Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli

American actress and singer

Background:

Award-winning actress/musician Liza Minnelli first amazed the public by nabbing
such awards as a World Theater Award (“Best Foot Forward,” 1963), a Tony Award
(“Flora, the Red Menace,” 1965), a David di Donatello and a Mar del Plata Film
Festival (as ‘Pookie’ Adams in The Sterile Cuckoo, 1969). Still, her most
memorable performance was that of Sally Bowles, an American singer working in a
Berlin club, in Bob Fosse’s big screen musical drama Cabaret (1972), in which
she took home an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and another
David di Donatello Award. Offering another striking performance, Minnelli netted
two Tony Awards for her roles at the Winter Garden on Broadway (1974) and in the
1977 production of “The Act.” Following her Golden Globe-winning turn in the TV
film A Time to Live (1985, as Mary-Lou Weisman), Minnelli had to accept negative
reviews for her reprised role of Linda Marolla in the sequel of Arthur 2: On the
Rocks (1988). Failing to execute her role, the actress was handed a Razzie
Award.

Aside from acting, Minnelli also displayed her singing talent through numerous
live appearances and albums. Debuting with the album Liza! Liza! (1964), she
received a Grammy nomination for her traditional pop album, Gently (1996).
Previously, she broke the charts with such recordings as Results (1989), Theme
from New York, New York (1977), Liza Minnelli, the Singer (1973), the soundtrack
of her TV program Liza With a Z (1972), New Feelin’ (1970) and the cast album of
“Flora, the Red Menace” (1965).

Off screen, Minnelli’s life is as sensational as her career. Suffering from
several dangerous health problems, she was hospitalized for contracting double
pneumonia (April 2000), a life-threatening attack of encephalitis (October
2000), as well as hip replacement surgery. Legally speaking, she and her fourth
husband David Gest (now divorced) had been involved in an ongoing battle with
VH1 for canceling their proposed reality show. The actress also faced legal
problems after being sued by a Queens contractor in March 2003 due to her
inability to pay for recent home renovations. Furthermore, she is known to have
had an alcohol addiction that led to several scandalous moments. After checking
in at the Betty Ford Clinic in July 1984 for substance abuse, Minnelli was
spotted breaking her commitment to stop drinking (January 2003). Eight months
later, her fourth husband David Gest sued her for committing alcohol-fueled
violence which caused some neurological damage and headaches. She countersued
him stating he stole her earnings. The next year, her former assistant sued her
for beating him in drink-fuelled rages.


Judy Garland

Childhood and Family:

Liza May Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, in Los Angeles, California, to
director Vincente Minnelli (born on February 28, 1903, died on July 25, 1986)
and actress/singer/legend Judy Garland (born on June 10, 1922, died on June 22,
1969 of an accidental barbiturate overdose). In 1951, her parents ended their
marriage. Her mother wed producer Sid Luft a year later, while her father was
later married to Georgette Magnani. Liza is the stepsister of actress/singer
Lorna Luft (born on November 21, 1952), actor Joey Luft (born on March 29, 1955)
and Christiana Nina Minnelli.

Liza studied at the High School for the Performing Arts, in New York, and then
continued her studies at the University of Paris Sorbonne in France. She
attended the college for less than a year before quitting. She transferred to
the HB Studio in New York, where she studied with Herbert Berghof and Uta Hagen.

Liza has been married four times. She first married musician Peter Allen in
1967, but they divorced in 1972. Two years later, she tied the knot with Jack
Haley Jr. (filmmaker), but they separated in 1978. Her third wedding was to Mark
Gero in 1979 (the bond lasted for 13 years). After the divorce, on March 16,
2002, Liza married concert promoter/producer David Gest, with whom she adopted a
daughter named Serena. In relation to the adoption, Liza commented, “Adoptions
often take years, but ours was only a four-month process. The situation was
somebody who couldn’t provide for her.” The marriage also ended in separation in
July 2003.


The Sterile Cuckoo

Career:

A daughter of movie celebrities, three-year old Liza Minnelli had her first film
appearance as her mother’s baby in the final scene of the wide screen musical
film In the Good Old Summertime (1949). In 1961, the teenage actress made her
stage debut in the play “Wish You Were Here” and followed it up with the 1962
production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Minnelli had her first professional
stage appearance in the off-Broadway revival of “Best Foot Forward” (1963), in
which she successfully played her role and nabbed a World Theater award. On the
small screen, she first appeared in the TV series “Mr. Broadway” (1964) before
making a big leap by starring as Little Red Riding Hood in her first TV film,
The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood (1965). Still in 1965, Minnelli’s
stage career was well established when she entered Broadway with the starring
turn in “Flora, the Red Menace.” For her eye-catching portrayal, she won a Tony
for Best Actress in a Musical. In 1967, the rising actress made her first film
performance in Albert Finney’s comedy Charlie Bubbles.

Meanwhile, Minnelli tried a new sphere of show business with her first solo
album, Liza! Liza! (1964). Following Flora, the Red Menace’s success, the cast
album of the play was released by RCA Victor Records and soon broke the charts.
However, Minnelli’s next albums, It Amazes Me (1965) and There Is a Time (1966),
did not meet expectations and failed on the charts. The performer then performed
live for the first time at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. She later
switched from Capitol to A&M Records and released her self-titled album in May
1968.

After guest starring in an episode of the TV series “That’s Life” (1968), the
young performer had her big screen breakthrough when director Alan J. Pakula
cast her in the role of ‘Pookie’ (Mary Ann) Adams in the drama comedy The
Sterile Cuckoo (1969). Delivering an excellent portrayal, Minnelli took home her
first David di Donatello, as well as a Mar del Plata Film Festival award. For
the same role, she also received an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination.
The theme song of the movie, Come Saturday Morning, became the title of
Minnelli’s album that was launched in April 1970. Six months later, the singer
released New Feelin’.

The actress took the title role in the romantic comedy Tell Me That You Love Me,
Junie Moon (1970) before having a larger victory with her seamless portrayal of
Sally Bowles, an American singer working in a Berlin club, in the Bob
Fosse-directed musical drama Cabaret (1972). Due to her bravura acting, she won
an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and another David di Donatello for Best
Actress. Meanwhile, its soundtrack received gold certification and was pursued
by the launching of Live at the Olympia in Paris (July 1972). The same year, she
also appeared on TV as a headliner in the Emmy-winning program Liza With a ‘Z’.
Its soundtrack LP, released by Columbia Records, reached the Top 20 and went
gold. Still with Columbia, Minnelli followed it up with an album of contemporary
songs titled Liza Minnelli, the Singer, which reached the Top 40 in 1973. The
stage actress continued her influential performance at the Winter Garden on
Broadway in January 1974, where she won a Special Tony award.
Liza lent her voice for the renowned character Dorothy in the animated movie
Journey Back to Oz (1974). The next year, she received a Golden Globe nomination
after costarring as Claire, opposite Gene Hackman, in the drama comedy Lucky
Lady (1975). Replacing the ill actress Gwen Verdon, she appeared in a Broadway
production of “Chicago” (1975) and later released the single “All That Jazz”
from the production. Subsequent to her role as Nina in A Matter of Time (1976),
Minnelli held another Golden Globe-nominated role in Martin Scorsese’s New York,
New York (1977), as Francine Evans. The soundtrack album of the movie, Theme
from New York, New York, managed to reach the Top 50. She followed it up with a
disco-styled album titled Tropical Nights.

The multi-talented actress/singer was handed a third Tony for her performance as
a nightclub singer in the 1977 production of “The Act.” Then, showcasing her
beautiful voice, Liza performed to a sold-out audience for 11 nights in a row at
Carnegie Hall in September 1979. Soon after taking the Golden Globe-nominated
leading role of Linda Marolla in the romantic comedy Arthur (1981), the
stage-screen actress played Chita Rivera’s mother in the failed play “The Rink”
(1984).

Minnelli had the Golden Globe-winning turn in the made-for-TV drama A Time to
Live (1985, as Mary-Lou Weisman) before taking a part in the silver screen
action film Rent-a-Cop (1987, opposite Burt Reynolds). She then taped her live
performance for the album Liza Minnelli at Carnegie Hall. However, things turned
upside down with the less-successful role of Linda Marolla in the sequel of
Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988). In this Bud Yorkin’s sequel, Minnelli was given a
Razzie for Worst Actress. The thwarting experience in acting did not seem to set
her back. Instead, she was seen in a musical collaboration with the Pet Shop
Boys on a dance-music composition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind” (1989),
which became a UK top ten hit and reached the US dance charts. It led to
Minnelli’s top ten UK album Results (1989). Next up for Minnelli, she made a
guest appearance in a TV series titled “The Dame Edna Experience” (1989), had
the supporting part as Mavis Turner in the musical movie Stepping Out (1991),
costarred alongside James Belushi in Parallel Lives (1994, TV) and played Cara
Varnum in Ernest Thompson’s The West Side Waltz (1995, TV).

As a skilled singer, after being handed a Grammy Legend award in 1990, Minnelli
released an album of traditional pop standards titled Gently (1996) under the
label of Angel Records, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional
Pop Vocal Performance. Following a thirteen-year break on stage, she reappeared
by temporarily playing Julie Andrews’ title role in the Great White Way
production of “Victor/Victoria” (1997). The winner of the 1999 Board of
Directors MAC Award, Minnelli was handed a Special David di Donatello in 2002.
The same year, the talented performer sang at London’s Royal Albert Hall and New
York’s Beacon Theater, as well as released an album from her Beacon performance
titled Liza’s Back.

During 2004-2005, the versatile actress/singer undertook the recurring role of
Lucille Austero in the Mitchell Hurwitz-created sitcom “Arrested Development.”
Recently, the actress was also seen as Alyssa Donahue in the wide screen comedy
The OH in Ohio (2006). Directed by Billy Kent, the movie also featured Danny
DeVito and Parker Posey.


Awards:

David di Donatello: Special David, 2002
Razzie: Worst Actress, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, 1989
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion
Picture Made for TV, A Time To Live, 1986
Tony: Best Actress in a Musical, The Act, 1978
Special Tony, 1974
Oscar: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Cabaret, 1973
Golden Globe: Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy, Cabaret,
1973
BAFTA: Best Actress, Cabaret, 1973
David di Donatello: Best Foreign Actress, Cabaret, 1973
Emmy: Outstanding Single Program - Variety and Popular Music, Singer
Presents Liza with a Z, shared with producers Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, 1973
Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Woman of the Year, 1973
Golden Apple: Female Star of the Year, 1972
David di Donatello: Best Foreign Actress, The Sterile Cuckoo, 1970
Mar del Plata Film Festival: Best Actress, The Sterile Cuckoo, 1970
Tony: Best Actress in a Musical, Flora, the Red Menace, 1965
Theater World: Best Foot Forward, 1963



 
Whenever we were on a plane, we had a family.More Liza Minnelli quotes [07/26/2011 05:07:21]
I thought maybe, just by never preaching, never doing any of that stuff because it doesn't work. By just maybe the power of example and some laughs, maybe somebody might go take a walkMore Liza Minnelli quotes [07/26/2011 05:07:29]
What I'm saying is that I tried very hard to give them my reality and my reality is kind of interesting.More Liza Minnelli quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I consider myself an actress first, a dancer second, and a singer third. Why? Because the dancer needs a reason to move-that's the actor informing the dancer. So I worked on my acting and gradually developed a singing voice.More Liza Minnelli quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
No, I'm a theatrical, live performer or a movie performer.More Liza Minnelli quotes [07/26/2011 05:07:08]

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