A cool $100,000 to dine chez Barbra Streisand

Singer and actress gives $10m of her own money to research into why heart disease kills more American women than all cancers put together

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The Independent Online

A cool $100,000 per couple may seem a stiff price to pay for a night out, even if it is for a dinner and concert at the Malibu home of Barbra Streisand. But there was no shortage of well-heeled takers for the event in aid of the singer's special project: research into heart disease among women.

In an elegant white tent at her ocean-front compound, Streisand sang and the former president Bill Clinton spoke to a crowd gathered to raise funds for the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Centre. The singer donated $10m to create the research and treatment facility at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles and solicited million-dollar donations from wealthy friends she called personally. Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom, Ron Meyer, the head of NBC Universal, the designer Donna Karan and actors Josh Brolin (Streisand's stepson) and Diane Lane were among the donors and guests.

Streisand said she was motivated to contribute to women's heart health because she "can't stand inequality, whether it's about civil rights, gay rights or gender discrimination".

Heart disease kills more American women each year than all cancers combined, but most of the research on the disease for the past five decades has been conducted on men. "Even in scientific research, women are still treated as second-class citizens," the singer said.

Mr Clinton saluted Streisand for her commitment to women's health.

"I never thought anybody could care about more things than I care a lot about," he said. "Unless your heart has been taken out of your body, you need to care about this."

The singer Josh Groban performed before the host took the stage. Streisand sang four songs, including "Evergreen", which she dedicated to Mr Clinton. He told her in 1992 that it was his favourite song of hers, and she sang it at his inauguration.

Streisand, who celebrated her 70th birthday in April, is the highest-selling female artist of all time, having sold more than 70 million records. She was supported at the event by her second husband, James Brolin, with whom she lives on the $100m cliff-top estate in Malibu.

The star marked herself out as a philanthropist when her 1994 album tour, The Concert, raised more than $10m for charities supporting Aids, vulnerable women and children, and Jewish relations with Arab and African-American communities.