"Funny, I don't feel like a legend." -- Barbra Streisand She is a one-name legend, a global icon, the ultimate diva. Yet most of what we know about Barbra Joan Streisand is the stuff of caricature: the Brooklyn girl made good, the ugly duckling who blossomed into a modern-day Nefertiti, the political dilettante driving to the barricades in her Rolls-Royce, the Oscar-winning actress and bona fide movie mogul, the greatest female singer who ever lived, a skinflint, a philanthropist, a connoisseur and a barbarian, the woman whose physical characteristics are instantly identifiable around the planet -- the tapered nails, those slightly crossed eyes, that nose, the voice. Even to the multitudes around the world who idolize her, Streisand remains aloof, unknowable, tantalizingly beyond reach. Until now. In the manner of his #l New York Times bestsellers The Day Diana Died and The Day John Died as well as Jack and Jackie, Jackie After Jack, An Affair to Remember, and Sweet Caroline, Christopher Andersen taps into important sources -- eyewitnesses to Streisand's remarkable life and career -- to paint a startling portrait of the artist . . . and the woman.
Jack, Jackie, Diana, Diana's boys, John Lennon, and George and Laura-Andersen would have to follow up his parade of subjects with an icon like Barbra Streisand. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 28, 2006
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Excerpt from Barbra by Christopher Andersen
"What?" Barbra Streisand blurted into the phone, her voice hovering somewhere between anguish and resignation. "So he'll be in China?" She had given concerts that raised millions for him and his party, despite paralyzing stage fright and her own abiding fear that someday she would be assassinated onstage. She had defended him against charges that now threatened to topple his presidency. She had not put up a fight when Hillary Clinton, furious that Streisand had been an overnight guest of her husband's at the White House while the First Lady was at her dying father's bedside in Arkansas, reportedly banned Barbra from staying at the Executive Mansion. And while speculation ran rampant about the true nature of her relationship with the President, Streisand gallantly held her tongue. She had even befriended his mother, and consoled him following her death from breast cancer in 1994.
After all Barbra had done for him -- and had been through with him -- Bill Clinton had no intention of altering the dates of his nine-day visit to China so that he could attend her wedding to James Brolin. Nor was there any point in postponing the ceremony in hopes of catching Clinton on his way back from China; the President was simply "unavailable."
It came as less of a surprise that Hillary, who had always been suspicious of Barbra's motives in cozying up to Bill, also turned down the invitation. As it happened, both the First Lady and First Daughter Chelsea Clinton would also be heading for China at the end of June 1998. There was one Clinton who would be attending Barbra's wedding: Bill's little brother Roger, a failed rocker who once did prison time for selling cocaine.
"She was disappointed, of course," said an Arkansas friend of the Clintons, "but I think she understood that there was no way Bill could postpone that trip to China, even for her." Barbra was not about to complain directly to the President. She had other ways of coping with disappointment; she took her frustrations out on the hired help -- and, whenever possible, on the press.