actress and singer. She is the daughter of singer and actress Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli.
Already established as a nightclub singer and musical theatre actress, she first attracted critical acclaim for her dramatic performances in the movies The Sterile Cuckoo (1969) and Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970). Minnelli rose to international stardom for her appearance as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical Cabaret, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
While film projects such as Lucky Lady, A Matter of Time and New York, New York were less favorably received than her stage roles, Minnelli became one of the most versatile, highly regarded and best-selling entertainers in television, beginning with Liza with a Z in 1972, and on stage in the Broadway productions of Flora the Red Menace, The Act and The Rink. Minnelli also toured internationally and did shows such as Liza Minnelli: At Carnegie Hall, Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event, and Liza Live from Radio City Music Hall.
After years of chronic health problems, including a serious infection with viral encephalitis, she returned with a new concert show, Liza's Back, in 2002. She did several well-received guest appearances in the sitcom Arrested Development and had a small role in the movie The OH in Ohio, while continuing to tour internationally. In 2008/09 she performed the Broadway show Liza's at The Palace...! which earned a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event.
Minnelli has won a total of three Tony Awards awards, including a Special Tony Award. She has also won an Oscar, an Emmy Award, two Golden Globes and a Grammy Legend Award for her contributions and influence in the recording field, along with many other honors and awards. She is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award.
Early lifeLiza Minnelli was born in Hollywood, California, to Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland. Born into a family well known to film-goers, Minnelli has a maternal lineage that can claim entertainers going back six generations. Her mother, Judy Garland, had success in film and in music, but started in show-business as part of a vaudeville act with Minnelli's aunts as "The Gumm Sisters". Her father, an acclaimed MGM film director, was from a theatrical family which also included circus performers.
Minnelli attended New York City's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and Chadwick School. Her first performing experience on film was at age three where she appeared in the final scene of the 1949 musical In the Good Old Summertime. The film starred Judy Garland and Van Johnson. Although Minnelli and her mother shared a warm personal relationship, during her performances with her mother at the London Palladium, Garland recognized Minnelli's talent and felt a sense of competition. Minnelli recalled, "I was onstage with my mother, but suddenly, she wasn't Mama ... she was Judy Garland."
Minnelli's half-sister and brother from Garland's marriage to Sid Luft are Lorna and Joey 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.
TheatreMinnelli began performing professionally at age 17, in 1963, in an Off-Broadway revival of the musical Best Foot Forward, for which she received good notices, and her first award – the Theatre World Award. The next year, her mother invited Minnelli to perform with her at the London Palladium. The audience loved her, launching her future concert career. She turned to Broadway at 19, and in 1965 she became the youngest woman ever to win a leading actress Tony Award for Flora the Red Menace. It was the first time she worked with the musical duo John Kander and Fred Ebb (who would later write almost all of Minnelli's trademark tunes).
MusicMinnelli 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.. She later appeared 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 at 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 that she starred in. 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. Liza Minnelli starred in My Chemical Romance's song Mama on the The Black Parade.
Liza Minnelli (1968), Come Saturday Morning and New Feelin' (both 1970) from A&M Records and The Singer (1973), which seemed like a compilation of soft rock material, as well as the disco-styled Tropical Nights (1977) from Columbia Records. Her music career was more influenced by successful live performances with international concert tours than by commercial success as a recording artist.
In 1989 Minnelli collaborated with 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. This also gave her a chance to film promotional videos for the songs and resulted in a comeback to the music business. 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 Liza Minnelli, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Smokey Robinson and Willie Nelson). With this award, she became one of only 12 other entertainers – in a list that includes Whoopi Goldberg, Barbra Streisand and Mel Brooks among others – to win an Emmy, Grammy, Tony Award and Academy Award.
In April 1992 Liza Minnelli performed We Are The Champions with the surviving members of the rock band Queen at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
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 May 2010, Playbill.com reported Minnelli would be releasing an album on the Decca Records label entitled Confessions, which was released on September 21, 2010 to critical raves.
In 2006, she appeared on My Chemical Romance's album The Black Parade, she did backing vocals and a solo part with Gerard Way on the track "Mama".
FilmHer first appearance on film is as the baby in the very last shot of her mother Judy Garland'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).
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 the following year in Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, directed by Otto Preminger. In 1972, Minnelli appeared in perhaps her best-known film role, as Sally Bowles in the movie version of Cabaret. 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 Best Actress Academy Award for her performance, along with a Golden Globe Award. This made her the only Oscar-winning child of Oscar-winning parents.
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, director Vincente Minnelli, in the 1976 A Matter of Time, co-starring Ingrid Bergman. After severe editing and cutting, done by the studio, with no input from Vincente Minnelli, the film was neither a commercial nor a critical success.
Her appearance opposite Robert De Niro in the 1977 musical drama film, New York, New York however, gave Minnelli her best known signature song. Frank Sinatra released a successful cover version (for his Trilogy: Past Present Future album) two years later and used it as his signature song as well, sometimes even duetting with Minnelli live on stage.
After her performance as leading lady to Dudley Moore in 1981's hit film Arthur, Minnelli made fewer film appearances although she returned to the big screen in 1991 for Stepping Out, a musical dramedy.
Most recently she made an appearance in the movie "Sex and the City 2 (2010)" as herself.
TelevisionDuring the early days of Television in the 1950s Minnelli appeared as a child guest on Art Linkletter's show and in 1959 sang and danced with Gene Kelly on his first television special. She was a guest star in one episode of the popular 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 including 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.
Recently, 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. Set to be a guest judge on Australian Idol 2009 on the 18th of October 2009. Appeared on The Joy Behar Show on September 1, 2010.
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 re-release of 1972's Emmy and Peabody Award winning "Liza with a 'Z'".
Later careerVictor/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.”
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, she refused to accept this and with the help of vocal and dance lessons (most notably Sam Harris, Angela Bacari), which she still takes daily, managed to recover and 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. Gest was so impressed with Minnelli's 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, a tribute to her mother. After years of declining fans' pleas for her to sing Garland's signature song, "Over The Rainbow", Minnelli 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".
In 2004 and 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”.
NBC drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent, in Masquerade, a Halloween-themed episode, broadcast on Tuesday, 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, Minnelli 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” (Kristin Wiig). On January 26, 2009, she made an appearance on The View, singing I Would Never Leave You 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.
Minnelli made a cameo appearance in the May 2010 release of Sex and the City 2.
She also made a starring appearance in December 2010 in NBC's The Apprentice.
MarriagesMinnelli has been married (and divorced) four times. Her first marriage was to Peter Allen (full name Peter Allen Woolnough) on March 3, 1967. Australian-born Allen was Judy Garland's protégé in the mid-1960s. The couple divorced on July 24, 1974. 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 they divorced in April 2007. (They separated in July 2003.)
Minnelli also had a relationship with Desi Arnaz Jr., the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Minnelli has no children; one pregnancy left her with a hiatal hernia as a result of the medical steps taken to try to save the baby.[
PhilanthropyMinnelli has, throughout her lifetime, served various charities and causes which she considers very 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. She also dedicated much time to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. In 2007, Minnelli stated in an interview with Palm Springs Life magazine, “AmfAR is important to me because I’ve lost so many friends that I knew [to AIDS]”. In 1994, Minnelli 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.
- The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood (1965)
- The Princess and the Pea (1984, episode of the television anthology Faerie Tale Theatre)
- A Time to Live (1985)
- Sam Found Out: A Triple Play (1988)
- Parallel Lives (1994)
- The West Side Waltz (1995)
- Judy and Liza at the Palladium (1964, with Judy Garland)
- Liza (1970)
- Liza with a ‘Z’. A Concert for Television (1972)
- Love from A to Z (1974, with Charles Aznavour)
- Goldie and Liza Together (1980, with Goldie Hawn)
- An Evening with Liza Minnelli (1980)
- Liza in London (1986)
- Minnelli on Minnelli: Liza Remembers Vincente (1987, documentary)
- Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event (1989, with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr.)
- Liza Live from Radio City Music Hall (1992)
- Liza & Friends: A Tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr. (1993, with Charles Aznavour, Tom Jones, Jerry Lewis, Cliff Richard)
- Wish You Were Here (1961) (Hyannis, Massachusetts)
- Take Me Along (1961) (Hyannis, Massachusetts)
- Flower Drum Song (1961) (Hyannis, Massachusetts)
- The Diary of Anne Frank (1961−1962) (Tour)
- Best Foot Forward (1963) (Off-Broadway)
- Carnival! (1964) (Paper Mill Playhouse)
- Time Out For Ginger (1964) (Bucks County Playhouse)
- The Fantasticks (1964) (Tour)
- Flora the Red Menace (1965) (Broadway)
- The Pajama Game (1966) (Tour)
- Liza (1974) (one woman show, Broadway)
- Chicago (1975) (replacement for Gwen Verdon from Aug−Sep. 1975, Broadway)
- The Act (1977−1978) (Broadway)
- Are You Now or Have You Ever Been? (1978) (guest appearance, Off-Broadway)
- The Owl and the Pussycat (1978−1979) (Martha Graham Ballet/London and Lincoln Center/New York City)
- By Myself (1983) (one woman show, Los Angeles and London)
- The Rink (1984) (Broadway)
- Love Letters (1994) (Coconut Grove Playhouse, Miami)
- Victor/Victoria (1997) (vacation replacement for Julie Andrews, Broadway)
- Minnelli on Minnelli (1999−2000) (concert show, Broadway, Palace Theater)
- Liza's Back! (2002) (concert show, New York and London)
- Liza's at the Palace...! (2008−2009) (concert show, Broadway, Palace Theater)