Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli

Birth name: Liza May Minnelli
Born: March 12, 1946
Age: 77
Birthplace: Hollywood, California, U.S.
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Liza May Minnelli ( /ˈlaɪzə mɪˈnɛli/; born March 12, 1946) is an American actress and singer (with Italian descentes). She is known for her portrayal of Sally Bowles in the 1972 musical film Cabaret which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. The daughter of film actress and singer Judy Garland (1922-69) and film director Vincente Minnelli (1903-86), she began her career while in her teens as a musical theatre actress and nightclub performer in New York City. In 1965, she made her Broadway debut in the musical Flora the Red Menace and was awarded the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Critically lauded for her dramatic performance in the film The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), she rose to international stardom with Cabaret and the Emmy Award-winning TV special Liza with a Z (1972). Many of her following film projects got mixed reviews and failed commercially, until the 1981 comedy Arthur. She successfully returned to Broadway stage starring in the musical The Act in 1977. Known today as a pop standard singer, she recorded contemporary singer-songwriter material through the late 1960s and 1970s.

Struggling with drug use, Minnelli became one of the first prominent people openly talking about rehab. From the late 1970s onwards, her work has focused on concert tours and nightclub performances. She gave highly regarded performances at Carnegie Hall in 1979 and 1987, and at Radio City Music Hall in 1991 and 1992. Switching between old school entertainment and contemporary music in the late 1980s, she both toured Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event alongside Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. and recorded the pop album Results produced by the British duo Pet Shop Boys. Many of her albums are live records.

Struggling with viral encephalitis, Minnelli returned with her concert show Liza's Back in 2002 and made critically acclaimed guest appearances in the sitcom Arrested Development from 2003 to 2013, while continuing to tour internationally and performing Liza's at The Palace...! on Broadway in 2008/09.

Like her mother, Judy Garland, Minnelli is considered both an American and a gay icon. Besides winning an Academy Award, she has also won two Golden Globe Awards, one Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, a Grammy Legend Award and a Special Tony, as well as many other industry and critics awards. In 2000, Minnelli was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.


Early life

Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946 in Hollywood, California, to Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland. She attended New York City's High School of Performing Arts and Chadwick School. Her first performing experience on film was at age three where she appeared in the final scene of the musical In the Good Old Summertime (1949). The film stars Garland and Van Johnson.

Minnelli has a half-sister, Lorna, and half-brother, Joey, from Garland's marriage to Sid Luft. She also has another half-sister, Christiane Nina Minnelli (nicknamed Tina Nina), from her father's second marriage. Minnelli's godparents were Kay Thompson and Ira Gershwin. Her parents named her after Ira Gershwin's song "Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)".



During 1961, Minnelli was an apprentice at the Cape Cod Melody Tent, Hyannis, Massachusetts. She appeared in the chorus of Flower Drum Song and played the part of Muriel in Take Me Along. Minnelli began performing professionally at age 17, in 1963, in an Off-Broadway revival of the musical Best Foot Forward, for which she received the Theatre World Award. The next year, her mother invited Liza to perform with her in concert at the London Palladium. Both concerts were recorded and released as an album. She attended Scarsdale High School for one year, starring in a production of The Diary of Anne Frank which then went to Israel on tour. She turned to Broadway at 19, and won her first Tony Award as a leading actress for Flora the Red Menace. It was the first time she worked with the musical duo John Kander and Fred Ebb.


Minnelli began as a nightclub singer as an adolescent, making her professional nightclub debut at the age of 19 at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. That same year she began appearing in other clubs and on stage in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and New York City. Her success as a live performer led to her recording several albums for Capitol Records: Liza! Liza! (1964), It Amazes Me (1965), and There Is a Time (1966). In her early years, she recorded traditional pop standards as well as show tunes from various musicals in which she starred. Because of this fact, William Ruhlmann named her "Barbra Streisand's little sister". The Capitol albums Liza! Liza!, It Amazes Me, and There Is A Time were reissued on the two-CD compilation The Capitol Years in 2001, in their entirety.

From 1968 to the 1970s, she also recorded her albums Liza Minnelli (1968), Come Saturday Morning and New Feelin' (both 1970) for A&M Records. She released The Singer (1973) and Tropical Nights (1977) on Columbia Records.

In 1989 Minnelli collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys on Results, an electronic dance-style album. The release hit the top 10 in the UK and also charted in the US, spawning four singles: Losing My Mind; Don't Drop Bombs; So Sorry, I Said; and Love Pains. Initially released on VHS titled Visible Results, the clips were later issued on a bonus DVD included in the 2005 remastered and expanded edition of the album. Later that year she performed Losing My Mind live at the Grammys ceremony before receiving a Grammy Legend Award (the first Grammy Legend Awards were issued in 1990 to Minnelli, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Smokey Robinson, and Willie Nelson). With this award, she became one of only 16 people - in a list that includes composer Richard Rodgers, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbra Streisand, and John Gielgud among others - to win an Emmy, Grammy, Tony Award, and Academy Award.

In April 1992, Minnelli appeared at the tribute concert to her late friend Freddie Mercury, performing "We Are the Champions" with the surviving members of the rock band Queen at Wembley Stadium, London.

In 1996, Minnelli released a new studio album titled Gently. It was a recording of jazz standards and also included some contemporary songs such as the cover of Does He Love You which she performed as a duet with Donna Summer. This album brought her a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance. Minnelli was nominated in 2009 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for her studio recording Liza's at the Palace...!, based on her hit Broadway show.

In 2006, Minnelli appeared on My Chemical Romance's album The Black Parade, providing backing vocals and singing a solo part with Gerard Way on the track "Mama."

In May 2010, reported Minnelli would be releasing an album on the Decca Records label entitled Confessions, which was released on September 21, 2010.


Her first appearance on film is as the baby in the very last shot of her mother's film, In the Good Old Summertime (1949). Her first credited film role was as the love-interest in Albert Finney's only film as director and star, Charlie Bubbles (1967), although four years earlier, she did voice-over work for the animated film Journey Back to Oz, a sequel to the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz. Minnelli was the voice of Dorothy (a character played in the earlier film by her mother Judy Garland) in what would have been her first credited film role had it been released in 1964 as planned—the Filmation production was delayed, eventually being released in the UK during 1972.

In 1969 she appeared in Alan J. Pakula's first feature film, The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), as "Pookie Adams", a needy, eccentric teenager. Her performance won her her first Academy Award nomination. She played another eccentric character in Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970), directed by Otto Preminger.

Minnelli appeared in perhaps her best-known film role, as Sally Bowles in the movie version of Cabaret (1972). She said that one of the things she did to prepare was to study photographs of classic actresses Louise Glaum and Louise Brooks and the dark-haired ladies of that time. Minnelli won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance, along with a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and also a "Sant Jordi Award" and a "David di Donatello Award" for Best Foreign Actress.

Following the success of Cabaret, Bob Fosse and Minnelli teamed up for Liza with a 'Z'. A Concert for Television, a made-for-television special. The program aired two times on TV and was not seen again until a DVD release in 2006.

Minnelli worked with her father in A Matter of Time (1976), co-starring Ingrid Bergman. After severe editing and cutting, done by the studio, with no input from the director, the film was neither a commercial nor a critical success . Her appearance opposite Robert De Niro in the musical drama film, New York, New York (1977), however, gave Minnelli her best known signature song. She sometimes duetted live on stage with Frank Sinatra, who recorded a cover version (for his Trilogy: Past Present Future album).

After her performance in Arthur (1981), as Dudley Moore's love interest, Minnelli made fewer film appearances, although she returned to the big screen for Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988) and Stepping Out (1991), a musical comedy drama.


During the early days of television in the 1950s, Minnelli appeared as a child guest on Art Linkletter's show and sang and danced with Gene Kelly on his first television special in 1959. She was a guest star in one episode of the Ben Casey television series starring Vince Edwards and was a frequent guest on chat shows of the day including numerous appearances on shows hosted by Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Joe Franklin, Dinah Shore and Johnny Carson. During the 1960s she made several guest appearances on Rowan & Martin's Laugh In as well as other variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Hollywood Palace, as well as The Judy Garland Show. In 1964 she appeared as Minnie in her first television dramatic role in the episode "Nightingale for Sale" on Craig Stevens's short-lived CBS series, Mr. Broadway.

Much later in her career, Minnelli has made guest appearances on such shows as Arrested Development, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Drop Dead Diva. In the UK she has appeared on the Ruby Wax, Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross shows and in October 2006 participated in a comedy skit on the Charlotte Church Show and was featured on the Michael Parkinson Show.

In November 2009, American Public Television aired "Liza's at the Palace", taped from September 30 - October 1, 2009 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre. The executive producers of the taping, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, previously were involved with the 2005 rerelease of 1972's Emmy Award- and Peabody Award-winning "Liza with a 'Z'".

Later career

She returned to Broadway in 1997, taking over the title role in the musical Victor/Victoria, replacing Julie Andrews. In his review, New York Times critic Ben Brantley commented, "her every stage appearance is perceived as a victory of show-business stamina over psychic frailty. She asks for love so nakedly and earnestly, it seems downright vicious not to respond."

In 1995 Minnelli and long time collaborator Billy Stritch recorded a number of American standards "unplugged", and were considered by many to be the Holy Grail of Minnelli's career, showing a sultrier and softer, more interpretive side to her artistry. The songs were later released in 2010, making the album "Confessions".

After a serious case of viral encephalitis in 2000, doctors predicted that she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair and would perhaps not even be able to speak again. However, taking vocal and dance lessons daily (especially with Sam Harris, Ron Lewis, and Angela Bacari), she managed to recover. She returned to the stage in 2001 when asked by long-time friend Michael Jackson to perform at Madison Square Garden in New York City where she sang "Never Never Land" and the televised "You Are Not Alone" at the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special concert produced by soon to be husband David Gest. Minnelli told reporters, "I am stable as a table." Gest was so impressed with her stamina and ability to stun audiences that he produced her in Liza's Back in spring 2002 performing to rave reviews in London and New York City. (Most noted in that tour was a tribute to her mother. After years of declining fans' pleas for her to sing Garland's signature song, "Over The Rainbow", she concluded Act 1 with the final refrain of her mother's famous anthem, to an instant ovation.) Among performing her classic hits, other numbers unreleased in the album version included "I Believe You" by The Carpenters, a rap version of "Liza With A 'Z'", "Yes", and Mary J. Blige's "Family Affair", 2001.

VH1 signed on Minnelli and Gest in 2002 to appear in a reality show entitled Liza & David. The pilot episode was filmed following the couple around as they prepared for a party at their home, with a guest list including Ray Charles, Luther Vandross, Isaac Mizrahi, Anastacia, among many others. The show was cancelled shortly after the pilot episode was filmed due to a dispute between Gest, Minnelli and VH1, and never aired. Recordings of the pilot episode still exist.

From 2003 through 2005, she appeared as a recurring character on the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning TV sitcom Arrested Development as Lucille Austero, the lover of both the sexually and socially awkward Buster Bluth and Buster's brother Gob. Minnelli reprised the role for the show's fourth season in 2013.

In September 2006, she made a guest appearance on the long-running NBC drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent, in "Masquerade", a Halloween-themed episode, broadcast on October 31, 2006. She also completed guest vocals on My Chemical Romance's 2006 concept album The Black Parade, portraying "Mother War," a dark conception of the main character's mother, in the song Mama.

For years, Minnelli had wanted to record a collection of songs that her godmother Kay Thompson had performed in her nightclub act. In 2007, she added some of Thompson's songs to her latest tour to introduce them to audiences.

Minnelli returned to Broadway in a new solo concert at the Palace Theatre called Liza's at The Palace...! which ran from December 3, 2008, through January 4, 2009. In her second act she performed a series of numbers created by Kay Thompson. The reviews noted that while her voice was ragged at times, and her movements no longer elastic, the old magic was still very much present—from first to last, Minnelli had audiences cheering and applauding and begging for more. The show was subsequently staged at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 30 and October 1, 2009, at which time it was filmed for broadcast on public television and a February 2010 DVD and Blu-ray release.

On January 10, 2009, Minnelli made a rare live TV appearance in a surprise cameo on NBC's Saturday Night Live, playing the best friend of "Penelope" (Kristen Wiig). On January 26, 2009, she made an appearance on The View, singing "I Would Never Leave You" (written by Johnny Rodgers, Billy Stritch, and Brian Lane Green) from her new CD Liza's at The Palace...!. She was also interviewed by the cast of The View.

She was a character in the Australian musical The Boy from Oz starring Hugh Jackman. In the show's Broadway production, she was portrayed by Stephanie J. Block.

In October 2009, Minnelli toured Australia, and appeared on Australian Idol as a mentor and guest judge.

In February 2010, Minnelli appeared in a Snickers commercial along with Aretha Franklin and Betty White. Minnelli made a cameo appearance in the May 2010 release of Sex and the City 2, in which she covered Beyoncé's hit Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) and Cole Porter's Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye. She also made a starring appearance in December 2010 in NBC's The Apprentice.

On June 14, 2012 Liza headlined at Hampton Court Palace Festival, an annual event which takes place at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, England.

On May 9, 2014, Minnelli had a guest appearance on Cher's Dressed to Kill Tour in Brooklyn, performing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" alongside Cyndi Lauper and Rosie O'Donnell.

On July 24, 2015, Minnelli will perform at the IP Casino Resort & Spa, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the closing of Flora the Red Menace.

Personal life

Minnelli has long suffered from alcoholism, and has been addicted to prescription drugs, originating from a Valium prescription after her mother died. Minnelli left her 1984 musical The Rink to enter the Betty Ford Clinic. Her use of recreational drugs in the 1970s was noted by Andy Warhol, who in a 1978 diary entry recalled Minnelli arriving at Halston's house and imploring the host to "Give me every drug you've got." Along with Warhol and Bianca Jagger, Minnelli made frequent appearances at New York City nightclubs during the late 1970s.

Minnelli has stated that she is an Episcopalian.


Minnelli has married and divorced four times.

Her first marriage was to entertainer Peter Allen on March 3, 1967. Australian-born Allen was Judy Garland's protégé in the mid-1960s. They divorced on July 24, 1974. Minnelli told The Advocate editor-in-chief Judy Wieder in September 1996, "I married Peter and he didn't tell me he was gay. Everyone knew but me. And I found out ... well, let me put it this way: I'll never surprise anybody coming home as long as I live. I call first!"

Later that year, she married Jack Haley, Jr., a producer and director, on September 15, 1974. His father, Jack Haley, was Garland's co-star in The Wizard of Oz. They divorced in April 1979.

Minnelli was married to Mark Gero, a sculptor and stage manager, from December 4, 1979 until their divorce in January 1992.

She was married to David Gest, a concert promoter, from March 16, 2002, until their separation in July 2003, and their divorce in April 2007. In a 2003 lawsuit, Gest alleged that Minnelli beat him in alcohol-induced rages during their marriage.

Minnelli also had relationships with Rock Brynner, Desi Arnaz, Jr., Peter Sellers, and Martin Scorsese.

Minnelli has no children; one pregnancy left her with a hiatus hernia as a result of the medical steps taken to try to save the baby.


Minnelli has, throughout her lifetime, served various charities and causes which she considers important. She served on the board of directors of The Institutes for The Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) for 20 years, a nonprofit educational organization that introduces parents to the field of child brain development. In a 2006 interview with Randy Rice at Minnelli said that she was the person who told Elizabeth Taylor about HIV/AIDS while talking about their mutual friend, Rock Hudson. She has also dedicated much time to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which was co-founded by Taylor. In 2007, she stated in an interview with Palm Springs Life magazine, "AmfAR is important to me because I've lost so many friends that I knew ". In 1994, she recorded the Kander & Ebb tune "The Day After That" and donated the proceeds to AIDS research. That same year she performed the song in front of thousands in Central Park at the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.



Year Title Role Notes
1949 In the Good Old Summertime Baby Uncredited
1967 Charlie Bubbles Eliza
1969 The Sterile Cuckoo 'Pookie' (Mary Ann) Adams
1970 Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon Junie Moon
1972 Cabaret Sally Bowles Academy Award for Best Actress
1974 Just One More Time Herself Uncredited (short subject)
That's Entertainment! Narrator
Journey Back to Oz Dorothy Voice role (recorded in 1963, released in the U.S. in 1974)
1975 Lucky Lady Claire
1976 Silent Movie Herself
A Matter of Time Nina
1977 New York, New York Francine Evans
1981 Arthur Linda Marolla
1983 The King of Comedy Herself Scenes deleted
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan Herself
1985 That's Dancing! Herself/Host
1985 A Time to Live Mary-Lou Weisman TV film
1988 Rent-a-Cop Della Roberts
1988 Arthur 2: On the Rocks Linda Marolla Bach
1991 Stepping Out Mavis Turner
1994 Parallel Lives Stevie Merrill TV film
1994 A Century of Cinema Herself Documentary
1995 Unzipped Herself (uncredited) Documentary
1995 The West Side Waltz Cara Varnum TV film
2006 The Oh in Ohio Alyssa Donahue
2010 Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age Herself Documentary
2010 Sex and the City 2 Wedding Minister/Herself Cameo appearance


Guest appearances

  • 1963: The Judy Garland Show (episode: "The Judy Garland Christmas Special")
  • 1964: Mr. Broadway as Minnie (episode: "Nightingale for Sale")
  • 1968: That's Life as Secretary (episode: "Twas the Night Before Christmas")
  • 1979: The Muppet Show (season 4)
  • 1984: The Princess and the Pea (episode of the television anthology Faerie Tale Theatre)
  • 1992: The Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert
  • 2003-05, 2013: Arrested Development as Lucille Austero (recurring, season 1-2 and 4; 20 episodes)
  • 2009: Drop Dead Diva
  • 2013: Smash (episode: "The Surprise Party")


  • 1964: Judy and Liza at the Palladium (with Judy Garland)
  • 1965: The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood
  • 1970: Liza
  • 1972: Liza with a "Z": A Concert for Television
  • 1974: Love from A to Z (with Charles Aznavour)
  • 1980: Goldie and Liza Together (with Goldie Hawn)
  • 1980: An Evening with Liza Minnelli
  • 1986: Liza in London
  • 1987: Minnelli on Minnelli: Liza Remembers Vincente (documentary)
  • 1988: Sam Found Out: A Triple Play
  • 1989: Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event (with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.)
  • 1992: Liza Live from Radio City Music Hall
  • 1993: Liza & Friends: A Tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr. (with Charles Aznavour, Tom Jones, Jerry Lewis, and Cliff Richard)


Main article: Liza Minnelli discography
Studio albums
  • 1964: Liza! Liza!
  • 1965: It Amazes Me
  • 1966: There Is a Time
  • 1967: Liza Minnelli
  • 1968: Come Saturday Morning
  • 1970: New Feelin'
  • 1973: The Singer
  • 1977: Tropical Nights
  • 1989: Results
  • 1996: Gently
  • 2010: Confessions
Cast recordings
  • 1963: Best Foot Forward
  • 1965: Flora the Red Menace
  • 1965: The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood
  • 1977: The Act
  • 1984: The Rink
  • 1995 Music from The Life: A New Musical
  • 2009 Liza's at the Palace....
  • 1972: Cabaret
  • 1972: Liza with a "Z"
  • 1975: Lucky Lady
  • 1976: Journey Back to Oz
  • 1976: A Matter of Time
  • 1977: New York, New York
  • 1991: Stepping Out
  • 2010: Sex and the City 2

Stage productions

  • 1961: Wish You Were Here (Hyannis, Massachusetts)
  • 1961: Take Me Along (Hyannis, Massachusetts)
  • 1961: Flower Drum Song (Hyannis, Massachusetts)
  • 1961-1962: The Diary of Anne Frank (1961-62) (Tour)(Scarsdale High School, Scarsdale, NY)
  • 1963: Best Foot Forward (Off-Broadway)
  • 1964: Carnival! (Paper Mill Playhouse)
  • 1964: Time Out For Ginger (Bucks County Playhouse)
  • 1964: The Fantasticks (Tour)
  • 1965: Flora the Red Menace (Broadway)
  • 1966: The Pajama Game (Tour)
  • 1974: Liza (one woman show, Broadway)
  • 1975: Chicago (replacement for Gwen Verdon, Broadway)
  • 1977-1978: The Act (Broadway)
  • 1978: Are You Now or Have You Ever Been? (guest appearance, Off-Broadway)
  • 1978-1979: The Owl and the Pussycat (Martha Graham Ballet/London and Lincoln Center/New York City)
  • 1983: By Myself (one woman show, Los Angeles and London)
  • 1984: The Rink (Broadway)
  • 1994: Love Letters (Coconut Grove Playhouse, Miami)
  • 1997: Victor/Victoria (vacation replacement for Julie Andrews, Broadway)
  • 1999-2000: Minnelli on Minnelli: Live at the Palace (concert show, Broadway, Palace Theater)
  • 2002: Liza's Back! (concert show, New York and London)
  • 2008-2009: Liza's at The Palace.... (concert show, Broadway, Palace Theater)

Awards and honors

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Liza Minnelli Charities

Liza Minnelli supports the following charitable causes: Gay Rights, AIDS, Human Rights.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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