Barbra Streisand reflects on the way things were while being honored at the SAG Awards

Dressed in black and gold with prepared notes confidently held in her gloved hands — knowing well enough to not trust the teleprompters — Barbra Streisand delivered a speech after being honored with the SAG Life Achievement Award that brought theater kid Anne Hathaway, among many other celebrities in attendance, to tears.

Reflecting on her early days growing up in Brooklyn, where her mother advised her to learn how to type as she didn’t feel she had the looks of someone who could make it in Hollywood, Streisand said “she didn’t listen,” which worked out for the best, for all of us.

“And somehow, someway, it all came true,” she continued in her reflection on that leap that began it all, mentioning William Wyler, the director of her first film, “Funny Girl,” and his cinematographer Harry Stradling as being her earliest champions who had no problem working with a woman who had opinions and who never, ever put her down.

Saying she prefers the world of movies over that of reality, she gave thanks to the privilege of being able to be a part of an industry that allows people to sit in a theater and escape their troubles for a few hours.

“I can’t help but think back to the people who built this industry,” she said. “Ironically, they were also escaping their own troubles. Men like Szmuel Gelbfisz, who changed his name to Samuel Goldwyn. Lazar Meir, who became Louis B. Mayer. And the four Wonsal brothers, who became Warner Brothers. They were all fleeing the prejudice they faced in Eastern Europe, simply because of their religion. And they were dreamers too, like all of us here tonight. And now I dream of a world where such prejudice is a thing of the past.”

Listen to her full speech here.


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