Debra Messing: Barbra Streisand Was My Idol

She may create a Marilyn Monroe stage musical in the NBC drama "Smash," but Debra Messing insists she wanted to be Broadway's Fanny Brice as a child.

TORONTO -- NBC's Smash co-lead Debra Messing may be acting in a Marilyn Monroe-themed musical production for the Steven Speilberg drama, but the TV actor insists as a child she wanted to be Broadway’s Fanny Brice.

“My prototype growing up was Barbra Streisand,” the Will and Grace star told a press conference in Toronto for CTV’s Upfront Presentation.

“That’s how I saw myself more at the time, I wanted to be Funny Girl, literally on Broadway and in the real world,” she added.

Messing said she didn’t know much about Monroe and her legendary mystique before playing Julia, the good-hearted lyricist, in the NBC musical pilot.

“She (Monroe) didn’t inspire me when I was young because I would have been delusional to think I looked anything like her, or that I could some day become a sex symbol in a similar way,” she recalled.

But the complicated life of Monroe soon consumed Messing as she and fellow actor Christian Borle play a successful song-writing duo that must tackle their personal troubles before turning to create a hit Broadway musical based on the life of the American icon.

“There’s something addictive about the mystique of Marilyn Monroe.  She’s really fascinating and complicated, and I think a perfect subject of a musical,” Messing said.

“I think she will always and forever be a source of fascination,” the Smash co-star added.