Streisand talks acting, music, destiny after release of her memoir My Name is Barbra
NEW YORK, United States (AP) — Before she’s ready to talk about her memoir, Barbra Streisand needs to pull herself away from current events.
“I’m watching (expelled Rep) George Santos, and worrying about the world and democracy,” she says at the start of a telephone interview, when asked how’s she doing.
“I have to say,” she adds a moment later, “I guess I’m OK.”
There are reasons My Name is Barbra took as long to wrap up as even her most challenging film projects. For decades, she rarely had the kind of solitary time needed to settle down and write. And even with her film and concert career essentially over,the long-time liberal and political activist remains absorbed in the news no matter how distressing, from next year’s US presidential election to the war in the Middle East.
“I don’t enjoy performing anymore,” she says.
For Streisand, opening up about herself is an ongoing challenge. But, as she explains in her memoir, she felt an “obligation to the people truly interested” in her work, in the process behind her work “and perhaps the person behind the process.”
“I thought writing a book would be easier than making a movie, but boy, was I wrong,” she writes.
Published in early November, My Name is Barbra is a nearly 1,000-page memoir that covers one of the epic narratives in modern show business — her uncompromising rise from working class Brooklyn in the 1940s and 50s to global fame.
Streisand’s records have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and her honours range from multiple Emmys and Grammys to a lifetime achievement award from The American Film Institute to a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Streisand began writing down memories in the late 1990s — in longhand, because she couldn’t type. She agreed to a book deal with Viking in 2015, and notes that a manuscript she expected to finish in two years ended up taking a decade, a delay she was relieved to learn is not uncommon in publishing.
“I always wonder about that,” Streisand, 81, says during the interview. “Like, great authors, if it takes them a long time, how do they make a living?
In her memoir, Streisand shares vivid, detailed memories of her breakthrough Broadway and film role. She also looks back on her 8-year marriage to Elliott Gould, her affairs with Ryan O’Neal and Don Johnson, among others, and her enduring relationship with James Brolin, whom she married in 1998.
“Nothing’s impossible,” is how she begins the book’s epilogue.
My Name is Barbra reached the top five on the New York Times best-seller list and has received the kinds of reviews her films and albums inspired.
Looking back at her career, Streisand recalls a framed photo she had in her old home, before she moved to Malibu, California. It was of an interview she did at age 19.
“They asked me, ‘What do you want to be?’ It was like, ‘Well, I want to do lots of things. I want to act, sing.’ Oh, I even said I would like to direct an opera someday. Which I always thought I’d like to do. I never got around to that. Although it’s possible that’s something I could do.”