Here's one sure way to incite Barbra Streisand's wrath: Write a book about her.
Christopher Anderson has learned that with his recently published biography, "Barbra: The Way She Is." Streisand has retaliated not with interviews or public statements, but by way of the Internet. On her Web site, she has issued a response she titles "Does the Truth Matter These Days?"
"Normally, I would not dignify vicious, mean-spirited mythology masquerading as biography," she begins. "But it seems this latest rehash of other unauthorized biographies is getting a lot of attention.
"Who is the person described in this book? From what has been told to me, certainly not anyone I know. This stereotypic image bears little resemblance to me or anything about me."
Streisand adds that none of her close friends or professional co-workers had been sources for the book. Indeed, her intimates, co-stars and major directors are missing from the author's account of contributors.
"A few of them spoke off the record," Anderson responded, talking from his Connecticut home. "Karl Malden and Estelle Parsons offered interesting insights, as did people who worked with her — singers, musicians, composers."
Streisand branded as "a lie" the book's allegation that she refused to attend her sister's wedding even though she was in the same city. "I was in London filming `Yentl,'" she declared.
The Web site also includes a letter from her sister Roslyn's ex-husband, Randy Stone, who said that Streisand provided her Malibu ranch for the wedding and gave the couple "a large gift of money" to start their married life.
Anderson remarked that the criticism concerned "one small detail."
"Barbra: The Way She Is" adds to the stream of unauthorized biographies about Streisand. In his list of sources, Anderson includes 27 biographies and other books relating to Streisand.
His book hit No. 15 on The New York Times list of best sellers on April 16. "That was after only four days on the market," says Anderson's public relations representative, Camille McDuffie.
Anderson has been a prolific biographer of celebrities. His 13 previous books include such titles as "American Evita: Hilary Clinton's Path to Power," "Sweet Caroline: Last Child of Camelot," "George and Laura: Portrait of an American Marriage" and "Citizen Jane."
The author, who devoted two years to the Streisand book, said he wasn't surprised by her reaction. "She made a statement years ago, `If God wrote my biography, I wouldn't like it.'
"I'd like people to know that I am a fan of Barbra's," he said. "The first gift I gave my wife when we were students at UC Berkeley in the 1960s was the soundtrack album of `Funny Girl.'"
Streisand concludes her message by saying, "I will not dignify any other untruths (beside her sister's wedding) by responding any further. Maybe it's finally time for an AUTHORIZED biography."
Dick Guttman, Streisand's publicist, said that she would have no further comment.