Barbra Streisand was born in Williamsburg, New York, to Emanuel Streisand and Diana Ida. Her father was a high school teacher, whose parents were Austrian. He died when Barbra was just 15 months old. Streisand has a half-sister, Roslyn Kind, who was also a singer. Barbra had a very turbulent relationship with her step-father, Louis Kind.
Whilst attending Erasmus Hall High School, Barbra Streisand sang in the school choir with Neil Diamond.
In her teens, Streisand won a singing competition and started to sing in nightclubs. She was keen to get into acting and appeared in a number of off-Broadway shows, including Driftwood, with Joan Rivers.
Barbra Streisand made her debut TV appearance on The Tonight Show, hosted by Jack Paar, singing 'A Sleepin' Bee' by Harold Arlen. The following year, she made her Broadway debut, in I Can Get It For You Wholesale.
Barbra Streisand's debut studio album, The Barbra Streisand Album, won two Grammy Awards and was released in 1963. She returned to The Tonight Show - now hosted by Johnny Carson - a number of times.
In 1964, Barbra Streisand starred as Fanny Brice in a production of Funny Girl. She continued her career as a recording artist, releasing almost of all of her albums on Columbia Records. During the 1960s, she focused on theatre and cabaret standards, such as 'Happy Days Are Here Again', which she performed as a duet on The Judy Garland Show. They were also joined by Ethel Merman, who sang 'There's No Business Like Show Business' with them.