April 24, 1934– Shirley MacLaine:
“It’s useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for office.”
MacLaine has six Academy Award nominations, with a well-deserved win for Terms Of Endearment, (1983), 20 Golden Globe nominations, with seven wins including Best Newcomer of 1955, and the Cecil B DeMille Look Alike Award in 1998, plus she is the author of 15 books, all bestsellers, and on top of that, she sings and she dances.
MacLaine was discovered on Broadway dancing in the musical The Pajama Game (1954) when she famously went on as the understudy for Carol Haney who had broken her ankle. Her first film was Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Trouble With Harry (1955). She continues to work into the second decade of the 21st century. She has a film in theatres right now, titled The Last Word; it has something to do with obituaries, I think. I am sure I will catch it eventually; I see all her projects. Attempting to count her filmography, I lost track at 75 films. MacLaine has received the highest film industry honor, the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 2012, and a Kennedy Center Honor in 2013.
MacLaine’s brother is an actor also. His name is Warren Beatty. They have never worked together, but that is something I would pay to see, especially if they were to play senior citizen love interests.
She talks to her rat terrier Terry and her dog talks back. In 2011, she gave a frightfully furious, funny performance, one of her best, in the terrific film Bernie, and (spoiler alert!) a messy, unfocused portrayal of Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham’s American mother on Downton Abbey. But mostly, she is simply fabulous. I love her life and her films, television apperances and her work in films. She was simply sparkling in her second Oscar nominated performance in Billy Wilder’s cynical, yet tender The Apartment (1960), opposite her best co-star Jack Lemmon. Favored to win that year, she lost to Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8. MacLaine stated:
“I thought I would win for The Apartment, but then Elizabeth Taylor had a tracheotomy…”
My favorite MacLaine role would have to be Doris (a thinly disguised Debbie Reynolds) in Postcards From The Edge (1990). It is my understanding that The Gays just adore her.
“I’ve made so many movies playing a hooker that they don’t pay me in the regular way anymore. They leave it on the dresser.”
On the President, MacLaine has said:
“He’s a showbiz barker. I recommend new hair, new makeup and a new script – from a showbiz perspective.”
April 24, 1942– Barbra Streisand:
“I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy, and driven.”
She sings, she dances, she acts, she directs, she does the screenplays, she writes the scores! Barbra Streisand has had five Academy Award nominations with two wins, including one as a composer. She has 16 Golden Globe nominations with eight wins including the Cecil B DeMille Look Alike Award in 2000, plus nine Grammy Awards. She is one of only a handful of performers to have an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy (EGOT). All her statues and medals are tastefully arranged in a special temperature controlled Art Deco display case in her hermetically sealed basement at one of her Malibu houses. In 2011, Streisand was presented with the Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s Charlie Chaplin Award, presented to her by her pal Bill Clinton. Like MacLaine, Streisand has been given the American Film Institute Award and a Kennedy Center Honor.
Streisand is the only artist to have a number one album in six different decades. She is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with more than 70 million albums sold in the USA and with a total of 145 million records sold worldwide, making her the bestselling female artist of all time. She is the only artist who is currently a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), Screen Actors Guild/Federation Of Television And Radio Artists, The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences, and Actors’ Equity Association, as well as the weekend manager of the Beverly Hills Hadassah Thrift Shop.
Her stepson is hunky actor Josh Brolin. In 2011, Streisand published a frightening coffee table book about her questionable interior designing taste. I passed on that one. She gave her very cute, talented son Jason Gould a role in her underrated film Prince Of Tides (1991). She has been outspoken in support of her son’s coming out of the closet.
Streisand talks to her dog Sammy and he talks back. In 2012, Streisand starred with Seth Rogen in the film The Guilt Trip (2012). Although I love a good two-Jews-On-A Road Trip flick, I passed on this one too. My sources tell me that she is still thinks she is going to get that new film version of my favorite musical Gypsy going. At this rate Streisand will be the first Mama Rose to use a walker.
“I’m not weird, just different from people who aren’t different.”
She has a very famous nose. As a person with a pronounced proboscis, she immediately became a personal hero to me after the first time I saw her spellbinding performance on The Tonight Show in April 1961 singing Harold Arlen‘s A Sleepin’ Bee. I was a rather savvy seven-year old-gay boy. I knew my show business legends like Judy Garland, Ethel Merman and Lena Horne, but I had never seen or heard anything like Streisand. I was hooked.
Of that nose, critic John Simon wrote: “It towers like a ziggurat made of meat”. Unlike the real life Fanny Brice, who had work done to broaden her appeal (Dorothy Parker wrote: “Brice cut off her nose to spite her race.”), Streisand decided early in her career that she would never mess with the schnoz. That nose was an inseparable part of her persona.
In the 1960s, Vogue Magazine dubbed Streisand “a whole new taste in beauty”. She even posed for the cover of Playboy. Streisand is a diva almost without peer, and we love her for that.
When an emotional Streisand accepted her Oscar for Funny Girl, tying with Katharine Hepburn for The Lion In Winter (the first exact tie in a principal Academy Award category), she purred: “Hello, gorgeous!” (her opening line in Funny Girl). Now it is part of the gay vernacular.
Ironically, for all the control she has demanded of her screen work, her highest grossing film is Meet The Fockers (2004), which did more than $517,00,000 worldwide. Who knew? My favorite Streisand role would have to be Doris in The Owl And The Pussycat (1970). I hear that The Gays really love her. I know I do. She represents the way we were.
Next week, Streisand is playing concert dates at Nassau Coliseum and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Streisand has decided it is finally time to publish her first memoir in 2017. She is also set to direct a biopic of photographer Margaret Bourke-White.
Last month, Streisand tweeted:
“Donald Trump is making me gain weight. I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!”
This pair of Gay Icons and Fashion Icons share a birthday today, April 24th. They are both liberal stalwarts and outspoken old broads. In a long standing tradition, they spend their birthdays together. I would like to be a fly on the wall at that tea party.