Vox Tablet

How Streisand Got Her Start

A new biography of the singer, performing in Brooklyn this week, tells how a penniless teen got her star born

October 11, 2012
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

This week, Barbra Streisand returns to Brooklyn for her first public performances in her native borough since moving away more than 50 years ago. News of her homecoming shows was announced in May—with tickets to performances tonight and Saturday selling out months before the $1 billion Barclays Center, where she’ll appear, even opened.

How did this happen? In 1960, Streisand was a 17-year-old kid from Flatbush trying to make it big in Manhattan. Four years later, she was the country’s top-selling female recording artist and was starring on Broadway as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. How she and her loyal associates transformed her into a beloved and critically acclaimed star is the subject of Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand, a new biography by William Mann. (Mann’s previous subjects include Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn.) Mann joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about how Streisand exaggerated her “kooky” persona—since traded in for a more poised demeanor, how she sassed Mike Wallace on national television, and how she capitalized on her nontraditional looks. [Running time: 23:05.]

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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