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Double Feature

At Brolin's Walk of Fame Ceremony, Streisand's the Star

August 28, 1998|HUGO MARTIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was supposed to be his day. After all, he was being honored for a 30-year acting career by having his name forever etched on a star in Hollywood's monument to the immortals.

But, alas, most of the sweating, gawking crowd came to see her, even though plans for her appearance were kept hush-hush.

The fans began to gather more than an hour before the ceremony. About 700 of them packed themselves five deep behind the barricades along Hollywood Boulevard. Some showed up on the off chance that she would make an appearance. Others picked up inside gossip that she would be there.

"I came to see her," Miguel Figuerola, a tourist from Arrago, Spain, said in Spanish. "I know him, but not as much."

He was actor James Brolin, winner of an Emmy and two Golden Globe awards, who Thursday became the latest celebrity to have his name stamped into the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But most eyes were on his bride, whom organizers repeatedly referred to as "Mrs. James Brolin," otherwise known as Barbra Streisand.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce did not advertise her appearance, so even reporters were not sure she would show.

A television cameraman from one of the 23 newspapers and TV stations that covered the event was overheard saying: "I would be surprised if she showed up. But then again, maybe she is thinking 'Stand by your man.' "

There was good reason for the speculation. Streisand is known for being media shy. During her July 1 wedding to Brolin, she blared heavy-metal music from speakers to keep the media hordes from eavesdropping on the ceremony.

When she was awarded her own star on the Walk of Fame in 1976, Streisand didn't even show up, apparently fearful of the crowds. A television reporter did a gag interview with her wax figure from the nearby Hollywood Wax Museum.

(Her star is in a prime location--near Mann's Chinese Theatre, one block east and across the street from Brolin's, which is in front of a hotel parking structure.)

Still, the crowd hoped for a Streisand sighting.

Tracy Bickley, a young tourist from London, had secured a good viewing spot near the sidewalk but had to ask another out-of-town visitor, Heather Poel of Michigan, to clue her in on Brolin.

"I said, 'Who is he?' and she said, 'He's married to Barbra Streisand,' " Bickley said.

Jessica Kottler, a student from Ventura, came specifically to see Brolin but was pleased to hear that Streisand might show up too.

"It just adds to the excitement," she said.

As the scheduled start of the ceremony approached, the crowd became restless. Some fans craned their necks to get an early glimpse of Brolin--and, they hoped, Streisand--from behind a concrete wall that separated the parking garage from the sidewalk.

"I see blond hair, but I can't tell," one fan said.

"I saw a nose," said another. "I saw a nose."

Then a door opened and out stepped Brolin, wearing a sharp double-breasted suit, with Streisand, dressed in black, on his arm.

"She looks good," said the fan who got the early fix on Streisand's nose.

During the ceremony, Streisand sat behind the podium, smiling and applauding as Brolin was repeatedly praised as being one of Hollywood's nicest guys.

Johnny Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood and longtime emcee of the Walk of Fame ceremonies, cited Brolin's Emmy Award-winning work on the television series "Marcus Welby, MD," and his starring role in "The Amityville Horror." Brolin currently stars in the television series "Pensacola: Wings of Gold." He has also directed several TV series episodes.

Streisand took the stage to boisterous applause.

"Jimmy, dear," she said to Brolin. "I'm delighted to be here today as your wife, and I think this is a well-deserved honor for you both as a director and an actor."

When he got to the podium, a tan and smiling Brolin thanked his family, his manager and his favorite director. But drew the most applause when he talked about Streisand.

"She makes me swoon and faint and get the vapors several times a day," he said.

After several minutes of posing for the cameras, Brolin and Streisand quickly disappeared behind the parking garage wall, leaving the crowd wanting more--of Streisand.

"She is just everything I thought she would be," said Kim Wilson, a nurse from Los Angeles. "He was very handsome, but she was poised and petite."

Bickley, the English native, found the whole scene very exciting.

"I thought she looked great," she said. "I still don't know who he is. He looks like just another tan, handsome Hollywood star."

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