How Barbra Streisand Inspired Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Barbra Streisand has had a massive impact on pop culture. For example, she helped inspire one of the songs from Disney’s classic musical Beauty and the Beast. Here’s a look at Streisand’s various connections to the film.

Barbra Streisand wearing lipstick
Barbra Streisand | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The connection Barbra Streisand had to the star of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Streisand had an impact on one of the main actors in Beauty and the Beast: Paige O’Hara. O’Hara appeared as Belle in the film as well as several other Disney projects. During an interview with Media Mikes, Mike Gencarelli asked her if she had been singing for her whole life. “Yes, pretty much so,” O’Hara recalled. “As little kid, I was in acting class. I would sing and dance around the living room with my mom to show records, in particular Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, and Ella Fitzgerald. I probably realized around 10 or 11 years old that I actually had a voice.”

This ‘Beauty and the Beast’ lyric was inspired by Barbra Streisand

Streisand’s music would come into play during the creation of the film. One of the songs in the movie is “Something There,” a ballad where Belle expresses her growing affection for the Beast. Like many Disney songs from its era, “Something There’ was co-written by Alan Menken. According to Entertainment Weekly, O’Hara kept singing a “dreamy version” of the lyric “New and a bit alarming.” Menken then instructed her to sing the line as Streisand would. O’Hara then sang the word “alarming” like “a-LAR-ming.” This gave the lyric a touch of irony it did not have prior.

“Something There”

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How the world reacted to the movie’s soundtrack

The world reacted well to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, which includes “Something There.” The soundtrack reached No. 19 on the Billboard 200. Like many other songs from the film, it was also included on the soundtrack of the Beauty and the Beast remake starring Emma Watson. The soundtrack from the remake reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200.

How ‘Beauty and the Beast”s producer reacted to meeting Barbra Streisand at the Oscars

Streisand’s connection to Beauty and the Beast did not end there. Producer Don Hahn gave an interview to The Guardian where he discussed the reception to the film upon its release in 1991. “Everywhere it showed, there was an outpouring of appreciation,” he recalled.

A trailer for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

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“Later, when they announced the Oscar nominations, it was like an out-of-body experience: Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture,” he recalled. “I tossed my coffee away and went running around the garden in my underwear. When you get into animation, you just think you’re going to sit in dark rooms and make funny drawings. You don’t expect to be going to the Oscars and sitting next to Barbra Streisand.” Being near Streisand at the Oscars was a great honor for Hahn — and “Something There” wouldn’t be the same without her.