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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore: One-on-One with Barbra Streisand
Aired December 30, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Barbra Streisand exclusive. We'll take you inside her incredible Malibu estate.
BARBRA STREISAND, AWARD-WINNING ARTIST: So, yes, this is the house of my dreams.
KING: And we'll talk Obama and Clinton.
STREISAND: Well, I'm very happy that he's being appreciated now. He's a great president.
KING: How the Fockers finally won her over. And her crusade against women's cardiac disease. This woman has heart.
The legendary Barbra Streisand for the hour is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are delighted to be at the home of the incredible, which is the only word to describe her, Barbra Streisand, the Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning entertainer, sing, actress, director and activist. And those -- those are words are all there are that we have in the business.
She sold more than 71 million albums. Her latest, "Love is the Answer," just nominated for a Grammy. And recently became a best- selling author with her debut book, "My Passion for Design." And we are in the red room in the house that is the subject of that.
This is more than a house. It's a barn. It's a main house. A grandma's house. A chicken coop. Is this the house of your dreams?
STREISAND: Yes, I would say so. Coming from an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And then another apartment that was a railroad flat when I was 19 years old. So yes, this is the house of my dreams, yes. The houses of my dreams.
KING: Was it as tough to put together as it appears?
STREISAND: Well, actually, this main house I put together in three days. Because -- that's why I love this house so much. Because it was basically built. And all I had to do was decorate it. And I did it in three days. Because when you love things, when you love your collection of things, like a four poster bed or whatever it is, you know, it fits. It fits most everywhere. So I was able to take things from my house that I sold in town and storage and fill it up and it felt like I lived here for years after three days.
KING: Are you a designer by nature?
STREISAND: Yes, I think so. I think so.
KING: Do you think if you didn't have all this talent, you'd have been a designer?
STREISAND: Probably. Yes. I was once going to be a hat designer when I was young, when I made rounds as an actress and couldn't get any work. And --
KING: Why do you like it so much?
STREISAND: Well, composition and graphics and order, symmetry, appeal to me. They satisfy my -- my mind. My eyes. My heart. I don't know. Maybe it's because my mother -- you know, we lived with slipcovers out of plastic.
KING: I know the bit.
STREISAND: You know the bit? With the newspapers on the floor?
KING: That's right. Don't sit there.
STREISAND: Right. With the lamp shades covered with the plastic? It never appealed to me. I always thought it was so awful that I guess in rebellion for that, I don't know how I quite developed this sense of what seem to be beautiful to me.
KING: Why did you decide to do a book about it?
STREISAND: Well, I was going to direct a movie and it fell through. And I guess I needed my creative process to work, and so I decided to work on a book about it. Because I had taken about 57,000 pictures of the house in process.
KING: They're all your pictures in this book?
STREISAND: Not all. I'd say three quarters of the book are my pictures. So I was documenting the process. And then when things are beautiful to me I like to capture them. On film.
And so my rose garden or, you know, a particular arch. The stone work. Whatever it is. You know, woodwork. I just had to take the pictures. And then I thought, well, I'm halfway there practically. So this took two years, this book. KING: It shows it. It's a great book.
STREISAND: Really? Oh good.
KING: What do you want the reader to get?
STREISAND: Well, that it's not so easy to build. It's a difficult process. I know a lot of people love it. And they say that -- they go away actually and the builder builds it and they love it.
You know, for me, I guess I have such particular sense of detail of things that should be as I want them to look and so I had to be there. I had to --
KING: You think --
STREISAND: I had to draw. I had to --
KING: Think you could have been an architect, too?
STREISAND: Well, if I went to architecture school.
KING: Yes, I mean --
STREISAND: Yes, yes. I love architecture, especially around the turn of the century, when so many great architects were working at the same time.
STREISAND: Like, for instance, Greene & Greene, who worked in California, and had such an inimitable sense of identity. How they saw things. The construction. The pegs. The roundness. The appreciation of Japanese and Chinese architecture.
KING: They wanted me to ask you about a Tiffany lamp story. What's the Tiffany lamp story?
STREISAND: Just because in the book there's a page of talking about my compulsion to -- as a collector, you know, I had to have -- had to find -- because part of the fun is the search for these things. So Tiffany had made the most beautiful base out of large red turtleback glass and mosaics. The colors of the rainbow. And this beautiful peony shade.
And when I was having an auction of all my Art Nouveau things and art deco things to go into arts and crafts, I put this lamp up for sale with many others. And I always regretted it because -- and as I say in the book, I made a mistake.
I should have given it to a museum. A, so that people could enjoy it. And that I could come visit it. And so I was very disheartened about it. And so I decided -- I decided to buy it back and give it to the museum, which is what I did.
KING: That's so you. STREISAND: Of course I had to pay more than double to buy it back.
KING: I know.
STREISAND: But now it will be -- you know, there for everyone to see, including me.
KING: It is a brilliant book and it's appropriately titled, "My Passion for Design." Lots to talk about -- we're so honored she's with us on our next to last LARRY KING LIVE.
STREISAND: I'm thrilled to be there with you.
KING: Barbra has given us an incredible look inside this house. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STREISAND: This section of the house is done in the arts and crafts style. Also from the turn of the century. A Macintosh hallway leads into a library inspired by the brilliant architects Greene & Greene.
The furniture is covered in burgundy velvet. The color of a rich merlot. The lamps are by Tiffany. The stained glass door was inspired by the Gamble House. It leads to a tiny octagonal bedroom like on a boat.
I was lucky to find an old burgundy sink for this vanity, based on an inlaid side board by Greene & Greene.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STREISAND: I've always loved barns. Ever since I can remember. They feel so American to me. And of course barns have to have chickens. Mine happen to lay green eggs.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Barbra Streisand. Remembering one of the great weeks we had in the history when she was on in the same week as the Mideast leaders.
We've had some interesting times with you.
STREISAND: Yes, yes.
KING: Barbra, over the years.
STREISAND: Yes. KING: There are points in the book, you point out several mistakes in the house. It's a very honest book. But I want to read something from the book about how a contractor got mad at you for make him change some beams. It says a lot about you.
On Page 108, if you want to read with me, folks.
"Difficult. I think it's a very misogynist attitude because when a man does this kind of thing, people go, wow, he's that great, he's precise, he really sees and cares about things, he made them change it to get it right. But as I said in a speech for women in film in 1992, a man is commanding, a woman is demanding. A man is forceful, a woman is pushy. A man is a perfectionist, a woman is a pain in the ass."
Has that changed?
STREISAND: No, not at all. No, not at all.
KING: Do you -- so therefore, when you want something done right, as opposed to a man wanting something done right, it's two different things?
STREISAND: Yes. I think so. We've come a long way. But not -- you know, we're not equal yet.
KING: So does that annoy you?
STREISAND: Well, it's funny and sad at the same time. You know? It's odd and -- yes, I guess it does annoy me. Yes.
KING: Because you must have had it all your professional life, right, in anything?
STREISAND: Yes, yes.
KING: When you did -- when you directed a film?
KING: There are male directors who are tough. But when you were tough, it must have been -- who was she to be tough?
STREISAND: Well, who says I was tough?
KING: I'm guessing you were tough.
STREISAND: No, because I mean the -- no, as a matter of fact, my -- one of my prized possessions is the cast of "Yentl" actually wrote a letter to the press that no one would print, and all of them signed it, and it was about how quietly I spoke on the set and that I smiled or -- you know, I was very friendly, of course, with the crew.
I needed them desperately to be part of the dream of the film. And care, you know? So it is odd. You know, what is tough? Because you say, you know, the light should move a little to the left? You know if a man says that that's fine. I guess it's just we're still differentiated, you know?
We are still different.
KING: Is there --
STREISAND: In a way, I'm glad Hillary Clinton wasn't the first woman president, because with this economic crisis, they would have probably blamed her gender. Rather than the eight years preceding, you know?
KING: You're probably right. Whoever gets it is going to get blamed so than the first woman, as the first black has been blamed, has he not?
STREISAND: That's right. Yes.
KING: Yes, we'll get to this a little later. Are you also, therefore, a control freak?
STREISAND: That I am. Yes, of course. But as I say in the book -- I tell a story about my friend. My good friend, Ronnie Myers's house. Architect Charles (INAUDIBLE), and everybody was so admiring of him coming into the house and saying, the wall is an eighth of an inch off and it won't work. And you have to re-plaster the wall.
And everybody thinks, well, that's, you know, the mark of a great architect. But in a sense, yes, like one contractor that I was trying to hire said, go away and I'll build the house. I said, what, are you nuts? You know? No. I had to -- I had to be there to make sure things were precise.
KING: But architects more than any other profession are the most controlling of figures, are they not? I think so. I'm sure of that. It's their baby.
STREISAND: It depends. No, no, no, this is -- no. Well, this was different because I -- you know, maybe if an architect -- as a matter of fact, I had once asked Guathme (ph) to work with me on another house, something I wanted to build, like a southern plantation with Spanish moss coming down and -- you know, from the trees.
But he said no, you have the vision. It's too strong in your head. There's nothing for me. I want it to be my creation, not yours. But that's what's so hard. You want a great builder. You want expediters to carry out your vision which I can do when I'm directing a film. Then it's perfectly fine. Because everyone respects the director.
Especially in England, by the way. When I was doing "Yentl," because they had a queen and they had a woman prime minister. So I was -- it was no big deal I was a woman director. You see?
KING: Got it. Barbra Streisand is our guest. What an honor to have her with us. And double honor to be in her home. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: I said to Barbra during the break that I didn't ran -- chose for the profession of the driver and force of the fountain head an architect, a man who would blow up his own building if it was not done the way he wanted it done. As an example --
STREISAND: As a matter of matter it's a great story because of the people trying to destroy him because the mediocre against the real visionary, you know?
KING: Architects, they're their own people. Even the mediocre architect.
STREISAND: Well, yes. I mean, the problem that I had with architects is that when they came in to check the process, sometimes they didn't see what was wrong. And there were many discrepancies that had to be changed.
KING: Let's touch some other areas. We'll get back to the book. By the way, I compliment you again on the book. It's a great book. Highly -- Christmas is here.
STREISAND: Thank you.
KING: What a gift. You're the top selling female performer in U.S. history. With all that you've done, do you ever say, I'm a little Jewish girl from Williamsburg, wow?
STREISAND: I always say it.
KING: Me, too.
STREISAND: Yes, I always find myself saying it. Isn't that funny? You know -- yes, it's funny, we went to -- kind of fundraiser for President Clinton's library -- no, foundation I think it was -- the other night. And I remember something my grandfather said about my father that I read about when my father had died, you know, many years before.
But he said, he was so smart -- about my father. He was so smart he could talk to presidents. And there I was, you know, talking to President Clinton. And I thought of it. Went through my mind, you know, that I'm talking to a president. I mean, it was --
STREISAND: And I thought, you know, that's that little girl --
KING: Two Jews from Brooklyn there. What are we doing here?
STREISAND: You never change, you know?
KING: No. So is it true that you're out of Brooklyn but Brooklyn is still in you?
STREISAND: Of course, it will always be. It will always be there. You know? A street sense. A pragmatism.
KING: Are you glad you grew up there?
STREISAND: Oh, yes, totally. People yelling out of the windows and sitting on the stoop, singing, you know? The neighbors caring about you in some way.
KING: You ever go back to Erasmus?
STREISAND: I heard it's disappeared.
KING: Is it?
KING: It's a famous high school.
STREISAND: I always gave money to it every year to support them.
KING: Because you and Neil Diamond went there at the same time, right?
STREISAND: Yes, but we didn't know each other. I think he was a grade ahead of me.
KING: Your bio says you're an actress, singer, director, writer, composer, producer, designer, author, photographer, activist --
STREISAND: Who said that?
KING: That's what your official bio --
STREISAND: My official bio.
KING: Is there any one thing of those that you identify with the most? What is -- your driver's license would say what?
KING: Good. When you think of yourself -- I asked you this once.
STREISAND: You did?
KING: Are you a singer who acts or an actor who sings?
STREISAND: An actress who sings. Yes. I mean, I really didn't start to sing but out of -- you know, a need for a job, to pay the rent. I wanted to be a classical actress. You know, Shakespeare.
STREISAND: Ipsen, Jacob. Yes, and I couldn't get a job there so I entered a talent contest and got work as a singer.
KING: Did you always know you had that voice?
STREISAND: A little bit. When I was a young girl, I kind of -- yes, I was the kid on the block with a good voice.
KING: You ever amazed at your own voice? You have an amazing voice.
STREISAND: I'm critical. I'm self-critical. So --
KING: Of the way you sing?
STREISAND: Well, I just never paid that much attention to it. And after I was doing this house, you know, I was singing and I had to record. I was singing with a kind of hoarse voice because I was talking over buzz saws every day and dust and hammering, you know, for six -- five, six years. So --
KING: I tell you a compliment a Catholic priest told me once. The best -- you want to hear best record of "Silent Night"? Streisand's record of "Silent Night."
STREISAND: Wow. That is lovely. Because last night we were at a party and we were all singing "Silent Night," and I said to David Foster, I said -- because he played some remember beautiful chords, I said that I remember beautiful chords that Peter Matz had written for the arrangement of "Silent Night" in the middle of Central Park on a hot summer night.
KING: Everyone should hear that recording.
STREISAND: Yes. It's on "The Happening at Central Park" album I think.
KING: So many things to talk about with Barbra Streisand. And this historic week personally for me.
Going to tour again?
STREISAND: Not sure. Part of me wants to go to places I've never been. That's where I'd go, you know? Around the world. Kind of a good excuse --
KING: You'll sing in Vegas again?
STREISAND: I never say never but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't.
KING: Are you still very self-critical about your singing? You've told me in the past that you've always wondered, did I get it?
STREISAND: I'm less perfectionistic about that.
STREISAND: About my singing. I don't know. Because it's human. In other word, as a person gets older, their vocal cords get older. And so I can't expect the same sound, you know, all the time. So -- but it is fun. You know, the -- you said before that I was up for a Grammy this year for "Love is the Answer." Do you know, I love numerology because when I got my last Grammy, it was 24 years ago.
I was born on the 24th. And I said that -- I had my son when I was 24. And my lucky number was 24. And the day that the Grammys were on, 24 years ago, I really didn't think I would win against Madonna, Tina Turner, Cindy Lauper and there was another person.
I didn't think I'd win. Except for the fact that it was February 24th. The day of those Grammys. And I won. For the Broadway album. And I said in that speech, you know, who knows, maybe 24 years from now, I'll be up for another Grammy. And here it is, 24 years later.
Isn't that funny?
KING: That --
STREISAND: That is funny.
KING: That's funny.
KING: Frank Sinatra told me that right before he goes on, he still gets that little, "will I have it?" Is it there?
KING: Do you have that, too?
STREISAND: Yes, god yes. I used to have total stage fright. You know, that's why I didn't sing for a long time. But there's always that feeling of -- you know, yes, will I make those high notes? Will the audience be really receptive? Will my feet hurt? Everything. You know it's all --
KING: Stage fright? You got stage fright?
STREISAND: Oh, yes. Yes.
KING: Of what?
STREISAND: Because when I sang -- when I sang in front of 135,000 people and the free concert in -- in Central Park, 1967, I forgot the words to three of my songs. And that was it for me. I never sang professionally -- meaning where I charged for the tickets.
I did it for charity, you know, and political things. But for 27 years I didn't sing. Until I went back to the MGM Grand in 1993 --
KING: Because of those mistakes and --
STREISAND: Yes, uh-huh. I just -- until they developed teleprompters. That's what it was.
STREISAND: When I did the 1986 concert in my backyard for the Democrats? And they had developed teleprompters. But the funny thing was they were standing on the ground, and I was singing "America the Beautiful," and the people stood up in front of the teleprompters. And it totally freaked me out. So I forgot the words. I kept moving around the stage to see the teleprompters.
So we had to use actually that performance from the night before, the dress rehearsal, when there was nobody there.
KING: You mentioned the Democrats. Were you always -- were you politically active as a kid?
STREISAND: Well --
KING: Did you give out flyers on the streets in Brooklyn?
STREISAND: No, no. But about 1968 -- whenever I started campaigning for Bella Abzug --
KING: Height of the Vietnam War?
STREISAND: Yeah. Yeah. I was very much against that war. So I did campaign, even went on the back of a truck with a bull horn. And thank God she won. I was even campaigning for a Republican, Mayor Lindsay, who was very --
KING: why do you think you particular -- so many people in your business are active. Why are you singled out more than most? The right winger radio hosts will often refer to Barbra Streisand. Why do you think?
STREISAND: Woman? Big mouth? I don't know. Speaks what she feels? Or if they feel I have any influence, which I don't know -- I could be influencing one person, I don't know, you know?
KING: But you are --
STREISAND: What do you think?
KING: I don't know why. I guess you're controversial. Maybe because you have such talent that your talent is so overwhelming --
STREISAND: I have no idea.
KING: -- that all people think, well, what is she butting into this business? STREISAND: Well, that's as if you're not an American citizen first. First and foremost, I am an American citizen. And, you know, it was Teddy Roosevelt who talked about what makes America great is the fact that we have an obligation to speak out about what we feel about our government, as citizens.
KING: Our guest is Barbra Streisand. We'll talk about President Obama. I want to talk about her work with women and heart disease as well. And more about her book after this.
KING: Has Obama -- President Obama disappointed you?
STREISAND: At first, maybe a little, because I would have liked to have him use his executive privilege to -- if that's possible legally -- you know, to get rid of something like Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I think people admire real strength, even though it's misguided, you know?
Reagan, first George Bush -- no, the second George Bush I mean. He is -- you know, he has an open mind. He has an open heart. And --
STREISAND: Obama. And he's cool. And he's very smart.
KING: Is there a but coming?
STREISAND: Well, I had wished -- I even left town. I went to Europe because of this last election. I couldn't face -- I didn't want to be here for this bloodbath. There was no reason for the Republicans to win that many seats in the House, I didn't think. And that was a -- you know, a mistake on the Democrats' part for not getting their message across, not communicating all that they've done that's good.
KING: What do you think of this deal to permit the tax decreases for the wealthy in return for the other things?
STREISAND: Well, I think it's unfair but necessary. I mean, in other words, to get the Republicans to extend unemployment benefits, you know, which they only gave for 13 months, as compared to two years of extending tax cuts for the wealthy.
I mean, I'm one of those people who are going to benefit, as I'm sure you are, but it's not fair to working people in America. It's just not fair. So -- but I think, you know, hearing President Clinton also say that this is the best we can do now, I think that's true.
KING: When he spoke the other day, when Obama introduced him, said he'd speak briefly and he did 35 minutes.
STREISAND: Did he do 35 minutes?
KING: There are many say that we miss him. You miss Clinton?
STREISAND: Oh, well --
KING: As a president?
STREISAND: I'm so glad he's coming into being appreciated. You know, he had eight years of great prosperity. And he raised taxes on the wealthy. And he left us with 22 or more million jobs and a surplus.
KING: Largest in history.
STREISAND: Oh, yeah, yeah. So I'm very happy that he's being appreciated now. He's a great president. And we need -- you know, we need strong leadership.
KING: You think we'll see Don't Ask, Don't Tell end?
STREISAND: I'm not so sure in the near future. But I think it should go. Can you imagine, you have citizens who want to die for their country? They want to fight for freedom. They want to fight for their country, and are willing to die for their country, and they're not allowed to?
You know, it's interesting, because I think Allen Touring (ph) I think his name was, he broke the code in World War II.
KING: Japanese code, yeah.
STREISAND: Right? He was gay.
STREISAND: George Washington's second in command was gay. What is the big deal? What is the big deal? Why should anyone's sexuality, you know, prevent them from being a great soldier?
KING: I guess they think that because there would be, for want of a better term, fraternization among the troops.
STREISAND: No. I think according to most of the generals, that's not true. That's not true.
KING: Will you -- will you support Obama again?
STREISAND: Oh, of course, yeah. I admire him. And I think he's -- you know, he avoided a huge financial crisis. People think this is bad. What it might have been, you know, a full-on depression. The health care thing is wonderful. I don't know why it's being put down.
I mean, can you imagine? Preexisting conditionings and making the change in age to cover children up to 26 years old? Please.
KING: I want to talk about women and heart disease next. You may be surprised what you're going to hear. Don't go away.
(BEGNI VIDEO CLIP) STREISAND: Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. It's the leading cause of death for women worldwide. Now, more women die from heart disease than men.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: If someone said right now, someone's having a heart attack out there, we'd all expect it to be a man. The odds are equal, maybe more so, it would be a woman.
STREISAND: Well, did you know that more women die of heart disease now than men do?
KING: And more women have it than have breast cancer.
STREISAND: Well, for every woman who dies of breast cancer, ten die of heart disease. Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. And that's what I was shocked to find out. That's why I got so interested in this, that research about women's heart disease has been done on men for the last 50 years.
Well, that's ridiculous. We have a different physiology.
KING: You've launched a 10 million dollar fund-raising effort. My wife attended the luncheon that you held to kick that off. You will personally match the first five million. People can donate at CrowdRise.com --
STREISAND: No, Crowd Rise.
STREISAND: It's been so wonderful. Well, because I think it's so unfair. It seems to be so much easier to raise money for cancer than it is for heart disease, when it's the number one killer of women in the world, not even just in our country.
KING: Why do you think that has been done? Some say because when women go to the cardiologist, to the doctor, with a chest pain, it's regarded as sort of like you're having a bad stomach. They don't get treated immediately, as quickly.
STREISAND: Women could have totally different symptoms than men. They don't have to have a pain down their left arm. They could be nauseous and it could be a sign of a heart attack. And 40 percent of women actually die in their first heart attack.
KING: What do you want people to do?
STREISAND: As I said, I thought Obama kind of set a rule how he raised money with the Internet, small donations, not from rich people necessarily. My point is if everybody who cares about a woman in their life, whether it's their wives, their daughters, their sisters -- if everyone sent in a dollar, five dollars, whatever they can afford, you know, think of how many lives we could save. I mean, because we need this research. We need stem cell research for hearts. And there's amazing things going on now with growing a heart, a human heart, in a petri dish. Guess what, it's female stem cells that find their way to become any organ, you know, in the body, rather than males. Male stem cells tend to get lost. Is that funny?
KING: Are you making a comment?
STREISAND: Yeah, slight, slightly. But it's such exciting things going on. But it all needs funds.
KING: So you're matching the first five million?
STREISAND: Oh, yeah. Then I'll do more too. Yeah.
KING: Let's hope it works. Let's hope we -- you know, I have a foundation that helps people who can't afford it to get heart medicine. We help as many women as men. Babies too.
STREISAND: Babies too.
KING: Babies have heart problems.
STREISAND: Oh, that's great, that's great.
KING: OK, why do you do "The Focker" movies? And the newest one "Little Fockers" is coming next week.
STREISAND: Because it's a short-term job. I mean, when I'm lazy and I'm doing other things.
KING: How'd they come to you?
STREISAND: The first time?
KING: Yeah. I mean, I would imagine, let's call up Barbra Streisand to play Ben Stiller's mother?
STREISAND: Yeah, well, I guess -- I don't know, I guess they wanted me.
KING: Did you like it right away?
STREISAND: No, I think I turned it down at first. And then -- then it sort of came together. I thought it would be a bit of fun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STREISAND: What is that? That is your own personal yarmulke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of those little Jewish hats. Cute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that you're into that genealogy stuff.
STREISAND: We thought it would be fun to trace your lineage all the way back. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It turns out, Jack T. Burns, that you are one twenty third Israelite.
STREISAND: Welcome to the tribe, Jack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you enjoy watching it?
STREISAND: I never watch -- no, I don't watch any movies I made unless I have to.
KING: Why not?
STREISAND: Ben did. Ben called me to be his mom. Oh, yeah, she remembers.
KING: A lady -- Ben called and said be my mother?
STREISAND: Yeah, it's funny, because I knew his parents actually in the old days, you know?
KING: The best.
STREISAND: Yeah, yeah. It was kind of a funny idea. And Dustin and I go back to acting school together, when I was --
KING: Wanted to be an actress?
STREISAND: 18. No, lower -- 17, 16.
KING: Did you find them fun to do?
STREISAND: Well, it depends what you call fun. It's all hard work. You have to get up early in the morning. You have to put makeup on and wigs and all that. But while we're on the stage, while we're, you know, working together and -- especially with Dustin, we love to improvise together. So we play.
And the director, Jay Roach, who did the first one, loved it, so he encouraged that. We still do it now.
KING: What makes Deniro so good at comedy?
STREISAND: It's because he's an actor who uses the truth. And whenever you use the truth, it's funny and sad. I mean, it works in both mediums. The truth is what works.
KING: We'll be back with more of Barbra Streisand. Don't go away.
KING: Barbra, before I ask you about a couple other things, you're so passionate about Obama, you wanted to even add a couple things. A better pitch.
STREISAND: I mean, that he appointed the first Latino to the Supreme Court and a woman. You know? So that was incredible. I have a list of 32 things that I could read to you about what he's done that's great, and especially the tax cuts for 95 percent of middle America. How come he's not getting more credit for that?
KING: I gather you're going to stump for him. I mean, if he asked you to go out, you would go out?
STREISAND: Sure. Absolutely.
KING: How has your marriage --
STREISAN: By the way -- no, the other thing is, I mean, the idea of the stimulus and how he was fought on that and how it's paying off and the economy is recovering. And I was on television yesterday. I see Citigroup paid back their loan and a 12 billion dollar profit. GM also is paying back the profit. That's to the American taxpayers.
KING: The perception can be improved.
STREISAND: The perception. They're not selling the message right, and it's the truth. Sell the good stuff.
KING: Well said. How's you and Brolin work, huh?
STREISAND: It's been 14 years.
KING: What's the --
STREISAND: How long have you been married?
STREISAND: So we're more than you.
KING: What's the secret?
STREISAND: He does his thing in one room and I do mine in another. I don't know. You know, opposites attract.
KING: They're definitely opposite, right?
STREISAND: I think so. Yeah.
KING: He's more laid back than you.
STREISAND: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Much more laid back than me.
KING: Josh Brolin has like taken off.
STREISAND: Isn't that great? I just saw him in "True Grit" and he was wonderful in that. He's wonderful in everything he does. And I have a very talented son. He's not in the headlines, but --
KING: But he directs, too.
STREISAND: He has, and acted. And now he's into music and pottery. Do you remember when he was born?
KING: I remember when he was born. Back with our remaining -- goes too fast.
STREISAND: I know. Please.
KING: Back with our remaining moments with Barbra. Don't go away.
STREISAND: We're back with our remaining moments with Barbra Streisand at her lovely home. This is a great book. You wanted to add the Republicans are having too good a year. Barbra wanted to add something, one thing more about them.
STREISAND: I was totally shocked at the people voting against their own self-interest. Most people are not wealthy. It's just the top two percent, right, that are that wealthy. So I couldn't understand them voting for the Republicans, who are in a sense, if you want to simplify it, are the party of for, by the corporation, rather than the Democrats who are for and by the people, the working people.
So it just -- it confuses me. Do you know the answer as to why people vote that way?
KING: No. I just ask questions. I don't have answers.
STREISAND: Yeah, I don't understand. Especially since the Republicans left us with a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit. So --
KING: Who knows? You can figure it out. You're better than me.
STREISAND: I'll call you if I can ever figure it out.
KING: A couple other quick things. Why is there no second A in your name?
STREISAND: Well, I wanted to be the only Barbra. How could I be the only Barbra? There's millions of Barbaras. When I was 18 years old, I didn't want to change my name to Joan Sands or something like that, which people recommended I do.
STREISAND: Yes. So have your nose cut off, you know, change your name, so forth, sing different songs. So I decided, oh, if I took out one A, I would be Barbra. Still Barbra, but it would be more original.
KING: Barbra, it's always a delight being in your presence.
STREISAND: Oh, thank you.
KING: Talking with you.
STREISAND: I like you too, a lot. And I wish you well. I wish you well. We're going to miss you.
KING: Hope I didn't upset any makeup.
STREISAND: Oh, God no. No, no, no.
KING: Barbra Streisand, the book is "My Passion for Design," available everywhere books are sold.
STREISAND: Oh, thank you so much.
KING: Tomorrow night will be the last night of LARRY KING LIVE. There will be -- by the way, for two weeks. they're going to show highlight shows right through New Year's Eve. And then we'll be doing specials and you'll be hearing lots from us. But tomorrow night -- so you are our next-to-last.
STREISAND: Oh, lovely. Thank you.
KING: "AC 360" and Anderson Cooper are next.