Broadcast November 24, 1991 (CBS)
60 Minutes is the CBS Television news magazine show that has aired since 1968. Barbra’s first (and only) appearance on the show was November 24, 1991. Mike Wallace was Barbra’s showbiz friend who used to interview her on his show, P.M. East, in the early days of her career. Since Barbra was publicizing her film, The Prince of Tides, she sat down with Wallace to film an interview for 60 Minutes, reminiscing about the old days on his show. Wallace, however, pursued an accusatory line of questioning (including a quote from her mother about Barbra not having time to be close to anyone) that cut too close to the core, and Barbra cried on camera.
The interview began with Mike Wallace and Barbra walking through the old New York neighborhood where she lived as a young performer.
Wallace: Did you believe 30 years ago when you slept there that you were going to be Barbra Streisand?
Streisand: I knew that ever since I was seven years old.
Wallace: You really did?
Streisand: It just had to be. Yeah, there was no other way for me to be.
Wallace then sat down with Streisand for an in-depth interview. He soon began badgering her.
Wallace: You know something? I really didn't like you back 30 years ago.
Streisand: How come?
Wallace: And I don't think you liked me either.
Streisand: I thought you were mean. I thought you were very mean.
Wallace: I didn't think that you paid much attention to me because you were totally self- absorbed back 30 years ago...
Streisand: Wait, wait, wait. I resent this. I resent this. You invite me as a guest on your show and ... We would talk about all kinds of subjects that interested me, right? So you were using me as a guest on your show to talk.
Streisand: Now how do you dare call me self-involved?
Wallace: Self-involved is one thing. Self-absorbed is... You know something? 20 or 30 years of psychoanalysis, I say to myself, "what is it that she's trying to find out that takes 20 to 30 years?"
Streisand: I'm a slow learner.
Wallace: How many years have you been in psychotherapy?
Streisand: Why do you sound so accusatory?
Wallace highlighted the psychotherapy comments by showing clips from The Prince of Tides — in which Streisand played a psychiatrist. Later, after sitting down with Barbra's mother Diana Kind, Wallace dug deeper with Streisand.
Wallace: You know what your mother told me about her relationship with you?
Wallace: She says you haven't "got time to be close to anyone," and...
Streisand: She said "to anyone," or did she say to her?
Wallace: "To anyone."
In 2006, Wallace told Access Hollywood: “We were good friends prior to that interview. Barbra Streisand was upset because I made her cry.”
On a later broadcast of 60 Minutes, Mike Wallace offered Barbra an on-camera apology: “Barbra, I do apologize. I have nothing in the world but respect and admiration for you.”
An unaired portion of the interview was footage of Wallace and Streisand getting a slice of pizza in her old New York neighborhood. Below, at the pizza shop counter, Barbra's manager Marty Erlichman watches.
“I don't know what issues [Mike Wallace] has unresolved with his own mother ... Even though the show was painful at moments, it was spontaneous, it was alive. People got a chance to see who he was as well as who I am.”
— Barbra Streisand, February 6, 1992 interview with Larry King.
In 2016, when Barbra was interviewed on CBS This Morning, she told correspondent Anthony Mason her feelings about this interview: “I hated it, ” she said. “The feeling of what a woman probably feels when she's date-raped, although not as bad. That's worse, of course ... I called [Wallace] up and I said ‘Why would you do that?’”
Streisand was irritated more when she heard Wallace's response to critical mail about the interview on the following week's 60 Minutes show. “We also heard from Miss Streisand,” he said to the camera. “She loved it.”
“That!” Streisand explained in 2016. “That was the stab. He said I loved it when I said I hated it? It was a lie.”
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