It could’ve been like any Broadway audition: In 1962, leading man Elliott Gould was reading with actresses for the role of his secretary in the musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale when an up-and-coming 20-year-old talent named Barbra Streisand walked in.
“She did three or four songs, and she was beyond brilliant — so amazing,” Elliott recalled during the TCM Classic Film Festival in LA on April 29. Though he almost never talks about his famous marriage to one of Hollywood’s greatest legends, Elliott revealed how the bold and brassy Barbra gave him her number and asked him to come see her sing in a nightclub.
Elliott and Barbra in April 1966.
“I said, ‘I think you’re going to be in the show, and once you are, I’ll see if I can get to know you,'" he continued. And boy, was he right. “She stole the show,” Elliott, 77, said of her Tony-nominated role in Wholesale. “She is one of a kind!”
The couple lived together in a small apartment over a seafood restaurant in Manhattan and got married in 1963. Three years later, they had a son, Jason. Alas, their marriage dissolved in 1971 — but it was obvious Elliott still has fond feelings for the woman he sweetly called “my first girlfriend” while discussing their life together with TCM moderator Alec Baldwin.
Elliott and Barbra in February 1968.
Though Barbra, 74, married actor James Brolin in 1998, Elliott said he and Barbra “are still family and we love each other. We have a special relationship and kinship.”
As Barbra put it, “Once you have loved someone they become a part of what you were and therefore part of what you are. After all, how many people does one love in a lifetime?”
“What is exciting is not for one person to be stronger, but for two people to have met their match,” said Barbra (with Elliott in ’67). “The happiest memories I have of Barbra are when we were living together before we married,” Elliott said.