Saturday, December 29, 2012

You don't need a Kindle to read the Marilyn Monroe eBook!

Many fans have asked me if they need a Kindle to download and read the eBook version of "Marilyn Monroe: Her Life in Pictures." Happily, you don't! You can download an app from Amazon that allows you to download it to a PC, Mac, iPad, or any other device. Here's the link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=dig_arl_box?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

And here's the link to the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Marilyn-Monroe-Life-Pictures-ebook/dp/B00AR5H1U0/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1356809254&sr=1-6&keywords=marilyn+monroe

It's revised and updated, and has two new color portraits!

Friday, December 28, 2012

BARBRA INTERVIEWED BY PIERS MORGAN


On December 23, 25, and 27, Piers Morgan's interview with Barbra Streisand aired on CNN. It was a fascinating hour, one of the more interesting conversations she's had with a journalist. I hadn't watched Morgan's show much before, and I was surprised by how intimate some of the questions were, and how openly Barbra answered them.
     Her hair reminiscent of "The Owl and the Pussycat" and her high-collar-and-tie outfit reminding Morgan of the suit Anshel wears in "Yentl,"Barbra was more relaxed than usual during press grillings--gone were the squinty-eyed, distrustful glares she often gives her interviewers. The fact that, as Morgan pointed out, they had been in e-mail contact for months (arguing politics) and had dinner at least once, probably eased Barbra's innate concerns about an inquisitor's intentions. She seemed to genuinely like Piers Morgan.
     He asked her how many time she had been in love. She pondered the question for a long time, then answered, "Five or six."
Morgan's question, "Would they mean anything to the public?" got lost as Barbra said something else, and she never answered the question. One has to assume her loves include Elliot Gould, Jon Peters and Jim Brolin. Who were the others? An early boyfriend, or Barry Dennen, or one of her string of beaux she has called "flings?" Perhaps someday we will know
     She spoke of her mother, saying they had reconciled before her death. She told a touching story of being unrecognized by her mother when Mrs. Kind was suffering from Alzheimers. She sang her a melody that her mother had sung as a girl and Diana responded to that.
     It was fascinating to watch Barbra watch film clips of herself. Invariably she would make a derogatory remark: "What am I wearing?!" as she watched a clip from the "Funny Girl to Funny Lady" special, or "Look at that beehive!" (I'm paraphrasing) and "That was before I learned what my good side is" when watching a clip from one of her earliest TV appearances. She admitted that she's very critical of herself whenever she watches herself on film
     She said she still hopes to reunite with Robert Redford on screen, and that if she could only do one thing for the rest of her life, it would be to direct.
     She told a great story about taking a road trip to the desert with Marlon Brando around 1973. He wanted to spend the night at a hotel (and share a bed), but "I was a nice Jewish Girl" and she insisted they return to L.A. She told the story about Marlon calling her up and asking her to sing, and said that they often talked for hours on the telephone.
     Piers went to a break saying he would ask Barbra if she had had any "guilt trips" in her life when they came back. He never did ask the question. Too bad, because the answer would I'm sure have been fascinating.
     He asked her why she had worked so hard to be a success. "I want to be remembered--'You existed, you were here'," she replied. 
(That mission has certainly been accomplished.)
     Throughout the interview, Morgan made it clear that he's a huge Barbra fan, and as he wrapped up the show, he said he had wanted to interview her for 47 years. "Forty seven years?!" Barbra exclaimed. "Since I was born," Piers said
     "You don't have to exaggerate!" Barbra replied with exasperation."Just tell the truth!"
.
 
     

 
     


.
.
 


Friday, December 21, 2012

MONROE:HER LIFE IN PICTURES NOW AN EBOOK!

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it! Finally my Marilyn Monroe pictorial biography is available as an eBook! I've revised and updated the text a bit, and there are 3 additional color portraits. You can download the book to your Mac, PC, Kindle, Nook, cell phone, iPad, whatever. (Amazon has a free app that will allow that.)

This was the first (and is still the only) book to tell Marilyn's full life story entirely in photographs (from George Zeno's fabled collection) and extended, anecdotal captions.

Here's the preface to the book:


 She starred in just eleven films over ten years, not a prodigious output of product compared to that of many other screen greats. But her films were just one part of the Marilyn Monroe mystique; she was a total celebrity, one in whom the public’s interest did not flag despite often lengthy periods between films.
Her rise to fame in the early 1950s was a cultural phenomenon; barely a day passed when one of the New York newspapers wasn’t featuring a Monroe photo, article, gossip column item, or all three. The public found her fascinating: she was a beautiful, successful woman who had spent an abysmal childhood dreaming of stardom; she played dumb blondes, yet was famous for her fast witticisms; she was in many ways vulnerable and na├»ve, yet had a streak of independence and ambition that would surprise many who tried to take easy advantage of her.
Her sexuality was often blatant, yet always there was a childlike innocence about her, a suggestion of the little girl dressed in her mother’s clothes and play-acting allure. The playfulness she brought to sex made her carnality at once more stimulating to men and less threatening to women.
She would become, however, Hollywood’s ultimate victim, a sensitive, insecure, frightened woman who believed her looks and sexuality were her only key to happiness. Once worldwide fame and adulation had come to her, she realized they were only a partial fulfillment. But by then it was too late to achieve happiness anywhere else—Marilyn Monroe was public property. Her enormous fame destroyed one of her marriages, and the neuroticism that her fame created in her destroyed the other. She was unable to accept happiness from one man, and the love of the masses was merely an empty, temporary tonic.

It has been said of Monroe that her one lasting love affair was with the camera. If that is so, the lens was certainly an ardent paramour. She may have been the most photographed woman of all time; cameramen were present to record her most personal tragedies as well as her most glorious triumphs.
This book might well be considered the history of Marilyn Monroe’s love affair with the camera. Although dozens of books have been published about her, none has ever attempted to tell the entire story purely through photographs. In doing so, one inevitably recaptures an era as well as a woman. For Monroe was both a perfect reflection of her time and, in many ways, ahead of it.
This book is, by necessity, primarily about the public Marilyn. There is no shortage of recent books purporting to reveal the most intimate details of the private woman. An interest sparked by this book can be more than satisfied by a visit to the nearest library. But it is valuable, I think, to take a look back at how Marilyn Monroe made her mark on the world’s consciousness, and to recreate the tumultuous excitement her existence generated over the more than ten years that she was a celebrity.
For those who lived through it, I hope this book will revive pleasant memories. For those too young to have experienced Marilyn’s life, I think the following pages will at least partially explain why, fifty years after her death, she still fascinates. As for me, it is completely gratifying that the thirteen-year-old president of the Marilyn Monroe Memorial Fan Club can grow up to do a book on his dream girl. That there is still enough interest in Marilyn in 2012 to make a book like this feasible is the ultimate indication of the extraordinary Monroe magic.

James Spada
Los Angeles, California
December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GO SEE 'THE GUILT TRIP'--IT'S GREAT!





I have three words for The Guilt Trip: I loved it! And I have four more for the reviewers who have panned it: What are you, nuts? Some of you might think because I’m a Barbra fan that I love everything she does, but that’s not true. I didn’t much like For Pete’s Sake or Funny Lady or Little Fockers. But I did very much enjoy this new film, costarring Seth Rogen as an inventor trying to sell his all-natural cleaning product who invites his yenta of a mother along on a cross-country road trip.
            Some critics have claimed that it’s not funny. But I, my companion and everyone else at the showing I attended laughed loudly at the jokes and situations. Barbra and Seth have great comic chemistry--Seth the droll, long-suffering son, Barbra the mother who’s a locomotive of maternal love and advice. The partscould well have been written to best utilize both actors’ strengths. It’s no wonder that director Anne Flectcher said she would not have made the film of Dan Fogelman’s script if either star had turned the project down.
            Those who are looking for Judd Apatow-style hilarity will be disappointed, but without that expectation the movie is a lot of fun, and so is Barbra. This is the most natural performance she’s ever given; one totally believes her as a Jewish mom from New Jersey who collects frog artifacts and listens to the novel Middlesex in her car. One has only to see the great diva in concert, then this film, to realize how good an actress Streisand really is. But even while playing a mensch she commands the screen with her mere presence. Seth is a laid back dude, and Barbra is a bundle of talkative energy, but they come out even on screen, which is a testament to both of them.
            I have a suspicion that The Guilt Trip will prove to be critic-proof, that word-of-mouth will propel it to box-office success. I hope so, because it’s definitely worthy of an audience’s time.

Monday, December 17, 2012

'GUILT TRIP' OPENS IN 2 DAYS!!



On December 19, 2012 Paramount Studios will release Barbra's nineteenth film, The Guilt Trip, costarring Seth Rogen. Early audience reactions at previews suggest that the film will be a big Christmas hit. I'll be a fun movie for anyone who's had a mother! lol.
Here's an excerpt from the section on the film in Streisand: Her Life, 2012, my new eBook:
 
 The story concerns Andy Brewster (Rogen) who is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime. He starts his adventure with a quick visit to his mom Joyce (Streisand), who uses all her Jewish mother wiles to persuade him to bring her along for the ride. Across three thousand miles he is driven to distraction by her antics, but over time he comes to realize that they have more in common than he thought.
    The screenwriter Dan Fogelman told The Jewish Journal that the movie is “completely about my mom.” Fogelman's mother, also named Joyce, died at age sixty several years ago. “I took a cross-country road trip with my mother four years ago, before she got sick, as research for a film I wanted to do about a mother and son going on [such a] trip together,” Fogelman said. “We drove from New Jersey to Vegas, so it was basically being locked in a car with your mom for two weeks.
    “The autobiographical parts of the movie are two-fold: One, the character Barbra plays—not her story, but her character type—is very much based on my mom. She collects frogs almost religiously (my mom had always collected frogs); she’s obsessive about drinking six bottles of water a day and about Weight Watchers; and she’s got a group of yenta friends that she relies on heavily—that kind of stuff. And then the road trip itself is very much modeled after things that happened to my mom and I on the road. Like, we didn’t think that it would snow in Tennessee, but it did and we got stuck in a blizzard.
    “The movie’s theme is basically when you discover that your parent isn’t just a parent but is actually a human being who had a life before you, and the same goes for a mother or a father. It’s the point in their lives when they realize their child is actually a grownup and they have got to let go a little bit. My mom and I were exceptionally close and I really, really dug her. But I couldn’t necessarily start in that place at the beginning of the movie, or the characters would have nowhere to go. So creative liberties were taken with the relationships, as in any movie.”
    Originally titled My Mother's Curse,” the movie was filmed in Los Angeles and Las Vegas between May 2 and July 14, 2011. Paramount originally planned to release the film, directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) around Mother's Day of 2012, but after seeing the finished product and getting highly favorable screening reactions, they moved it back, first to November and then to the Christmas season, which is usually reserved for pictures that are expected to do very well at the box-office.
     Anne Fletcher pursued Streisand for a year before she agreed to play Joyce. “Barbra has a very full life,” Fletcher explained. “But I didn't want to do this with anyone else. Not only did I need her as a director, but her fans needed to see her in something like this.”
    Fletcher told Barbra,  “There isn't going to be a magic lens for you.'”  Explaining, she said, “She is breathtakingly beautiful with a gorgeous body. But she had to wear schleppy mom clothes. Moms of this generation still style their hair and wear makeup, but they want comfort. We had to erase Barbra out of it.”
    Despite this, photographs from the movie show Barbra actually looking quite lovely. The poster, with the great tag line “Get ready for the Mother of all road trips,” shows Barbra in profile, and she looks forty.
    “Barbra was one of the reasons I was interested,” Rogen said. “If she wasn't in it, I probably wouldn't have done it with someone else. She is going to kill me for saying this, but when you meet her, she acts like a lot of Jewish mothers. I think she is the blueprint for every Jewish mother I've met over the last 30 years.”




     Here's the link to the book on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Streisand-Her-Life-2012-ebook/dp/B00A8SDGL4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354065571&sr=1-1&keywords=streisand%3A+Her+life
 
  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

HOW SEXY WAS GRACE KELLY? VERY!

Grace Kelly had a reputation as the girl in the white gloves. an innocent who was chaperoned on her dates by her older sister. The truth was somewhat different. Before she got to Hollywood, she studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and there she fell in love with one of her instructers.
     The instructor was twenty-seven-year-old Don Richardson, a married man separated from his wife, who has since directed hundreds of theater and television shows and now teaches acting at the University of California at Los Angeles. He had never met Grace before, and he found himself drawn to the teenage girl. “I was amazed to realize that without knowing her at all I felt immediately protective ... I found myself treating her as tenderly as a child.”
     Richardson offered to walk Grace back to the Barbizon, but when they got there, she was reluctant to say good-night. Richardson asked her if she would like to come over to his apartment. “She said yes,” Richardson recalls, “and we went over to my place. I started a fire, and within forty minutes we were in bed together. It was an amazing sight, seeing a girl as beautiful as Grace lying naked in my bed, bathed in the light from the fireplace. I thought to myself, ‘Boy, you sure got lucky.’”
     Grace and Richardson began an affair, the first of many she would have with older men. In the months that followed, he often took her to parties at the homes of theater and television professionals he knew. One of these was Irving Pincus, producer of Ellery Queen, a TV show Richardson was directing at the time. “There were a few important agents present, with their wives,” Richardson says. “At this gathering, like all the previous ones, Kelly— that’s what I called her—sat wringing her white gloves, listening and listening, but deeply enclosed. When one of the women would direct a question or comment at her, she would answer in a high young voice with a slight Philadelphia ring to it, articulately and poised, but then, having made a reply, she asked no question or made any comment in turn. The next day Pincus called me on the phone and said,  ‘Jeez, you’ve brought some dull broads to my house, but last night was the dullest.’”
     Richardson didn’t think Grace was dull. “Her public persona was so completely different than her private self that it was phenomenal. She was so proper, people thought of her as a nun. But when we were alone together, she used to dance naked for me to Hawaiian music. And if you don’t think that was an incredible sight, you’re crazy. She was a very sexy girl.”
     Before long, Richardson found himself falling in love with her. Grace too was infatuated. Richardson was exactly right for her—nine years older, separated from his wife, worldly and accomplished, an authority figure, and a man in a position to help her who believed strongly in her potential for success. “Even then,” Richardson says, “I was convinced that she was going to be a major movie star. She wasn’t a great actress, and her voice was minimal, which was a problem for the stage—I don’t think she would have become a great stage star—but I knew that the special qualities she possessed would come across beautifully on the screen.”
     Several of Grace’s fellow students were aware of her relationship with Richardson. “Grace and Don Richardson were very much in love,” Mary Naredo volunteers. “He was the first great love of her life.” John Lupton recalls that this affair between an instructor and a student became a prime topic of classroom conversation. “It wasn’t a very common thing,” Lupton says. “I think the general reaction was ‘Wow!’”

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BARBRA AND RYAN O'NEAL--A LOVE STORY


BARBRA HAD MET the blond, boyishly handsome twenty-nine-year-old O’Neal at a dinner party in Hollywood a year earlier, and sparks had flown between them immediately. She found herself attracted to Ryan’s healthy physicality and surfer-boy looks, which fit right in with her new image as a slim, tanned, long-haired, blond-streaked California girl. An ex-boxer, O’Neal made her feel physically safe when they went out together. And he had quite a reputation as a sexual swordsman. “He’s an incredible lover, totally devoted to giving a woman pleasure,” vouched his first wife, the actress Joanna Moore.
     O’Neal had gained a strong fan following in the mid-sixties by appearing in over five hundred episodes of television’s popular nighttime soap opera Peyton Place as stud-louse Rodney Harrington. In 1970 he got his big break in movies and made the most of it: his role in the wildly popular tearjerker Love Story won him a Best Actor nomination.
     Because O’Neal had not yet divorced his second wife, the lovely actress Leigh Taylor-Young, Barbra and Ryan attempted to keep their relationship under wraps. They were successful for a while, but when they showed up together at a party, then attended a James Taylor concert together in Los Angeles, a buzz began. On January 10, 1971, they went to a private dinner party, then to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for a Mama Cass Elliot concert. Ryan’s younger brother, Kevin, went along as a beard: he was supposed to be Barbra’s date, and Ryan their chaperon.
     Peter Borsari, one of the Hollywood paparazzi, tried to take a picture of Barbra and Ryan together as they left the party, but they refused and ran to their car. Borsari followed them to the concert, waited until they came out, and tried again. Kevin O’Neal grabbed Borsari’s camera.
     “Don’t fight me. I can sue,” the photographer yelled.
     “You can sue me for as much as you want,” Kevin shouted back, throwing a punch. “I don’t have any money anyway.”
     Borsari’s camera was damaged, and Barbra and Ryan wound up splashed across the front pages of the national tabloids. The more cynical Hollywood gossips tittered that Barbra Streisand had found herself a toy boy, a cute hunk with a hard body and not much upstairs, and that Ryan O’Neal had linked himself up with the most powerful actress in Hollywood to further his career.
     The cynics had it wrong. “Barbra’s far too bright to ever be with somebody just because he’s a hunk.” said Steve Jaffe, Ryan’s public relations man at the time. “And Barbra had a lot of choices of men she could have dated. I’d be at her house and the phone calls that would come in! Extraordinary men would be on the line. But she wanted Ryan, and it wasn’t just for his body.”
     Although Jaffe saw “a wonderful physicality between the two of them, like two fighters sparring,” he felt that Ryan’s attractiveness to Barbra was based on “his wit, his charm, his mind, and then his good looks. Ryan has an incredibly quick wit, and the mental sparring between him and Barbra was fantastic because she’s incredibly responsive to quick-witted people. Ryan made her laugh a lot, which she loved, particularly because most people were afraid to be themselves around her, and that deprived her of a lot of humor.” Barbra loved the fact that Ryan rarely used her real name; instead he’d call her Ceil or Hilda or Sadie.
     According to Jaffe, Ryan had a lot to teach Barbra. “Ryan O’Neal is a philosopher by nature. He liked to expound on things, and his opinions sounded like they’d been tested. He knew where the bodies were buried and how you could get into trouble in Hollywood. Barbra would soak it all up like a sponge.”
     “Ryan and I had an argument on our first date,” Barbra said. “He won. I never felt better losing.... Ryan isn’t afraid of my image; he respects my talent, but he’s not in awe of my career. I guess that’s what made me like him at first.”
     The romance blossomed through the early months of 1971. The couple held hands at parties, went shopping together, and played on the beach in Malibu with Jason. On June 14, Barbra performed five songs and her marijuana routine at a Los Angeles fund-raiser to benefit the Motion Picture and TV Relief Fund. For most of the show she and Ryan sat in the front row, holding hands and watching performances by Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Pearl Bailey, the Fifth Dimension, and other acts. After Barbra’s performance, the next-to-last of the evening, she rejoined Ryan to watch Frank Sinatra give what was billed as his farewell performance. (He later un-retired.)
     Four nights later Ryan escorted Barbra to the opening of his latest film, The Wild Rovers. This time the couple let themselves be photographed, and newspapers across the country ran the pictures under headlines like “A New Love Story.” By now neither Barbra nor Ryan cared who knew about their relationship. They were young, in love—and about to start a movie together.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Streisand and Rogen On a Guilt Trip

On December 19, 2012 Paramount Studios will release Barbra's nineteenth film, The Guilt Trip, costarring Seth Rogen. Early audience reactions at previews suggest that the film will be a big Christmas hit. The story concerns Andy Brewster (Rogen) who is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime. He starts his adventure with a quick visit to his mom Joyce (Streisand), who uses all her Jewish mother wiles to persuade him to bring her along for the ride. Across three thousand miles he is driven to distraction by her antics, but over time he comes to realize that they have more in common than he thought.
    The screenwriter Dan Fogelman told The Jewish Journal that the movie is “completely about my mom.” Fogelman's mother, also named Joyce, died at age sixty several years ago. “I took a cross-country road trip with my mother four years ago, before she got sick, as research for a film I wanted to do about a mother and son going on [such a] trip together,” Fogelman said. “We drove from New Jersey to Vegas, so it was basically being locked in a car with your mom for two weeks.
    “The autobiographical parts of the movie are two-fold: One, the character Barbra plays—not her story, but her character type—is very much based on my mom. She collects frogs almost religiously (my mom had always collected frogs); she’s obsessive about drinking six bottles of water a day and about Weight Watchers; and she’s got a group of yenta friends that she relies on heavily—that kind of stuff. And then the road trip itself is very much modeled after things that happened to my mom and I on the road. Like, we didn’t think that it would snow in Tennessee, but it did and we got stuck in a blizzard.
    “The movie’s theme is basically when you discover that your parent isn’t just a parent but is actually a human being who had a life before you, and the same goes for a mother or a father. It’s the point in their lives when they realize their child is actually a grownup and they have got to let go a little bit. My mom and I were exceptionally close and I really, really dug her. But I couldn’t necessarily start in that place at the beginning of the movie, or the characters would have nowhere to go. So creative liberties were taken with the relationships, as in any movie.”
    Originally titled My Mother's Curse,” the movie was filmed in Los Angeles and Las Vegas between May 2 and July 14, 2011. Paramount originally planned to release the film, directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) around Mother's Day of 2012, but after seeing the finished product and getting highly favorable screening reactions, they moved it back, first to November and then to the Christmas season, which is usually reserved for pictures that are expected to do very well at the box-office.
     Anne Fletcher pursued Streisand for a year before she agreed to play Joyce. “Barbra has a very full life,” Fletcher explained. “But I didn't want to do this with anyone else. Not only did I need her as a director, but her fans needed to see her in something like this.”
    Fletcher told Barbra,  “There isn't going to be a magic lens for you.'”  Explaining, she said, “She is breathtakingly beautiful with a gorgeous body. But she had to wear schleppy mom clothes. Moms of this generation still style their hair and wear makeup, but they want comfort. We had to erase Barbra out of it.”
    Despite this, photographs from the movie show Barbra actually looking quite lovely. The poster, with the great tag line “Get ready for the Mother of all road trips,” shows Barbra in profile, and she looks forty.
    “Barbra was one of the reasons I was interested,” Rogen said. “If she wasn't in it, I probably wouldn't have done it with someone else. She is going to kill me for saying this, but when you meet her, she acts like a lot of Jewish mothers. I think she is the blueprint for every Jewish mother I've met over the last 30 years.”
  

Monday, December 10, 2012

BARBRA ALWAYS WAS AHEAD OF HER TIME

TRY AS SHE might, Barbra couldn’t persuade Mike Wallace not to eat smoked foods. It was December 1, 1961, and she was making her fifth appearance on P. M. East, Wallace’s late-night East Coast talk-variety show. Since her first guest stint on the show in June, Barbra had become its resident eccentric, spouting off amusingly on everything from the evils of milk to the benefits of Zen Buddhism. That she could also stagger the audience with the purity and power of her voice quickly made her one of Wallace’s most popular guests. In New York, gay bars offered two-for-one drink nights whenever she appeared on the show, and Wallace’s ratings swelled nationwide as well. Between June 1961 and June 1962 she appeared on the show thirteen times—five times in one five-week period. On various shows she sang a duet with Mickey Rooney (“I Wish I Were in Love Again”); confronted David Susskind, who had been an agent, over the fact that he had kept her waiting in his office and never granted her an interview; debated the merits of fallout shelters; sang “Ding-Dong, the Witch Is Dead” from The Wizard of Oz; and kibbitzed with Eartha Kitt and Katharine Anne Porter.
The smoked foods controversy erupted during a party-themed show on which Woody Allen, the actor Paul Dooley, and the trombone-playing nightclub singer Lillian Briggs were also guests. Wallace’s co-host, Joyce Davidson, had prepared an elaborate spread of food, most of which, Barbra protested, could kill you. She knew the health food pioneer Robert Rodale and sometimes slept in his office. She had taken to heart many of his warnings about the health risks posed by much of the food Americans ate. One Streisand fan’s audiotape of the show preserves the dialogue for posterity:
BARBRA: I’ll tell you, I’m very hungry.... Oh, wait a minute! Wait a minute! Don’t you understand? They’re all smoked foods. You’re not allowed to eat that stuff! [Laughter from the others.] Don’t eat it, I’m telling you!
MIKE WALLACE: Aw, c’mon, you used to buy it all the time. It looks wonderful.
BARBRA: No, you wanna hear something? The highest cancer rate is in Iceland. [More laughs] No, wait a minute. People think there’s nothing doing up in Iceland. Did you know there was a big medical university in Iceland?
JOYCE DAVIDSON: Eat the sandwich.
BARBRA: It’s a fact. Up in Iceland there’s a big medical university, and they made tests on these things.... A lot of people in Iceland don’t have refrigerators, so they have to smoke the food. They can’t eat raw meat. They gotta smoke—
PAUL DOOLEY: No cigarettes?
BARBRA: Cut it out! Don’t you care if you die or not?
WOODY ALLEN: Streisand’s a little sick, folks.
BARBRA: You know what happens? They get a lot of cancer up there in Iceland.
LILLIAN BRIGGS: From what?
BARBRA: Smoked foods!
WALLACE: Barbra, why don’t you sing?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

BARBRA'S FIRST NUDE SCENE


Barbra squiggled her bare toes into the deep white carpeting, pulled the collar of the plush terry-cloth robe up around her neck, and shivered as she stared anxiously at her reflection in the full-length mirror. She turned and sank into a vinyl beanbag chair that along with a melange of chrome-and-glass furnishings made up the modish decor of her small dressing room. A few steps away was the bedroom set where her The Owl and the Pussycat co-star, George Segal, her director, Herb Ross, and a minimal crew waited impatiently for her to shoot the one scene in the film that she had been dreading: a sexual tumble with Segal that she had agreed to film topless.
     Just days earlier she had told a reporter that her non-singing, contemporary role as Doris, a “hopeless, hapless hustler” who fancies herself “a model and an actress,” would allow her to shed the elaborate trappings of her first three films and appear on screen for the first time as “the me that’s natural and very today.” Now she was faced with just how natural the script demanded that she be.     When she finally emerged from her dressing room, bundled up in her robe, Barbra took Herb Ross aside and admitted that she had cold feet, among other things, about shooting the scene.
     “Herbie, I can’t.” she whispered, “I’ve got goose bumps and they’ll show. What will my mother think of this.”
     Ross responded patiently, “But, Barbra, it is a story about sexual passion.”
     “Yeah,” Barbra said, “but I don’t think I have that great a body. My mother will be unhappy. I don’t think I’m ready for it.”
     Buck Henry, the film’s scenarist, recalled that “Ross told her not to worry, she had a great body. They went into a closet and she showed him why she thought she didn’t have what it takes. Well, it happens that Barbra has a great figure. And Ross laughed and said,  ‘Well, you’re nuts. You’ve got to trust me.’” For nearly an hour, while George Segal catnapped, Ross pleaded with Barbra to go through with the brief scene as planned. He assured her that the nudity was appropriate for the uninhibited Doris. Besides, he cajoled, didn’t she want to make a dramatic break from her current screen image as queen of the old-fashioned musicals? Wasn’t she serious about moving into the new decade as a hip, daring young actress?
     Worn down by the wheedling and reassured by Ross’s promise that he would delete the scene in the editing room if she wasn’t happy with it, Barbra finally muttered, “Oh, what the hell, I’ll try it once.” As Harry Stradling’s camera rolled, Streisand dropped her robe to reveal her pert breasts, crossed the room, and climbed into bed alongside a now completely alert George Segal.
     “It was perfect,” Ross recalled. “I yelled, ‘Cut and print.           Beautiful!’ But Barbra is the perfectionist. She wanted a retake! I think we were all shocked, because everybody burst into laughter, including Barbra. We did the retake.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Great Year for Barbra Streisand fans!

2012 has been a banner year for those of us who have followed Barbra Streisand's career for more than five decades. How many fans get to see their favorite have a Top Ten album, a record-setting concert tour, and a movie expected  to be a big Christmas hit--and all at 70 years of age?

I became a Marilyn Monroe fan in 1960, and I never imagined that fifty years later she'd be as fresh in the public's mind as she was then--on the cover of Playboy this month for goodness's sake! No other movie star has ever had that kind of impact for so long.

I'm equally fortunate as a fan of Streisand's, whom I began to follow in 1965. As special, as extraordinary as she was, few could have predicted that half a century later she would be as vital a part of the culture as she was in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. None of her contemporaries has achieved the same level of success for so long.

On Barbra's first album, the composer Harold Arlen wrote these liner notes: "I advise you to keep watching Barbra Streisand's career. This young lady (a mere twenty) has a stunning future. She listening, keep watching. And please remember, I told you so."

Even Mr. Arlen would be surprised by just how stunning Barbra's future has been.







Tuesday, December 4, 2012

FOR ROBERT REDFORD, DOING A LOVE SCENE WITH BARBRA WAS HARD

Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford film a love scene in The Way We Were:

Barbra was nude from the waist up when she undressed, her back to the camera. The next shot would show her already in bed, and she wore a thin mesh bikini and brassiere under the sheets. With his character supposed to be nude as well, Redford was taking no chances. According to Moss Mabrey, the film's costume designer, "Redford put two jockstraps on for that scene. He's a very modest man. He was afraid of getting an erection."
      The bulky athletic supporters caused a problem, however, when their outline became visible through the sheets. "Finally," Redford said, "I took them off under the cover, slid them under the bed, did the scene, picked them up, and put them back on under the cover" before getting out of bed.
      The look of ecstasy on Barbra's face in the scene likely reflected reacting more than acting. Because by this time her feelings toward Redford were just as strong as Katie's for Hubbell.
 


Monday, December 3, 2012

BARBRA MEETS MAE WEST

One of my favorite anecdotes in Streisand: Her Life, 2012concerns the night that two of Hollywood's biggest stars met at a party. The story is told by the director Jerry Schatzberg, with whom Barbra was discussing the possibility of his directing Up the Sandbox late in 1971.
      "We were at this party," Schatzberg recalled,  "and Mae West was there. Barbra was all excited to see her and went over to talk to her. Everyone in our group was dying of curiosity about what these two Hollywood giants of their generations would say to each other. A few minutes later, Barbra came back, laughing. She said she had asked Mae what she felt the difference was between the Hollywood of Mae's heyday and today. Mae gave her own of those  looks and in her inimitable way said, 'Well, honey, the biggest difference is, today there are no stars!'"


 
.
 
 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

ELVIS KNEELS BEFORE BARBRA!

  1. Hello friends! This is the first of a series of posts featuring anecdotes from Streisand: Her Life, 2012

    In 1969 Elvis Presley was scheduled to follow Barbra at the International Hotel in Las Vegas--an engagement that would be a triumphant comeback [for him]--and he caught her next-to-last show. She introduced him to the audience, and afterward he went backstage to meet her. [Barbra's drummer] Don Lamond passed him in the hallway and was impressed by how good the thir
    ty-four-year-old Presley, who had been out of the public eye for awhile, looked. "I think he was the handsomest guy I ever saw. This was before he got bloated and all that stuff. My wife said she couldn't believe how fantastic he looked. He went into Barbra's dressing room, and they got together."
       Years later Barbra's longtime lover, Jon Peters, revealed in an unpublished interview the extraordinary scene that followed, recounted to him by Barbra. She was alone, sitting at her dressing table. After Elvis closed the door behind him, he said simply, "Hi," and an awkward silence followed. Suddenly he reached over and picked up a bottle of red nail polish from the vanity table. Without a word. he fell to one knee, took Barbra's hand in his and began, slowly anf painstakingly, to apply the bright crimson varnish to Barbra's tapering fingernails.
       The intimacy of the gesture, the supplication of it, stunned Barbra, who stared in fascination as Elvis worked, and when he finished, she mumbled "Thank you." An associate of Presley's, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the intimacy between Barbra and the King of Rock 'n' Roll didn't end there. "Elvis told me that he spent the night with Streisand in her suite." 
     
    If you'd like to read the rest of Barbra's fascinating story, you can download the book here:
     
    Here's the link to the book on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Streisand-Her-Life-2012-ebook/dp/B00A8SDGL4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1353343329&sr=1-1&keywords=streisand+her+life


    If you don't have a Kindle, click on the link below to download free software that will allow you to read the book on any device, including your PC or Mac:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Saturday, December 1, 2012

STREISAND: HER LIFE, 2012--NOW AN E-BOOK!



I’m thrilled to let you know that I have updated my 1995 biography Streisand: Her Life, and it is now available as an eBook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.
          I am very proud of this book. I worked hard to make it the most complete, detailed, accurate and fair version of Barbra’s life ever written. I spoke to over 200 people while writing the book, including Barbra’s family, friends, coworkers and colleagues from her Aunt Molly (her father Emanuel’s only living sibling at the time), to high school classmates, acting school classmates, roommates, costars, producers, and many others.
          The Streisand story is truly an extraordinary one, a near fairy tale of what a young girl with determination can achieve against powerful obstacles. As she struggled for success, Barbra was rebuffed by her mother, agents, and casting directors who felt she wasn’t pretty enough to be successful as an actress or as a singer. Not only did she prove them all wrong, but she did so in stunning fashion. By the time she was 23, she was gracing the cover of Vogue, and a few years later had established herself not only as a hugely successful singer but a movie star as well, playing romantic leads and becoming the top female box-office star of the 1970s.
          Along the way there were more obstacles, rebuffs, a few devastating reviews. But she never let any of that stop her. After reading Streisand: Her Life, 2012, you will never again think a Big Dream is impossible.