In 1960, she was a seventeen-year-old Brooklyn kid with plenty of talent but no connections and certainly no money. Just four years later, Barbra Streisand was the top-selling female recording artist in America and the star of one of Broadway’s biggest hits. Now acclaimed Hollywood biographer William J. Mann reveals the riveting, never-before-told account of that dizzying ascent, chronicling the behind-the-scenes story of how Streisand and her team transformed her from an unknown dreamer into a worldwide superstar.
Drawing on the private papers of Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse and interviewing scores of the friends and lovers who knew Barbara before she became Barbra, Mann recreates the vanished world of 1960s New York City and uncovers the truth behind the myths of her formative years. He shows us howFunny Girl was slowly transformed, by Fosse and Robbins among others, from a Fanny Brice bio into a star-making vehicle for Streisand; takes us into the clubs and onto the set for her early nightclub and television appearances, including her torch-handing turn with Judy Garland; introduces the canny marketing team whose strategies made Streisand’s stardom seem inevitable; and tells the heartbreak of a young woman who, for all her tough-skinned ambition, was surprisingly vulnerable in love.
Everyone who has felt outside the gate, as she did, remembers a time when the newness and difference of Barbra Streisand changed everything and rewrote all the rules. In Hello, Gorgeous, Mann incisively illuminates the woman before she became the icon and pays tribute to one of the world’s most beloved performers.
“Mann’s meticulous research and insightful analysis go deeper than any previous biography: shedding light on the formative years that shaped Streisand’s persona, debunking some myths and providing a cultural snapshot of the wild and free-spirited era in which Streisand blossomed.”
— USA Today
“A fresh exploration of the early years of Streisand… Mann approaches his work not as a starry-eyed super fan, but as a curious and meticulous journalist, one who is appropriately complimentary of Streisand but also candid about her shortcomings.”
— The Washington Post
“Mann vividly evokes the atmosphere of Streisand’s New York… He has written a novelized biography notable for its breadth of detail and fair-mindedness.” — New York Times Book Review
“[An] excellent new work… One can only put down HELLO, GORGEOUS with renewed appreciation for Barbra’s single-mindedness, and with some glimpse of her inner struggle.”
— Liz Smith, syndicated columnist
“Mann has found another great subject here, and offers up many new tidbits about Streisand’s early life.”
— Judith Newman, in People magazine (three and a half stars)
“Mann balances intimate personal details with audience reactions and critical acclaim to etch an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman.” — Publishers Weekly
“[A] surprisingly suspenseful and masterfully paced biography.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“A compelling, detailed look at the rise of the multitalented Streisand from 17-year-old unknown to chart-topping singer and Broadway star. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal
“Mann assembles an origin story that is vividly detailed, yet judicious in tone… His reporting adds much to what’s already known about her.”
“A definitive look at the superstar’s illustrious career… Mann can tell a juicy Hollywood tale!” — USA Today
“Streisand fans will come away feeling they’ve had a ringside seat at her early career, and they will leave the show applauding.” — Booklist