Home > Talk/ ”I’m the Greatest Star”: Barbra Streisand and American Popular Culture in the 1960/70s

Talk/ ”I’m the Greatest Star”: Barbra Streisand and American Popular Culture in the 1960/70s

Rarely acknowledged in scholarly or popular histories of the two decades from 1960 to 1980, Barbra Streisand was undoubtedly one of the biggest cross-media stars of this transformative period. Born in 1942, her meteoric rise began in night clubs, in late night talk shows and on Broadway while she was still in her teens. After 1962, she was one of the country’s most successful recording artists and concert performers. From 1965 onwards, she created several spectacular TV specials, and from 1968 to 1979 she starred in a nearly unbroken string of hit movies. From very early on, she not only negotiated extremely lucrative contracts, but also asserted a high degree of creative control over her work. She vehemently resisted repeated calls for her to get a ‘nose job’ and instead foregrounded her unusual looks, becoming the icon of a new kind of beauty. With particular reference to Streisand’s first movie Funny Girl (1968), Andy Willis will discuss her place in American popular culture of the 1960s and 1970s with film historian Peter Krämer.

This talk will be followed by an introduced screening of Funny Girl. Why not enjoy both?

Peter Krämer is the author or editor of ten books, several of which deal with American cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. His latest book, the edited collection The Hollywood Renaissance (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), includes a chapter on Barbra Streisand and Funny Girl.