In an excerpt of her new memoir My Name is Barbra, published by People, Streisand explains how “people were looking for some sort of rivalry between” her and The Wizard of Oz star, who was 20 years her senior.
“And when they couldn’t find anything, they made it up,” she writes.
Nonetheless, she notes that she “found Judy to be completely generous,” reflecting on meeting her during her appearance on The Judy Garland Show in 1963.
“We sang a medley of songs, taking turns, and she wasn’t just focused on herself,” she recalls. “She watched me and responded to me. She would reach out and brush back a strand of my hair, like a mother.”
Streisand describes Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli telling her that “her mother’s first reaction on hearing me sing was to say, ‘I’m never going to open my mouth again.’”
“She was like that, very self‑deprecating,” she adds in her memoir. “And deeply vulnerable.”
She and Garland “became friends,” detailing that they “spoke on the phone” and that Garland even attended “one of the rare parties” Streisand hosted at her apartment in New York.
“And I remember her saying something I never quite understood: ‘Don’t let them do to you what they did to me,’” she recalls. “I should have asked her what she meant, but I didn’t want to appear too nosy.”
She writes that six years after they performed together, Garland “was dead at the age of forty‑seven.”
Garland died of an accidental drug overdose following a history of drug and alcohol abuse, per Variety.
“What a tragedy . . . and such a loss,” Streisand mourns. “She was an extraordinary talent.”
My Name is Barbra is out now.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.