Barbra starts a second half century with a birthday circus

THE CASTLELIKE SETTING HAD Cinderella trappings, but a more filling motif for Barbra Streisand's 50th birthday might have been Babs in Toyland. Though Oscar had snubbed her a month earlier, some 300 friends and their 100 children celebrated Barbra Streisand's first half century on April 25 in a style extravagant even by Hollywood standards. Her ex-beau, coiffeur-turned-producer Jon Peters, transformed his 12-acre Beverly Hills estate into a veritable fantasyland complete with still walkers, fire-eaters, face painters (Streisand opted for a rose on her right ankle), a circus elephant for the offspring to ride, and Peters's own menagerie of pigs, horses, goats and peacocks.

At dusk, after feasting on some common-folk fare (hamburgers, hot dogs and popcorn), marquee guests, including Frank Sinatra, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening (with 4-month-old daughter Kathlyn), trilled "Happy Birthday" and laid seige to a three-foot-high castle of a cake. Budget for the bash? $200,000-plus, by one estimate.