Actress. Singer. Director. Writer. Recipient of Grammys, Emmys and Oscars galore. Barbra Streisand has had a remarkable 40-plus-year career that has been plagued by stage fright and, more recently, scathing movie reviews and a perception that she'd rather bash Bush than get out there and sing. But get ready Babs is back. Her new CD, The Movie Album, hits stores Oct. 14 the same day she bares her soul to Oprah (check listings). And she faces down James Lipton and his little blue index cards on Inside the Actors Studio, airing on Bravo in December. As these outtakes from her TV Guide interview show, it seems the 61-year-old megastar is finally mellowing just a little.
TV Guide: This is your 60th album. Why did you decide to make it a CD of nothing but songs from movies?
Barbra Streisand: I've thought about it for a long time. My last two albums (The Essential Barbra Streisand and Duets) were mostly my old things, but these were all songs I've never recorded.
TV Guide: Did you make any accompanying videos?
Streisand: There's a [250,000-copy] limited edition of the CD with [a DVD of] two performances when I sang in the booth "Wild Is the Wind" [from the 1957 film of the same name] and "I'm in the Mood for Love" [from 1935's Every Night at Eight]. I edited them with some scenes from the movies that the songs came from. I was going to do more, but I never got around to it.
TV Guide: Which songs are your personal favorites? Didn't you walk down the aisle at your wedding to one of them?
Streisand: Yes, that was "More in Love With You" from André Previn's delicious score from The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I thought I would love to sing it, so Alan and Marilyn Bergman did some lyrics for me. And my dog Sammy died the night before I recorded "Smile" [from Modern Times], so that became what I sang. My husband [James Brolin] got me a new puppy for our fifth anniversary. She's an adorable coton named Samantha.
TV Guide: You traveled from California to Montreal on Whoopi Goldberg's private bus to visit your husband, on location for the CBS miniseries The Reagans. What music did you listen to on the journey?
Streisand: I don't really listen to music. I'm so sick of it by the time I finish an album. Nothing engages me. Nothing is great. I listen to the news; I'm a news junkie.
TV Guide: How do you feel about the fact that he's playing Reagan? Did he ask for your blessing?
Streisand: (Laughs) No. He's his own person. It's a great role.
TV Guide: Marriage seems to agree with you.
Streisand: Oh, yes. Partnering, companionship, love and warmth. All that stuff is very healthy for the body and the soul. It makes you grow more. I'm less selfish. You have to think about the other person.
TV Guide: When you talked to Oprah, did she make you cry?
Streisand: No, but it was wonderfully moving to me when she brought up some big fans of mine. It's rewarding for me to see my effect on people if I've changed someone's life, if I've made them happier, if I got them through a tough time or some problem. So that was wonderful.
TV Guide: And you sang "Smile," from your new CD in front of Oprah's live audience. That's a big move for someone who suffers from stage fright. Does this mean you might consider another tour?
Streisand: That kind of technical show where I have to sing 30 songs a night is too much. It's just exhausting. That doesn't appeal to me at all. Though I may look at it again sometime. Now I'm going to do what I feel like doing.
TV Guide: What do you feel like doing?
Streisand: Basically, I like directing. When I conceive of a show, that's the fun part. It's just that I don't want to have to perform! [Laughs]
TV Guide: Rosie O'Donnell said she saw you do the Actor's Studio and...
Streisand: (Excited) Really? How do you know she saw me?
TV Guide: She was on The View.
Streisand: She talked about it on The View? What did she say about it?
TV Guide: That you stayed for...
Streisand: Five hours! After three and a half, I was so hungry, I asked if anybody had a cookie.
TV Guide: Lipton must have had a lot of index cards.
Streisand: What was so amazing is he read magnificent reviews I've had over the span of my career. I had no memory of these wonderful reviews. I just remember the negatives. When I was younger, I really didn't have a lot of self-appreciation. A lot of performers perform because of that. But I probably will remember good things now.
TV Guide: You never felt validation after all your awards and successful shows and movies?
Streisand: No. I didn't even remember getting my first two Grammys until my friend Quincy Jones sent me a picture of us in 1963. I remembered the dress I wore when I saw the picture. But other than that, I have no recollection of it. Now I'm very appreciative of life.
TV Guide: Is this the happiest point of your life?
Streisand: I think it is. I wake up and go to sleep with a smile on my face. I can't wait until my husband is done with his miniseries, and we'll take a trip in a car up the coast. And have fun.
For more of Ileane Rudolph's interview with Barbra Streisand, pick up this week's issue of TV Guide magazine on newsstands.