Thursday, July 18, 2024

Barbra Streisand Talks for First Time About Affair with Joan Collins’ Composer Husband Anthony Newley


Barbra Streisand’s book, “My Name is Barbra,” is full of stories about past romances. Some went well, some didn’t. One in particular that was a bust and snakes its way through the book is about Charlie Chaplin’s son, Sidney (you can read it in the book).

One short lived affair was with Joan Collins’ husband, Anthony Newley, while Streisand was married to Elliott Gould. The couples, she says, separated during this time but it’s pretty clear Barbra and Newley started up before those decisions were finalized. Indeed, Streisand had such a crush on the composer of “What Kind of Fool Am I?” that she made a play for him at a party.

Joan gave a party for Tony’s thirty-sixth birthday at their house on Summit Drive. And I did something I never do. People were standing up and giving little speeches. So I got up and sang the first line of “People,” but I changed the words to “Newley . . . people who need Newley . . . are the luckiest people in the world.” All I sang was that one phrase, but the fact that I even had the desire to do it should have been a dead giveaway, at least to me . . .

That got the ball rolling. Newley was on top of the world, having co-written the lyrics to “Goldfinger.” Later he and Lesley Briscusse wrote the songs from “Willy Wonka” including “Pure Imagination.” He was a versatile British entertainer who was on TV, in films, and on Broadway all the time.

Barbra writes:

I had heard Tony liked younger women. He called himself a bad boy, and I suppose he was, in a way. And I’ve always had a weakness for bad boys …Tony had left school at fourteen and become an actor and a musician. So he and I had similar temperaments, with the added enticement that he was just different enough for me to be attracted to him. With all his charisma and sexuality, Tony was a force that women gravitated to. That’s the thing about men who are promiscuous . . . they’re even more tempting because they present a challenge. You think, Can I be the one to change him into a one-woman guy? Would he love me enough to do that? So Tony and I “opened Pandora’s box, and released a torrent that will rend our worlds or bind us together forever,” as he wrote in a book of poems he gave me. It was a wonderful affair.

He would often sign his letters with “Love, Simon.” I didn’t know it then, but I later found out that was the name of his first child, with his second wife (Joan was his third, and she and I are still friends). The boy was born with severe defects and only lived six weeks. Now I understand why he chose to call himself by his son’s name. He was still living with that pain. Tony clearly had his demons, as most creative people do. And he did hurt me. He did something that really upset me, and it changed the way I felt about him. I was angry and refused to talk to him. So that was the end of our relationship. I loved that he loved the child in me, but he didn’t take care of the woman in me.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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