On This Day: ‘A Star Is Born’ Starring Kris Kristofferson Hits Theaters in 1976

by Maggie Schneider

45 years ago today, the 1976 remake of “A Star Is Born” hit theaters. Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand made history with this film.

“A Star Is Born” is a classic story about love, loss, and music. I think there have been so many remakes of the film because of its timelessness. In 1976, the second version of “A Star Is Born” was released in theaters. Starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand, it is a remake of the original movie from 1937, starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March.

About ‘A Star Is Born’

The quintessential story remains the same. John Norman Howard is a “once-successful rockstar” battling addiction. When he hears Esther Hoffman performing at a bar, it is love at first sight. They quickly become a couple and develop a bond through their music. The couple even gets married! However, the story ends tragically as Hoffman’s career grows and Howard continues to decline.

Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand both act and sing in the film. Like the film’s most recent adaptation, the 1976 “A Star Is Born” includes a successful soundtrack. “Evergreen,” Streisand’s song from the movie, landed her and co-writer Paul Williams the Number 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200. It also won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

The movie itself was a box office success, grossing $80 million. While it won 6 Golden Globe Awards, the film received mixed reviews. Variety called Streisand’s performance “her finest screen work to date.” The New York Times and The Washington Post, however, called aspects of the film boring and confused.

Nonetheless, fans enjoy the 1976 version of “A Star Is Born” for the music, as well as Kristofferson and Streisand’s chemistry. Howard’s tragic fate also strikes a chord with many audiences.

“Has to be the most sensual piece of filming ever……and with clothes on,” Lucy McDee writes on YouTube. “The chemistry between them is off the scale. As for Ms Streisand’s voice. It is Perfection.”

“I’m crying listening,” Elisabeth Rozgony writes. “My husband died in 1986 at 37. I was 35. I’m close to 71 now and my tears are flowing! The song is magnificent and the memories are flooding.”

Was Elvis Almost Cast in ‘A Star Is Born?’

It turns out that Elvis Presley was the production’s first choice to star alongside Barbara Streisand. The movie’s leading lady discussed the role with Presley backstage after his concert. While his friend Jerry Schilling recalls his interest in being a part of the film, he declines the offer.

“After they left, I could tell he wanted to do it but, as with so many of the things he wanted to do at that point in his life, he expected people would try to stop him,” Schilling recalls.

Thus, Kris Kristofferson was offered the role. It would have been interesting to see Presley’s take on the part, but I think the casting choices are spot on.