Over the course of his career, Barry Manilow has proven to be an infectious and lovable performer, one who can write songs that nearly the entire globe couldn’t help but sing along to.
The Mandy and Copacabana (At the Copa) propelled him to international stardom in the 1970s, despite the fact that early reviewers had doubted his talent.
Manilow finally revealed his sexual orientation at the age of 73, but he had kept the secret his entire life.
Today, though, he is more content than he has ever been, and he and his partner, Garry, and daughter are living the good life.
Despite Manilow’s global popularity, some have questioned whether or not he has had plastic surgery to achieve his signature look.
The 78-year-old New Yorker from Brooklyn certainly isn’t shy about speaking the truth.
Here’s all you need to know about Barry Manilow – and how he looks today.
On June 17, 1943, in Brooklyn, New York, Barry Manilow entered this world. Barry’s father, Harold, is of Irish descent, making him a half-Irish as well as a grandchild of Russian immigrants.
But that was something he learned early on not to discuss.
“The fact that Harold was an Irish truck driver was hidden from the family,” Barry told the Irish Independent.
“It was considered a terrible thing for my mother to have done. They wouldn’t even allow my name to be Kelliher. They changed it immediately.”
Barry Manilow – early life
He added: “When I was born, I was called Barry Pincus. They had to dig deep into my father’s family to find one Jewish relative. They went back to the 1800s and they found one uncle, a Jewish guy called Pincus. My mother made my father change his name to Pincus.”
His parents got divorced when he was young, and he was reared by his mother, Edna, and his grandparents.
A few short weeks before his Bar Mitzvah, he officially became a member of the Manilow family.
His grandparents thought Barry Manilow’s dad was a “monster,” but they admired his mom’s next boyfriend, who turned out to be the musical influence on their grandson. Willie Murphy, an Irish truck driver, apparently had a large record collection and frequently let Barry listen to it.
In addition, Manilow’s mom and dad pooled their resources to buy him a $800 piano, which they paid for over the course of five years. It was evidence of his mother and stepfather’s affection for him, and he was eventually able to repay their generosity.
Barry attended City University of New York before transferring to the New York Conservatory of Music. Later, he worked as a log clerk at CBS after studying musical theater at Juilliard.
Around this time, Manilow also experienced his first romantic love. He wed his high school girlfriend Susan Deixler in 1964, when he was just 21 years old. Barry thought it was far too soon to start a family after they graduated.
Commercial work with McDonald’s & Dr. Pepper
“I was in love with Susan,” he said, calling her sweet and describing her diminutive frame as having “great legs and a voluptuous figure.”
Manilow added: “I just was not ready for marriage, I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats. I was too young, I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
Apparently, Barry was having a completely different kind of dream.
He was determined to fulfill his lifelong dream of working in the entertainment industry by whatever means necessary.
Manilow was willing to risk it all for a shot at making it big in the entertainment business, which may have sounded foolish at the time.
He had been working as a songwriter and commercial jingle writer for quite some time. Lucky for him, he was featured in a Dr. Pepper commercial that “paid the rent for years.”
But it was Manilow’s rendition of the dramatic showstopper “You Deserve a Break Today” for a McDonald’s commercial that really sent him on his way to fame.
He now realizes that starting a career in commercial writing was the smartest move he ever made.
“When I lucked into writing commercials, the only way you can go up against other songwriters when you’re going for a commercial is to write the catchiest melody you can write in fifteen seconds, and if you don’t write the best one, then another songwriter will get the commercial,” Barry explained.
“And my instinct is always to write catchy melodies. I just like doing it. And so when I started to do jingles, I won a lot of them because my melodies were catchier than the other guys’ melodies.”
Barry Manilow – breakthrough with ‘Mandy’
Hee added: “But it was very helpful because when I found myself in the pop music world writing pop songs, which like I say I never really thought about doing, pop music is all about catchy melodies and hooks and choruses…Well, learning how to do that while I was writing commercials was very helpful when i wound up writing pop songs.”
“What I learned most of all in my jingle days was how to write a catchy melody,” Manilow said.
In 1973, Barry’s long-awaited debut album would be released. He attempted to get recording artists to record his tunes, but no one was interested.
Barry Manilow wasn’t an overnight sensation when he released his self-titled debut album, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a household name a year later.
“I would send my songs out but nobody wanted them because they wanted to do their own songs,” he told the Independent.
“I made my first album and it was good but I thought that was the end of that, but then Clive Davis [producer] came in and he found Mandy for me.”
As head of Arista Records, Clive Davis boasted that he had discovered a potentially successful single for Barry, Brandy. Manilow, still a new artist, didn’t know what to do with the rock ‘n’ roll original.
“In order to learn Brandy, I had slowed it down and — just because I wanted to — I’d changed the chords around and put in a key change,” Barry said in his Emmy Interview.
“But then I forgot about it and played Clive the rock-and-roll song. But now, I went to the piano and played him the ballad version of Brandy with my key and chord changes.”
Five albums on the best-selling charts
He said, ‘Do that. And we can’t use Brandy. Sing Mandy.’ There had been a hit record called Brandy out two years earlier: “Brandy, you’re a fine girl….” So we changed the name. I played the slow version, we put a small band behind it and added Mandy to that second album. And my life changed.”
Mandy did indeed transform Barry’s life irrevocably, as he had stated.
Manilow’s subsequent hits included I Write the Songs, Could It Be Magic, and the immortal Copacabana (At the Copa), all of which followed its success at the top of the charts.
Five years after the release of his debut album, in 1978, Barry had five albums on the charts and 10 singles at the top of the charts. He had also become the idol of an entire generation and received several accolades, including Grammy and Tony Awards. “Fanlows” became an acronym for his followers.
Throughout history, there have been countless cases of overnight popularity becoming poisonous.
Barry, though, needed to take fame by the horns while never letting it get out of hand. It required him to stop thinking about himself.
“I’ve learned over the years that at the beginning of your life it’s all about me, me, me. ‘Look at me, look what I can do, look how great I am’,” he says. “Then somewhere in the middle, mid-30s or maybe later for me, you realise that now it’s gotta go the other way,” he explained.
“The arrows have to stop pointing towards yourself. They have to flip around and point out — and that’s not just for a performer, that’s for everybody. If you wind up being 40 years of age still showing everybody how great you are, it’s very unbecoming.”
Barry Manilow – net worth, husband, children
Barry’s big break came long after he and his wife Susan Diexen had split up. He left what he called “the perfect wife” after barely two years of marriage to embark on “this wondrous musical adventure.”
Manilow has been making music for decades, and he is still actively touring today. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he is worth roughly $100 million.
But he did not go about his journey light-footed. The majority of Barry’s adult life was spent concealing a major secret.
Finally, in 2017, at the age of 73, Manilow announced his sexual orientation publicly. Given his advanced years, this was undeniably a brave move on his part. He had a partner at the time, Garry Kief.
In 2014, the couple tied the knot in their Palm Springs mansion. The Sun reports that the wedding was kept so secret that not even the invited guests knew they were there.
It has been reported that Barry and Garry initially met in 1978. Now he manages Barry as well as serves as president of Barry Manilow Productions.
“I knew that this was it,” Barry recalled of meeting Garry for the first time. “I was one of the lucky ones, I was pretty lonely before that.”
It was a tough choice for Barry to come out as gay. He was worried that coming out would hurt his career and “disappoint” his supporters, especially the women among them.
“People just wanted me to be happy.”
However, it turned out to be the complete opposite.
“Well if I had done it much earlier, I think it would have affected my career a lot. But by the time Garry and I decided to do it, being gay and being alive was accepted, so nothing changed,” Barry explained.
“Nothing’s changed. The only thing that is different is people are very happy for me,” he added.
“People just wanted me to be happy and when I said I had someone in my life, they were happy for me and there was no negativity and all. I kind of expected that and these people are great, it’s great.”
Manilow had the privilege of not only sharing his life with his beloved Garry, but also of raising Garry’s biological daughter, Kristen.
When it comes to their personal lives, some may say that dating someone who also holds a managerial position is dangerous. However, Barry and Garry manage to pull it off.
“That’s the miracle of this relationship. It’s a relationship built on respect, and we’ve never bumped heads about anything,” Manilow said.
“Garry’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met. He’s a great manager. He takes care of my career on the business level, and I take care of the music, and we plan out what we want to do together. It’s about two guys who made it through 40 years.
“Maybe [coming out] will make people feel good. Maybe it will inspire some young people that they can do it, too. [Ours] has been a very positive love story. We’re still talking to each other!”
Barry has become a public figure for reasons unrelated to his music or personal life.
Barry Manilow – plastic surgery & botox
Manilow has allegedly had facelifts, eye surgery, and Botox injections to make his face look more toned and younger. He stated as much during an interview with the Irish Independent.
Barry stated, “I had a procedure to get rid of my jowls, but they came right back. That kind of stuff doesn’t last. Then many years ago, all of LA was running for Botox, and I did too. I gave it a try, but I just didn’t like it. It didn’t look right for me.”
According to plastic surgeon Said Youn, Manilow had “too much work” done to his face in 2011. Barry, though, thinks it’s “ridiculous” that people see him as the “Joan Rivers of the guys.” He attributes this to the fact that he has had multiple facial surgeries.
“I’ve had this nasty hip problem for the last ten years,” he said. “I’ve had three surgeries, the last one four months ago. I didn’t want to limp out on stage at the Grammys, and the only way I got any relief was by steroid shots right into my hips. But then your face blows up and looks odd.”
A few days ago, Barry made an almost indistinguishable appearance on the British morning show This Morning. How, then, does he manage to keep his youthful appearance?
“It’s luck, it’s just blind luck,” Barry stated with a chuckle.
“I’m really very old, please let’s not talk about it. It’s really depressing.”
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Barry Manilow is a great legend, and he deserves kudos for having the bravery to come out as gay at his advanced age.
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