Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand’s marriage a capital secretE
Everybody seems to know that actor and Academy Award nominee Elliott Gould and award-winning singer and actress Barbra Streisand once were married.
Yet, virtually nobody knows — except Streisand’s biographers — where the wedding was performed. Many claim the couple was married in New York City, and others say Las Vegas. Neither location is correct. While both Gould and Streisand hailed from Brooklyn and their careers took them to Las Vegas, the nuptials actually occurred in ther state capital, Carson City.
The two aspiring young entertainers first met while rehearsing for producer David Merrick’s “I Can Get It For You Wholesale,” which opened on Broadway on March 22, 1962, and ran for some nine months. Gould, 23, born Elliott Goldstein, played the leading man. However, the 19-year old Streisand stole the show (and the leading man) in a minor role as a secretary. She won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for her comedy and singing performance.E
“I must admit,” Gould recalled in a Playboy interview in November 1970, “that the happiest memories I have of Barbra are when we were living together before we were married.”
Streisand’s career soared. She gained huge popularity in club and showroom appearances throughout the United States, and on television programs, including the “Ed Sullivan Show” and “Tonight” with Johnny Carson.
Within two weeks of the release of her first album for Columbia Records in February 1963, Streisand was the top-selling female vocalist in the country.
On Monday, Sept. 9, 1963, Streisand was the opening act for piano virtuoso Liberace at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Shore Room. She was touted as “the nation’s newest singing sensation … who comes to Tahoe from a record-smashing engagement at Hollywood’s Coconut Grove.” In July, Streisand had first performed with Liberace at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.
On Friday, Sept. 13, Pete Supera, Carson City justice of the peace, presided over the secret wedding of Elliott Gould, 25, and the 21-year-old Barbra Joan Streisand. The certificate of marriage was filed on Monday, Sept. 16, at 9:58 a.m. in the Carson City Clerk-Recorder’s Office. The media failed to uncover the story.
“There was no press, no spectacle,” wrote biographer Randall Riese in “Her Name is Barbra” (1993). “Not even an announcement. After all, as far as almost everyone knew, Barbra and Elliott Gould had been married for at least six months.”EE
Earlier in the year, Barbra had told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter that she and Gould were married (“Streisand, Her Life,” by James Spada, 1995).
The witnesses to the Carson City wedding were New York City residents Martin Erlichman — Streisand’s personal manager who became a movie producer, producing one film, “For Pete’s Sake” (1977), starring Streisand — and Martin Bregman, Streisand’s business manager, who went on to produce films such as “Serpico” in 1973, “Scarface” in 1983, and “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” in 2002, starring Eddie Murphy.E
Streisand’s name quickly became a household word. Unfortunately, Gould’s career did not keep pace, and he understandably did not like being called “Mr. Streisand.” A son, Jason, born to them in 1966 did not salvage the marriage. By 1969, their many issues, including his gambling and her extramarital affairs, led to a separation. E
Gould received an Oscar nomination for his breakthrough role in “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice” (1969), filmed in part in Las Vegas; appeared as Trapper John in TV’s “M*A*S*H” (1970); and produced and starred in “Little Murders” (1971). His long-awaited success did nothing to heal the broken relationship. Gould and Streisand obtained a quickie divorce in the Dominican Republic on June 30, 1971.
“I was very young, she was very young,” Gould later reminisced, “and we went as far as we could together.”
Gould starred in “California Split” (1974), shot in Reno. His latest motion picture appearance is the remake of “Ocean’s Eleven” (2002), filmed in Las Vegas. He has an ongoing role on the TV show “Friends.” E
Streisand’s career has been phenomenal, She is one of the few entertainers who can boast that she has won at least one each Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Golden Globe and Emmy. The superstar has produced, directed, and co-written films. Her concerts are consistently sold out in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Streisand is arguably one of the most powerful and independent women in show business. E
And to think Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould once found their way to Carson City to get married.
Guy Rocha is the state’s assistant administrator of archives and records for the Nevada State Library and Archives.