50 years ago today, Funny Girl premiered, with Barbara Streisand making her film debut in the Academy Award-winning role of Fanny Bryce. Her famous first line, “Hello, gorgeous,” became one of the most quoted movie lines ever. Directed by William Wyler (of Roman Holiday fame), Funny Girl is considered one of the greatest musical films ever produced, featuring notable songs “People (who need people)” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”.
The story is based on the life of Broadway star and comedian Fanny Brice, and her stormy relationship with gambling businessman Nicky Arnstein. Roger Ebert said Streisand exhibited “the best timing since Mae West, and is more fun to watch than anyone since the young Katharine Hepburn.” After winning the Oscar for Best Actress, Streisand’s first comment when handed the golden statuette was “Hello, gorgeous. WATCH the trailer… (1968)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- George Washington’s farewell address to the nation advised: “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” (1796)
- American colonial soldiers won the first Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War (1777)
- 125 years ago, New Zealand law bestowed upon all women in their nation the right to vote (1893)
- The emoticon was born when Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott Fahlman proposed punctuating computer messages with a colon-hyphen-parenthesis to make a “smiley face” (1982)
- Greg Louganis suffered a head injury while qualifying for the Seoul Olympics, before going on to win two Gold medals (1988)
- The Iceman, a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3,300 BCE, was discovered by German tourists in an Alpine glacier, offering a rare glimpse into the abilities and lifestyle of men who lived in Europe 5,300 years ago (1991)
- Relief pitcher Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees became Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 602 games saved (2011)
The program, co-created by James Brooks and lasting for 7 years, was a television breakthrough, with its never-married, independent career woman as the central character. The show won 29 Emmy Awards and changed sitcoms forever when it began discussing controversial topics in a humorous way. In the third season, equal pay for women, pre-marital sex, and homosexuality were woven into the show’s comedic plots, and later, marital infidelity and divorce. In the final seasons, the show explored death (see the Chuckles the Clown funeral scene below), juvenile delinquency, infertility, adoption, and Mary’s addiction to sleeping pills. The final episode became the gold standard for how to end a show. Today, you can watch full episodes for free on YouTube.