In a new memoir and interview, entertainment legend Barbra Streisand disclosed incidents earlier in her career involving crude sexism that led to her developing intense stagefright, prompting a 27-year hiatus from live concerts.
Streisand said romantic rejection of Charlie Chaplin’s son Sydney during the Broadway run of Funny Girl caused him to try sabotaging her performances, eventually inducing overwhelming anxiety for the young star.
Chaplin’s Revenge Triggered Career-Long Stagefright
While acting opposite Sydney Chaplin in the 1960s stage production of Funny Girl, Streisand rejected the Hollywood scion’s romantic advances.
In response, Chaplin allegedly undermined Streisand during performances by muttering curses and refusing to look her in the eye on stage. This deliberate attempt to disrupt and intimidate her induced profound stagefright.
The traumatic experience scarred Streisand, provoking panic attacks and crippling self-consciousness that plagued live shows for decades after. It directly led to her retreating from concert tours for nearly 30 years due to intense anxiety.
Ongoing Struggles with Limelight Despite Success
Even as Streisand ascended to phenomenal heights in music and film, clinching an Oscar, multiple Grammys and box office hits, she continued grappling internally with the pressures of fame.
In her memoir, the famously private star admits she has not often enjoyed stardom, saying she wanted simply to be recognized for her talents rather than endlessly scrutinized and sensationalized.
Streisand also faced mistreatment by other powerful men like director Frank Pierson and co-star Walter Matthau, further disaffecting her from the limelight’s downsides.
Led Efforts to Change Siri’s Mispronunciation of Her Name
Despite shunning attention, Streisand leveraged her celebrity to convince Apple CEO Tim Cook to have Siri properly pronounce her name.
When discovering the virtual assistant botched the pronunciation, she requested Cook directly fix the issue. Streisand saw it as a rare positive instance of her fame carrying influence.
The anecdote also highlights Streisand’s perfectionism and determination to control her public image – something she was denied early on by Chaplin’s undermining attacks.
Memoir Recounts Encounters With Luminaries
While focusing on her stagefright, Streisand’s memoir also documents kinder memories with figures like King Charles, Omar Sharif, and Marlon Brando, who were enamored of her talent and beauty.
As she reflects on her life and career, Streisand demonstrates both the discomfort fame brought her as well as moments it enabled intriguing brushes with cultural icons.
Overall, the book provides intimate insight into a beloved yet enigmatic figure who has spent decades carefully balancing privacy with generational stardom.
Concert Comeback in 2000s After Long Absence
Following years avoiding live performances, Streisand finally returned to touring in 2000 after a 27-year hiatus, trascending her fears.
In 2006, she undertook a massive two-year tour across North America and Europe, marking a professional bookend to early stage trauma.
Now in her ninth decade and opening up more through her memoir, Streisand retains artistic force but on her own terms, overcoming past gendered mistreatment.
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