Shy Streisand Still Has a Young Look

January 4, 1982

by Liz Smith

von Furstenberg, Steinem, Abzug and Streisand, 1982

“Hello, Gorgeous!” I said to Barbra Streisand upon encountering her up in the exotic atmosphere of Diane von Furstenberg's Manhattan offices [on Dec. 23, 1981]. (These were the same words Barbra addressed to her Oscar statue when she stepped up to collect it, and they are also the words from the musical that made her famous—and vice versa—Funny Girl.)

Barbra was in New York lending her unique, rare and unusual presence to an impassioned fund-raising that Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem and the workers of NOW were holding for Women USA, an action-information network for women.

Streisand at Women USA partyThe shy Ms. Streisand was wearing high black boots, a layered look and a tam. She looked as young as when I first interviewed her at least 15 years ago. When this was mentioned, she said, “Well, maybe I will get through making Yentl and then just totally fall apart like the portrait of Dorian Gray!” As you know, Yentl is about a young Jewish girl who poses as a male so she can get an eduction. Barbra has been criticized as being “too old” for the part, but I think she'll get through it swimmingly. She spent some of her time at the party talking to actor Charles Grodin, to her ominpresent pal Cis Corman, to actress Renee Taylor and to her Main Event producer Howard Rosenman. Barbra refused to make a speech to the assembled multitude that had paid money to be near her, saying merely, “We must always do whatever Bella tells us to do!”

And then Bella told us, in a voice quivering with emotion. The NOW supporters are naturally upset over the recent anti-ERA ruling of Idaho Judge Marion Clister. NOW is appealing the decision, claiming that Article 5 of the Constitution gives Congress, not the courts, the power to decide matters relating to the amending of the Constitution.


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