Barbra Streisand says Yentl co-star Mandy Patinkin made her life ‘miserable’

Acting and singing legend opened up about her life and career in her new memoir, ‘My Name is Barbra’

Inga Parkel
Monday 13 November 2023 05:30 GMT
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Barbra Streisand will narrate the audio version of her autobiography

Barbra Streisand has said her Yentl co-star Mandy Patinkin made her life “miserable for months” while filming the 1983 musical rom-com.

The two co-led Streisand’s directorial debut as students who meet at a yeshiva after Yentl (Streisand) disguises herself as a boy. Yentl soon finds herself falling in love with Avigdor (Patinkin), who’s already engaged.

Streisand, 81, wrote about working alongside The Princess Bride star, 70, in her new memoir, My Name is Barbra, revealing that Patinkin, who was married, had propositioned her to have an affair.

“There was a moment, a week or so into the shoot, when Mandy and I were doing a scene in the yeshiva,” Streisand recalled. “I think he had two or three lines, but he wouldn’t look me in the eye. He just stared at my forehead.”

When she later confronted him about his behaviour, Streisand said: “His face crumpled and he said, ‘I thought we were going to have a more personal relationship.’

“‘What?’ I had no idea what he was talking about,” she continued. “[He said,] ‘I thought we were going to have an affair.’ I looked at him as if he were crazy . . . 1) I would never have an affair with an actor I was directing, 2) he was married, and 3) I wasn’t at all attracted to him. But I couldn’t tell him he was not exactly fascinating to me. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I simply said, ‘I don’t operate that way.’ Tears rolled down his cheeks.”

The Funny Girl star said that she threatened to replace the Criminal Minds alum should his “behaviour” continue. “We’re only two weeks in. I can reshoot all your scenes if you can’t be more professional. I’ve waited fifteen years to realise my dream and I will not let you destroy it,’” Streisand wrote.

Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin

“By this point Mandy had been making my life miserable for months, and I just couldn’t bear the thought of making love with him. I’m not that good an actress,” she added.

“So I changed it. I rewrote the scene. And now that I look back on it, I wonder if I allowed my frustration with Mandy to overrule my instincts. Maybe I should have let Yentl . . . and the audience . . . have that moment.”

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The Independent has contacted Patinkin’s representative for comment.

Patinkin has been married to fellow actor Kathryn Grody since 1980. Streisand, meanwhile, married Oceans Eleven star Elliott Gould in 1963 before they divorced in 1971. She then remarried to actor James Brolin in 1998.

In an interview with the BBC, ahead of the release of her nearly 1,000-page memoir, she admitted that she hasn’t had “much fun in her life”.

“I want to live life,” Streisand told the BBC’s music correspondent Mark Savage. “I haven’t had much fun in my life, to tell you the truth. And I want to have more fun.”

My Name is Barbra is out now.

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