Tonight, Barbra Streisand will be presented with the highly prestigious Chaplin Award by The Film Society of Lincoln Center here in New York. What a night it will be! Everyone who is anyone will be there; Bill Clinton, Catherine Deneuve, Kris Kristofferson, Michael Douglas, Liza, the list is impressive. Previous honorees have included Sidney Poitier, Jane Fonda, Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart, Sir Lawrence Olivier and, the first recipient, Charlie Chaplin 40 years ago in 1972. She deserves it all. I’m a big fan, always have been ever since watching Funny Girl with mom, dad and sis when TVs had tubes. I was hooked like everyone else around the world. Her voice is a large chunk of my life’s soundtrack growing up a big dreamer the first generation child of immigrant parents. I think I wore out the grooves of the soundtrack to A Star Is Born. Imagine my delight when I broke in to show business by landing a job at CBS/Fox Video – the original home video company – as an assistant in the music department and quickly learning that I would be working together with Ken Ross on the release of Barbra Streisand’s first and second television specials! An incredibly special experience and one I will always cherish. Thank you, Ken.
Barbra Streisand and New York City are synonomous. From Broadway to the small screen to the silver screen, New York City is featured prominently in so much of her work. Her first television special “My Name is Barbra” originally aired in 1965 when Barbra was performing in Funny Girl on Broadway. She watched the program from her dressing room. “My Name is Barbra” was released on home video in 1986. It hadn’t been seen by anyone since it was broadcast live on CBS some 20+ years earlier. Now of course, everything’s just a point and click away which is marvelous. I found a great clip that showcases the incredibly iconic Bergdorff Goodman Department Store on Fifth Avenue.
My fondest Streisand related memory was being invited by Barbra’s manager Mr. Marty Erlichman to join him for a one-on-one drink at Sardi’s where he proceeded to share with me old Broadway war stories, tales of the opening of Funny Girl on Broadway where the top producers and stars used to sit and the story of how he had discovered Barbra. I was just a little pisher assistant back then, but he made me feel like a big shot producer – a moment that solidified for me that if you just follow your dreams, life serves up some amazing moments. So, thanks for discovering Barbra Marty and, Congratulations Miss Streisand on The Chaplin Honor. I’m looking forward to more great New York moments together.
Barbra Streisand at New York’s iconic Bergdorf Goodman.