(note: this post is mostly excerped from biography section on Barbra Streisand's website
where you willl find a more extensive description of her six-decade long career).
Actress/singer/director/writer/composer/producer/designer/author/photographer/activist Barbra Streisand is the only artist ever to receive Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America, Golden Globe, National Medal of Arts and Peabody Awards and France’s Légion d’Honneur as well as the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is also the first female film director to receive the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented her with the highest civilian honor the United States bestows, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has recorded a total of 50 albums and has supported many causes and charities both personally and through her foundation.
She won Oscars for both Best Actress (Funny Girl) and Best Original Song (for her composition of “Evergreen” which has since become a standard.) She was also nominated for Best Actress for “The Way We Were.” The three films she directed received 14 Oscar nominations and 13 Golden Globe nominations. Her recordings have earned her 10 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement and Legend Awards.
Barbra is the only recording artist or group to achieve #1 albums in 6 consecutive decades. She has a total of 11 #1 albums. Her last two studio albums, the 2016 Grammy-nominated Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway and her Grammy-nominated 2014 Partners, entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1. She holds the record for the longest span of #1 albums in history – over 52 years.
The filmmaker/entertainer was born Barbara Joan Streisand on April 24th in Brooklyn to Diana and Emanuel Streisand. Her father, who passed away when Barbra was 15 months old, was a highly respected teacher and scholar. Streisand became known by others in the neighborhood for her voice. With the other kids she remembers sitting on the stoop in front of their apartment building and singing: "I was considered the girl on the block with the good voice." That talent became a way for her to gain attention. She would often practice her singing in the hallway of her apartment building which gave her voice an echoing quality.
An honor student at Brooklyn’s Erasmus High School in Flatbush, she joined the Freshman Chorus and Choral Club, where she sang with another choir member and classmate, Neil Diamond. Diamond recalls, "We were two poor kids in Brooklyn. We hung out in the front of Erasmus High and smoked cigarettes." The school was near an art-movie house, and he recalls that she was always aware of the films they were showing.
The teenage Streisand plunged, unassisted and without encouragement, ientered into show business by winning a singing contest at a small Manhattan club. She developed a devout and growing following at different clubs which began hiring her, and was soon attracting music industry attention at such night spots as the Bon Soir on 8th Street in Greenwich Village and the Blue Angel on East 55th Street (both closed).
During the summer of 1957, she got her first stage experience as a walk-on at the Playhouse in Malden Bridge, New York. That small part was followed by a role as the kid sister in Picnic and one as a vamp in Desk Set. In her second year, she took a night job at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village helping backstage. When she was a senior, she rehearsed for a small part in Driftwood, a play staged in a midtown attic space. Her co-star in Driftwood was Joan Rivers.
She graduated, aged 16, from Erasmus Hall in January 1959, and despite her mother's pleas that she stay out of show business, she set out trying to get roles on the New York City stage. After renting a small apartment on 48th street in the heart of the theater district, she accepted any job she could involving the stage, and at every opportunity, she "made the rounds" of the casting offices.
At age 20, Streisand signed a contract with Columbia Records in 1962, and her debut album quickly became the nation’s top-selling record by a female vocalist. Following her award-winning stage debut in the musical I Can Get It For You Wholesale, she was signed to play the great comedienne Fanny Brice in the Broadway musical Funny Girl. When the curtain came down at the Winter Garden Theatre on March 26, 1964, Streisand had become a certified superstar. Her distinctly original musical-comedy performance won her a second Tony award nomination.
She soon signed a 10-year contract with CBS Television to produce and star in TV specials. The contract gave her complete artistic control, an unheard of concession to an artist so young and new to the medium. The first special, My Name Is Barbra, earned 5 Emmy Awards, and the following 5 shows, including the memorable Color Me Barbra, earned the highest critical praise and audience ratings.
CHARITY AND FOUNDATION WORK
Her fall 2006 16-city tour was undertaken in large part to enable her to direct many millions of dollars to The Streisand Foundation to fund urgent efforts in three areas; environmental (with special emphasis on addressing global warming,) education and women’s health issues. Eleven million dollars from the US and Canada tour were distributed by The Streisand Foundation for charitable causes. The first million dollar donation from these funds was a contribution to the William Jefferson Clinton Climate Change initiative, the lead contribution to that cause, bringing to nearly $16,000,000 her charitable contributions from the tours. She contributed $10,000,000 and raised an additional $12,000,000 for the Women’s Heart Center at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. In recognition for her efforts the Center was renamed in her honor, The Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.
Honors reflecting the range of her involvement in charitable and social causes include the 1992 Commitment to Life Award from AIDS Project Los Angeles for her dedication to help people living with that disease, the ACLU Bill of Rights Award for her ongoing defense of constitutional rights and the Humanitarian Award from The Human Rights Campaign.
Ms. Streisand’s feelings about the rights and obligations of artists to participate in the political process were brought into sharp focus by her 1995 speech at Harvard University under the sponsorship of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The address won unprecedented reportage and reproduction in such print media as the New York Times and the Washington Post. It was carried a record number of times on C-SPAN and is included in Senator Robert Torricelli’s book, “In Our Words: The American Century,” a collection of important speeches of the 20th century.
Prior to the 1986 elections, she performed her first full-length concert in 20 years, raising money for the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee to disburse to liberal candidates. Taped on Sept. 6, 1986, before 500 invited guests at her California home, the concert was called Barbra Streisand: One Voice and aired on HBO on Dec. 27, 1986 to enormous acclaim. The money raised that night helped elect five Democratic Senators, which restored a Democratic majority in the Senate. Additionally, she headlined concerts which raised millions of dollars for each of the successful presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton.
To date, over $27 million has been channeled to charities through the Streisand Foundation, which continues to occupy much of the star’s energy and resources. A concert at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium, headlined by Ms. Streisand in support of the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign, raised over $5 million, the Democratic Party’s largest “hard money” intake ever. Her celebrated speech in support of the Gore candidacy later was played in substantial excerpts on several national television broadcasts. $6 million was brought to the presidential campaign of John Kerry by her 2004 performance at Los Angeles’ Disney Hall. She repeated her fund-raising effort on behalf of Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential candidacy.
Other grantees from the Streisand Foundation have included the Union of Concerned Scientists, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, and IAVA (International Academy of the Visual Arts).
On the personal side Barbra owned an apartment on Central Park West for many years, and spends a good amount of time at her home in Malibu, California. Streisand has been married twice. Her first husband was actor Elliott Gould, to whom she was married from 1963 until 1971. They had one child, Jason Gould, who appeared as her on-screen son in The Prince of Tides. In 1969 and 1970, Streisand dated Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and dated tennis champion Andre Agassi in the early 1990s. Her second husband is actor James Brolin, whom she married on July 1, 1998. While they have no children together, Brolin has two children from his first marriage, including actor Josh Brolin, and one child from his second marriage
(other source: wikipedia)