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SAG honoree Barbra Streisand on acting, Oscar snubs and singing with Bob Dylan

Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES — Barbra Streisand's 970-page memoir, "My Name Is Barbra," took her 10 years to complete. So it didn't seem like that much of an ask for me to spend 48 hours listening to her read it, which I did over the course of a couple months.

Exhaustive, but never exhausting, digressive, sure, but usually to fine effect, intimate and honest, Barbra — I feel like we're on a first-name basis now that we've spent so much time together — made for good company. I'd listen while making dinner, making lists of what I'd heard and, by the end of it, making up for lost time because, again, 48 hours.

Streisand will receive a lifetime honor Saturday at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, another trophy for a woman who joined the EGOT club long ago. Even after that deep dive into her life, I still had questions, which Streisand was happy to answer — by email. (If you've read the book, you know she likes to fuss over the details.) After spending so much time focusing on her voice, it felt like a novelty to zero in on her words.

Here's our correspondence.

Q: Barbra. It's Glenn. I listened to your memoir for more than 48 hours, so I know that you appreciate getting to the point. So let's go …

A: First of all, I'd like to say thank you Glenn for listening to all 48 hours of my audiobook!

 

Q: You often talked about how you hated attending awards shows, tracing it back to walking across the stage at your high school graduation and feeling all eyes upon you. Did writing the memoir help you work through that? Is that why you're going to the SAG Awards?

A: Well, I'm attending this award show because they told me in advance that I got the award! No trauma or drama. And I'm very proud to be a member of SAG since 1961. I also like the fact that Fran Drescher and so many actors marched and worked very hard to get what they campaigned for.

Q: Any other reasons you agreed to show?

A: The numbers were right — my lucky number is 24. The number 2 and the number 4, and this award falls on 2-24-24.

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