favorite.

“Games free my mind, you know, from the calamities of the day, from what’s going on in the world,” Streisand said. The Sunday magazine Piya Chattopadhyay in an exclusive interview broadcast in Canada.

“Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to sleep.”

In the 970-page tome which constitutes his long-awaited memoir, My name is Barbra, The 81-year-old singer, actress and director talks about her early life in New York – including her difficult relationship with her mother – and the decades-long career that made her one of the world’s most successful artists. most famous of the 21st century, and the misconceptions about it that continue to swirl.

Speaking to Sunday Magazine’s Piya Chattopadhyay, Streisand says she’s more comfortable producing shows than performing in them. (Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

Throughout it all, she insists that she’s completely ordinary — a shy girl from Brooklyn who would rather lead a show than star in it.

“I have, you know, girlfriends with whom we discuss clothes together, and then others who are philosophical and we cry together,” she said.

“I’m an ordinary person. I happen to have a little talent for communication, for communicating with people. What can I tell you?”

I’m definitely not a diva. What is a diva anyway?-Barbra Streisand

A career spanning more than six decades

Streisand is one of the few celebrities whose career has made her an EGOT – that is, an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner – for her work in music, on stage and on screen.

Her career began at age 17 when she entered a singing competition at a local New York gay bar. She soon went to Broadway, playing the tenacious Fanny Brice in Funny girl.

By the ’70s, she was a certified Hollywood star, leading films like The way we were And A star is born. Eventually, she also focused her attention behind the camera, directing and starring in Yentlthe story of a young Ashkenazi Jewish girl in Poland who lives like a boy to receive an education.

Black and white photo.  Streisand sits, pointing, as photographers surround her.
Streisand surrounded by press photographers in 1966. In her memoir, Streisand remembers the first time she performed on stage: during a competition in a New York gay bar. Today, she is one of the few artists to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards. (Terry Fincher/Express/Getty Images)

Streisand’s memoir lasted for years. Publishers, she writes in the prologue, began asking for an autobiography 40 years ago. But she rejected them, saying she preferred to live in the present – ​​despite handwritten notes in pencil in 1999.

“I have never relived my life before. I never listen to my music. I don’t watch my films,” she told Chattopadhyay.

When asked why now, Streisand says it’s because she couldn’t make two films. After 10 years of writing – much of it from her bed, she recalls – she hopes the book will finally put an end to “negative” misconceptions about her.

“I’m definitely not a diva. What is a diva, anyway? A diva is an opera singer who may have an entourage following her, as I’ve seen in the films whenever they portray divas.”

“That’s just not me. I’m down to earth.”

Black and white photo.  Streisand, wearing a hat and fur coat, sits in a car with her son on her lap.
Streisand photographed with her son, Jason Gould, in the United Kingdom, 1969. (Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Jealous” mother

The memoir begins eight years after Streisand began life at a Jewish summer camp. She hated the place – it served “lousy” potatoes, she wrote – and when her mother, Diana Rosen Streisand, came to visit, young Streisand begged to be taken home.

What emerges is the complicated relationship she shared with her mother, starting with her father’s death.

In fact, my mother admitted that not only was she jealous of me after I became famous, but she was even jealous of me when I was a baby.-Barbra Streisand

Emmanuel Streisand died when the artist was only 15 months old. Her mother, she remembers, never spoke of him.

“I would have loved to know more about him,” Streisand said. “I said to him, ‘Why didn’t you ever tell me about him?’ And she said, ‘I didn’t want you to miss him.’ You know, to me it was illogical.”

Streisand also recounts what she describes as her mother’s jealous nature.

For her 80th birthday, Streisand received a painting that her mother had commissioned years earlier. It was accompanied by a letter written by her mother’s friend – “obviously a woman she had confided in”.

“My mom actually admitted that not only was she jealous of me after I became famous, but she was even jealous of me as a baby when my dad came home…and he didn’t want to “He didn’t even take off his coat until he wanted to hug me,” Streisand said.

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This letter ultimately gave Streisand a glimpse into her early months – a time she wished her mother herself had shared. But Streisand looks back on this relationship with compassion.

“I feel bad for her. As I say at the end of the book, she had a beautiful voice. My mother was talented, she had a pretty face, but she never wanted me to go into performing business,” Streisand said.

Courting the Prime Minister

Relationships are a common thread that ties Streisand’s life story together.

“For me, a happy life is having a family, a husband, children, my son, now my grandchildren. I mean, that’s my happiness: friends that I love and that they love me,” she said.

Streisand walks, holding Brolin's arm, at the White House
Streisand and her husband James Brolin attend a state dinner hosted by former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House in Washington, DC, January 11, 2011. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Among his thoughts is the short-lived romance, but lifelong friendship, with former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

The couple dated in the late 1960s after meeting at the premiere of Funny girl.

“Trudeau was very dapper, intelligent, intense… a sort of mix of Albert Einstein and Napoleon (only taller). And he was doing important work. I was dazzled,” she writes in the book.

In a chapter titled “The Prime Minister,” Streisand recalls her time with Trudeau—the nervousness she felt holding his hand for the first time and, later, a date they had at his favorite Chinese restaurant in New York.

Black and white photo.  Streisand and Pierre Trudeau walk through a crowd of people.
Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, right, attends Manitoba Night at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, with Streisand on January 28, 1970. The two dated briefly, but remained lifelong friends until the death of Trudeau in 2000. (Chuck Mitchell/The Canadian Press)

“He had a big smile and cheekbones that could have been carved from marble. And it was nice to be with a man who had his own light shining on him, so I could stay a little in the shadows “, she wrote.

But intimidated by the “intensity” of dating the leader of a country, she returned to Los Angeles, ending the relationship.

Bowing out

With her memoir finally published, Streisand says her time in the spotlight is also coming to an end, eager to spend time with family and friends.

She plans to continue her philanthropic work. A foundation in his name supports several civic and social organizations, notably those fighting climate change.

A woman stands on a podium
Streisand accepts and awards on stage at the 2019 Hollywood for Science Gala on February 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. Streisand has been politically outspoken throughout her career. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images/UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability)

“I feel bad for my children, my grandchildren, because I don’t know what this world will look like in 20 years. I’m afraid,” she said.

But for now, Streisand is ready to free himself from the demands of fame.

“I want to be free to do what I want to do every day until I can’t stand the boredom anymore,” she said.

“And maybe I’ll never be bored. Who knows.”

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