The career of Barbra Streisand has been paved with bold, creative achievements and highlighted by a series of firsts.
"The Prince of Tides" was the first motion picture directed by its female star ever to receive a Best Director nomination from the Directors Guild of America as well as seven Academy Award nominations. Barbra Streisand produced the heralded drama in addition to directing and starring in it.
For her very first Broadway appearance in "I Can Get It For You Wholesale," she won the New York Drama Critics Award and received a Tony nomination.
For her very first record album, "The Barbra Streisand Album," she won two 1963 Grammy Awards. One of these was Album of the Year; and she was then the youngest artist to have received that award.
For her motion picture debut in "Funny Girl," she won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actress, the first of two Oscars. With "Yentl" in 1983, she became the first woman ever to produce, direct, write and star in a major motion picture.
She was honored with an Emmy Award and the distinguished Peabody Award for her first television special, "My Name Is Barbra," in 1965. The program earned a total of five Emmys. This achievement was repeated 30 years later by "Barbra Streisand: The Concert" with two additional Emmy awards for Ms. Streisand among the five for the production, and then again in 2001 for "Barbra Streisand: Timeless, Live in Concert".
She is the first female composer ever to win an Academy Award, this for her song, "Evergreen," the love theme from her 1976 hit film, "A Star Is Born." She was nominated again in 1997 as co-composer of "I Finally Found Someone," based on her love theme for her 1996 film as director/producer/star, "The Mirror Has Two Faces."
The "actress who sings," as Streisand once termed herself, has repeatedly been at the top of the record sales charts. Her recent Columbia Records albums, "A Love Like Ours" (1999), the double album, "Timeless - Live In Concert" (2000) and "The Movie Album" (2003) were quickly certified as gold and then platinum. Her prior "Higher Ground" (1997) and earlier "Back To Broadway" (1993) albums are among only a handful of recordings ever to become Number One on the sales charts in their initial week of release and to go platinum through their first shipping orders. The previous "The Broadway Album" (1985) similarly enjoyed great praise and sales, became #1 and brought her three Grammy nominations and her eighth Grammy for Best Pop Female Vocalist. The double-album "Barbra Streisand: The Concert" (1994) was another recent effort in her parade of hits. "Higher Ground" occasioned two additional Grammy nominations. "Timeless: Live In Concert" (2000), "Christmas Memories" (2001) and "The Movie Album" (2003), all earned a nomination too. At home in pop, show tunes, rock and ballads, she even made a classical album titled "Classical Barbra" (1976) which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the classical division. Of all her releases, 1980's "Guilty," Barbra's collaboration with Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees, achieved the greatest success worldwide, selling over 20 million units and spawning several smash hit singles. The pair teamed up again, 25 years later, to create "Guilty Pleasures". The album was certified Gold -- a month later.
The statistics of her achievements as a recording sales leader are clearly drawn in platinum and gold. She had achieved sales unequaled by any other female recording artist. With fifty gold albums, she is second in the all-time charts, ahead of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, exceeded only by Elvis. Thus, she is the only artist among the top four all-time gold record sellers who was not part of the rock & roll revolution which has dominated the record business for four decades. Her thirty platinum albums, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, exceeds all other female singers. That organization also noted that she is the only female artist ever to have achieved thirteen multi-platinum albums (including the soundtrack for her motion picture "A Star Is Born"), earning her eight Grammy Awards and Grammy's Lifetime Achievement and Legend Awards in the process.
She continues to be the highest-selling female recording artist ever and has had number one albums in each of the last four decades. Her number one albums span a period of nearly 35 years, the greatest longevity in that statistic for any solo recording artist. A recent poll by the Reuters news agency identified her as the favorite female singer of the 20th Century and Frank Sinatra as the favorite male singer.
Streisand's 57th album, "Christmas Memories," was released in October 2001. It's her first full-length studio album since 1999's "A Love Like Ours" and her first new recording since her 1999-2000 New Year's Eve millennium performances captured on "Timeless - Live In Concert." "Christmas Memories" is Streisand's first seasonal collection since "A Christmas Album," which has been certified quintuple- platinum by the RIAA and has re-entered the charts each year since its 1967 release. An album of inspirational music for all seasons, "Christmas Memories" is "lovingly dedicated" to Stephan Weiss, the husband of designer Donna Karan and a close friend of Streisand's, who passed away in June 2001.
Recipient in 1995 of an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis University, Barbra Streisand is a rare honoree, the only artist to earn Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, Peabody, and the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. The latter accolade, a tribute to her film work as director, performer, writer, producer and composer, was conferred in February 2001. She is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts' National Medal of Arts and has been honored by France as a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, and in 2004 she accepted The Humanitarian Award from the Human Rights Campaign.
Her most recent motion picture directorial effort, the TriStar Pictures release "The Mirror Has Two Faces," continued the tradition of each Streisand-directed film being accorded Academy Award nominations. The romantic comedy, her third triple effort as director/producer/star, received two Oscar nominations in 1997 and led to Lauren Bacall winning the Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress.
In 1995, Ms. Streisand added to her Emmy Awards, winning two more for her performance in and work as producer of "Barbra Streisand: The Concert." The HBO program earned a total of five Emmy Awards, matching the Emmy achievements of her first TV Special, the one-woman show "My Name Is Barbra," exactly thirty years before. Each of the shows won the coveted Peabody Award as well. "Serving In Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," the first television dramatic production for her Barwood Films, earned an additional three Emmy trophies, a total of eight Emmys for Ms. Streisand's company in the same year. Ms. Streisand's Barwood Films has followed "Serving in Silence" with a continuing slate of television dramas, each of which addresses important issues.
Ms. Streisand's Millennium New Year's Eve concert, "Timeless," at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, December 31, 1999, set an all-time Ticket Master record for one-day sales of a single event, virtually selling out in the first few hours of sale eight months before the performance. The New Year's concert was widely covered as one of the key events of the worldwide millennium celebration. One of the most talked about and well-reviewed concert productions of all time, "Timeless" was captured for a Valentine's Day 2001 television special, co-directed by its star, which won four Emmys including one for Streisand's performance. The home video/DVD was certified gold and platinum. Her two-night Madison Square Garden engagement in October 2000, and two preceding Los Angeles live appearances at Staple Center, were similarly record-setting successes.
Virtually every aspect of Barbra Streisand's 1994 concert tour was record setting. Those twenty-six appearances were her first paid concerts in nearly three decades, all intervening concerts since 1966 having been fund-raisers for various social or political causes. The tour initiated with the celebrated 1994 New Year's performances at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas and continued to set attendance and box-office records with immediate sellouts in London, Washington D.C., Southern California, Detroit, San Jose, and New York's Madison Square Garden. Over 5 million phone requests were recorded in the first hour when tickets for the first American leg of the tour went on sale. The tour also generated over $10.25 million for charities the artist supports, channeling money to significant causes in each locale. Reflecting Streisand's social concerns, over $3 million went to AIDS organizations, with other gifts addressing such urgencies as women and children in jeopardy, Jewish/Arab relations and agencies working to ameliorate relations between African-Americans and Jews.
"Barbra Streisand: The Concert," the critically lauded film version of the concerts became the highest rated musical event in HBO's history, as well as a quadruple-platinum home video and triple-platinum double album (exceptionally rare for a multi-disc set). In addition to its five Emmy Awards and Peabody Award, it earned three Cable Ace Awards. Six other home videos have been certified gold. . In 2004, "Barbra Streisand - Live at the MGM Grand" was released on DVD, and was quickly certified Platinum. In November 2005, 'Barbra Streisand- The Television Specials' were released in a five-DVD box set - they quickly went quintuple (5x) platinum, six weeks later.