Happy Birthday, Barbra Streisand!

life:

Happy Birthday, Barbra Streisand.

Barbra Streisand has been such a force on the entertainment scene for so long (her 1963 debut album, recorded when she was just 20, won an Album of the Year Grammy) that a glimpse back at her first years in show business offers fascinating insights into her evolution as a performer, and a person.

Here, on her 70th birthday (April 24), LIFE.com offers a window into the intense, emotionally fraught world Streisand inhabited and, in a sense, created for herself with her own outsized insecurities and perfectionism early in her career.

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