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Barbra Streisand Is, as Ever, Firmly in Control

Barbra Streisand Is, as Ever, Firmly in Control
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Barbra Streisand Is, as Ever, Firmly in Control

Barbra Streisand Is, as Ever, Firmly in Management

Hollywood was one other, altogether harder business, the place girls had lengthy been on the mercy of highly effective male studio heads and administrators, and the place even Streisand, already a significant star, struggled to make herself heard. “Don’t allow them to do to you what they did to me,” Garland famously suggested Streisand within the Nineteen Sixties. Ladies had been usually paid lower than their male co-stars and strictly relegated to appearing. “Actresses did not direct,” Streisand remembers. However for “Humorous Woman,” her first movie, she watched the dailies with its Oscar-winning director, William Wyler, providing her opinions alongside the best way and studying the craft from one in every of its masters.

Later, for “The Approach We Have been,” Streisand’s co-star, Robert Redford, acquired $750,000 plus a share of the earnings, whereas Streisand additionally acquired profit-sharing however was paid $400,000 much less. She needed to star in and direct a sequel, however requested a $400,000 director’s price to make up the pay distinction. Her producer, Ray Stark, flatly refused. No sequel was made. In these years, male stars negotiated for a proportion of a movie’s gross income, relatively than the customarily nonexistent web revenue. Streisand joined their ranks with 1976’s “A Star Is Born,” and helped start the still-ongoing battle for gender pay fairness in Hollywood. “It wasn’t straightforward,” remembers Michael Ovitz, the previous Hollywood agent who represented her in the course of the ’80s and ’90s. “The enterprise didn’t worth girls as a lot as males. Barbra might be robust as nails. She stood up for what she believed in, with monumental integrity.”

It wasn’t till 1983, with “Yentl,” that she lastly acquired the prospect to direct. She’d purchased the rights to the Isaac Bashevis Singer brief story “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy” in 1970. Her authentic imaginative and prescient was for a nonmusical, black-and-white artwork movie, however “the one means I might get ‘Yentl’ made was to sing in it,” she says. The film ultimately emerged as a lavish full-color musical. Streisand starred as a younger girl in a Jewish shtetl who poses as a person to pursue an schooling. She additionally directed, co-wrote the screenplay and produced it.

“Yentl” grossed over $40 million and gained Streisand a Golden Globe for finest director, however not even a nomination from the male-dominated Administrators Guild of America. “Perhaps within the subsequent few years, with extra girls directing, they’ll get used to us,” Streisand stated at that yr’s Globes ceremony. Since then, just one girl has gained the Oscar for finest director — Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 (and solely 5 girls have been nominated). “It’s a shame extra girls haven’t,” Streisand says. She hasn’t directed a movie since 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” a romantic comedy wherein Streisand — lastly — wins and retains her good-looking main man, performed by Jeff Bridges. It proved to be a case of life imitating artwork: The yr the film was launched, Streisand met Brolin.

STREISAND’S INSISTENCE on management and obsession with element have been criticized for a lot of her life: She is “troublesome,” “demanding,” a “perfectionist,” all of which she readily acknowledges. It’s exhausting to think about a comparable male star or director being subjected to the identical criticism. In any occasion, it’s unimaginable to fault the outcomes. “So she’s a perfectionist,” says Kosarin. “Most geniuses are perfectionists. Take a look at Steve Jobs.”

Whereas Streisand insists that cash is secondary to her, monetary safety is one other type of management. She’s introduced the identical willpower and self-education to shares as to artwork, antiques and actual property. Jim Cramer, who mentioned the market together with her as a hedge fund supervisor earlier than he grew to become a preferred CNBC host, advised me she knew extra about preliminary public choices than most merchants. “And she or he hated to lose,” he provides.

Streisand says she’s earned tens of millions buying and selling shares — a number of million between 1998 and 2000 alone. (“I’d be up at 6:30, mild a hearth, have a sizzling chocolate and commerce till 1 p.m.”) She admits she’s not probably the most disciplined investor: She panicked in the course of the crash in 1987 (“I misplaced a fortune”), and once more in March when the market plunged due to pandemic fears. However her instincts have been sound: She purchased Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google shares when her then-financial adviser stated they had been too speculative. Her adviser steered her into Disney inventory in 2011, and she or he likes to present shares as presents to youngsters in her life. She will get the Apple chief government, Tim Cook dinner, on the telephone and just lately requested him to appropriate Siri’s pronunciation of her identify from Strei-zand to Strei-sand. He agreed. “Individuals mispronounce my identify regardless of how well-known I’m,” she laments.

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