Recently at the Dolby Theatre, renaissance entertainment icon Barbra Streisand opened PaleyFest with a bang, joining Ryan Murphy (9-1-1, American Crime Story) for a sprawling conversation about her legendary career.
The only musical artist ever to have #1 albums spanning six decades, Streisand was honored tonight with the Paley Center for Media’s Icon Award, acknowledged for her groundbreaking work as an actress, director, producer and singer-songwriter which, over the years, has landed her two Oscars, 10 Grammy Awards, eight Golden Globes, four Emmys, four Peabody Awards, a Special Tony Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other accolades.
In conversation with Murphy, Streisand discussed working with talents including Judy Garland and Ray Charles, her stage fright—a challenge she struggled with for years—and gave a few political remarks here and there, most notably in regards to the #MeToo movement. “We’re in a strange time now in terms of men and women and the pendulum swinging this way and that way,” Streisand said, “It’s going to have to come to the center.”
‘Wow,’ like a person surprised. I’d like to be powerful as a human being, I’d like to do good in the world, but I didn’t know what powerful meant,” she said, reflecting on her status as an atypical icon. “I wasn’t like those pretty girls with those nice little noses. Maybe that’s why [I wasn’t harassed]. I have no idea.”
Streisand added that her best collaborations came with men who treated her as a creative partner, asking for her ideas. “I loved Funny Girl,” she said about that William Wyler-directed comedy-drama which landed her a 1969 best actress Oscar win (tying that year with Katharine Hepburn who won for The Lion in Winter).
“It’s the most wonderful memories I have of my first film because I worked with great men.”
Traditionally, whenever Murphy has made an appearance at PaleyFest, typically with an American Horror Story panel, he’ll divulge some casting or plot details about that series’ next season. Asking Streisand about her future ambitions, all Murphy hinted was, “Well, I’ve got a really good Netflix deal, Barbra.”