Barbra Streisand gave the most thorough interview of her career to Playboy magazine in 1977.
[FYI, Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. are the only company that's ever sent a copyright infringement email to Barbra Archives, which is why the interview does not appear here.]
Lawrence Grobel interviewed Barbra Streisand for Playboy. The process of getting an appointment to see Streisand was arduous, as Grobel tells the story: “I wrote her publicist a letter saying, ‘Look, if Barbra will talk to me, Newsday reaches 350 papers around the country, and Playboy reaches 7 million’ […] I didn’t hear back for half a year [...] Frank Pierson, who wrote the script for A Star Is Born, wrote an article in New West magazine, ‘My Battles with Barbra and Jon.’ In that article, [Pierson] told what a pain-in-the-ass of an experience it was to make this movie with her. He also mentioned Jason, her son, and that just blew her top, she was just angry with all the things he said about her. Her reaction was she was going to talk, and I became the vehicle for her.”
Grobel explained, “We started talking, doing the interview, and we spent nine months together, off and on. It ended up, I had 52 hours of tape with her. And she became the first celebrity that was on the cover of Playboy. She was on the cover with a Superman T-shirt. So there you have it.”
(Above): This October 1977 magazine ad touted the Streisand interview:
Barbra has had it. She's sick of all those stories, rumors, anecdotes everybody else has been telling about her. This month in PLAYBOY, she answers back. In her first full-length, truly revealing interview ever. The Streisand that emerges? Complex, multidimensional and, in many ways, unlike her press image ...
Mario Casilli, a famed photographer of Playboy women, shot the Streisand cover. He explained: “That assignment was done in my studio, which was way out near the mountains. We sent a limo for Barbra, and before she arrived I was very apprehensive. From all the stories I heard I was expecting to meet a monster, a real terror. But she turned out to be a fantastic lady. She told me up front what she would do and wouldn't do. Then she left me alone. She got into a bunny outfit and posed, but it wasn't used. Barbra had final approval of all the shots and I guess she felt she didn't look right in it.”
Streisand explained why she didn't approve the bunny outfit shot in 1996 when she told Linda Ellerbee, “I was the first woman actress to be on the cover of Playboy who was interviewed inside, and I posed in a bunny suit. The picture was great. Nothing nasty, just long legs. I'm sorry now I never allowed them to print it because I was so afraid it was betraying the feminist issue. I thought the women would get mad at me, but the truth is, if I can have good legs and also be smart and also be able to direct movies, why am I apologizing for this?”
In recent years Streisand confessed she considered including the bunny outfit shot in one of her tour programs.
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