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Liza May Minnelli (born March 12, 1946) is an American singer and actress of film, stage and television. She is the daughter of entertainer Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli.

After studying at the New York High School of Performing Arts and the Herbert Berghof Studio, Minnelli first attracted attention for roles in the musical Best Foot Forward and Flora the Red Menace which garnered her the Theatre World Award in 1963 and the Tony Award in 1965 respectively. Already established as a nightclub singer, and character actress in the movies The Sterile Cuckoo and Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, Minnelli rose to international stardom for her appearance as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical Cabaret, a role that brought her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

While film projects such as Lucky Lady, A Matter of Time and New York, New York were poorly received, Minnelli found herself as 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 The Act and The Rink. From the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, headlines focused on her health problems, alcoholism and drug abuse, but Minnelli found new prominence with international concert tours and appearances such as Liza Minnelli: At Carnegie Hall, Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event and Liza Live from Radio City Music Hall.

After years of continued health problems including a serious bout with viral encephalitis, she returned with a new concert show Liza's Back in 2002, well regarded guest appearances in the sitcom Arrested Development, a small role in the movie The OH in Ohio as well as worldwide concert tours. Having finished the Broadway show Liza's at The Palace...! in January 2009, which garnered her excellent notices, Minnelli is set to tour.

Minnelli has also won three Tony Awards (including one Special Tony), an Emmy Award, and the Grammy Legend Award for her contributions and influence in the recording field, along with many other honors and awards.

Early life

Liza Minnelli was born in Hollywood, Californiamarker to father Vincente Minnelli and mother Judy Garland. Born into a family well known to film-goers, Minnelli's maternal lineage can claim entertainers going back six generations. Her mother, Judy Garland, had legendary 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's 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 perfomances 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 sister Lorna Luft and brother Joey Luft. She also has another half-sister, Christiane Nina Minnelli (nicknamed Tina Nina), from her her father's second marriage.



Minnelli 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 Palladiummarker. The audience loved her, launching her future concert career.She turned to Broadwaymarker at 19, and in 1965 she became the youngest woman ever to win a leading actress Tony Award for Flora the Red Menace.


Minnelli began as a nightclub singer while in her teens and made her professional nightclub debut at the age of 19 at Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.marker. Later, she appeared in other clubs and on stage in Las Vegasmarker, Los Angelesmarker, Chicagomarker, Miamimarker and New York Citymarker. Her success as a live performer brought her a chance to record several albums at Capitol Recordsmarker: 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 different musical within she also has starred from time to time. Because of this fact, William Ruhlmann named her “Barbra Streisand's little sister”.

From 1968 up to the 1970s, she also recorded more contemporary material according to classic pop songs with her albums 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 commercial success as a recording artist. Today, she is still better known for her contributions to the Great American Songbook than for her interpretations of contemporary pop songs, although her collaboration with Pet Shop Boys in 1989 produced the significant album Results.

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.


Her 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. She was the first person to ever grace the covers of Time and Newsweek magazines simultaneously.

Hot off the success of the movie, Bob Fosse and Minnelli teamed up for what was to become a groundbreaking show in several departments. Liza with a ‘Z’. A Concert for Television, a filmed concert later aired only two times on TV until the recovery from the vaults and first public release on DVD in 2006. In the concert, filmed in one non-stop performance, Minnelli danced and sang in several daring and censor-challenging costumes designed by famed costume designer Halston. Several awards were the reward for what is regarded by both critics and public as a piece of show business history.

In 1975 she was considerd for the part of Anna in a Spainish film Un Largo Retorno. The director Pedro Lazaga saw Liza in Charlie Bubbles and though she was good for the part, but when he found out she was 29 she was considered to old for the part, the part was given to British actress Lynne Frederick instead.

Following a string of less successful feature movies and ventures into television, she finally got the chance to work with her father, director Vincente Minnelli, in the 1976 fantasy-musical 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 dueting with Liza 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.

Later career

Minnelli's career has been filled with highs and lows. In the beginnings, however, she recorded several studio albums for A&M and Capitol Recordsmarker. The Capitol albums Liza! Liza!, It Amazes Me, and There Is A Time have been reissued on the two-CD compilation The Capitol Years in 2001, for the first time in their entirety.

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 long-overdue comeback in 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, making her 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 and Academy Award, even though she is sometimes discounted since her Grammy was a special award and not won in a competitive category.

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.”

After a serious case of viral encephalitis in 2000, doctors predicted that she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. However, she refused to accept this and with the help of dance lessons, which she still takes daily, managed to recover and returned to the stage Liza's Back in 2002 performing to rave reviews in London and New York City.After this success, the world was again aware of Minnelli's entertainment capabilities and thus she continued to tour globally.

In 2004 and 2005 she appeared as a recurring character on the critically acclaimed TV sitcom Arrested Development as “Lucille Austero”, the lover of both the sexually and socially awkward “Buster Bluth” and Buster's brother “GOB”.

In September 2006, she made a guest appearance on the long-running NBC drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Masquerade, the 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, Liza had wanted to record a collection of songs that her godmother Kay Thompson had performed in her nightclub act. In 2007 Liza added some of Thompson's songs to her latest tour to introduce them to audiences. The Thompson material eventually appeared on the 2-disc set, "Liza's at the Palace...!," which was released in early 2009.

Minnelli returned to Broadwaymarker 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 in September 2009, at which time it was filmed for a PBS broadcast and a later DVD 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 portrayed in the Australian musical The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman. On Broadway, she was portrayed by star Stephanie J. Block.

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


Minnelli 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 1979.

Minnelli was married to Mark Gero, a sculptor and stage manager, from December 4, 1979 until 1992. She was married to David Gest, a concert promoter, from March 16, 2002, until July 25, 2003.

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.

Signature song

She has made many notable public performances of her signature song, "New York, New York":
  • At the 1978 Studio 54marker party honoring New York City's revival, at which a guest was Mayor Ed Koch;
  • The reopening of the Statue of Libertymarker on July 4, 1986 (this performance of "New York, New York" is generally felt to be among the strongest of her career );
  • As a duet with Luciano Pavarotti at the 1996 Pavarotti & Friends concert in Modenamarker, Italymarker;
  • At a 2001 New York Mets baseball game that was the metro area's first major sporting event after the September 11 attacks;
  • For the Macy'smarker 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular televised live, and nationally on NBC on July 4, 2006, she performed the song and received an ovation.
  • In February 2008, she performed the song at a televised celebration of Bruce Forsyth's 80th birthday celebration on BBC.
  • In June 2008, at the Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowlmarker where she was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.
  • On October 2, 2008, at Trevi Fountain in Rome to promote her next tour of Italy.


Year Film Role Notes
1949 In the Good Old Summertime Baby uncredited
1954 The Long, Long Trailer Wedding Guest scenes deleted
1967 Charlie Bubbles Eliza
1969 The Sterile Cuckoo 'Pookie' (Mary Ann) Adams David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Mar del Plata Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama

1970 Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon Junie Moon
1972 Cabaret Sally Bowles Academy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Sant Jordi Award for Best Performance in a Foreign Film

1974 Just One More Time Herself uncredited (short subject)
That's Entertainment! Herself (narrator)
Journey Back to Oz Dorothy voice
1975 Lucky Lady Claire Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1976 Silent Movie Herself
A Matter of Time Nina
1977 New York, New York Francine Evans Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1981 Arthur Linda Marolla Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1983 The King of Comedy Herself appears in gag cardboard cutout
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan Herself
1985 That's Dancing! Herself - Host
1987 Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night voice
Rent-A-Cop Della Roberts
1988 Arthur 2: On the Rocks Linda Marolla Bach
1991 Stepping Out Mavis Turner
1994 A Century of Cinema Herself documentary
1995 Unzipped Herself - uncredited documentary
2006 The OH in Ohio Alyssa Donahue
2008 Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age Herself documentary
2010 Sex and the City 2 cameo appearance


During the early days of Television in the 1950s Liza 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 and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. 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.


Studio albums

  • Liza! Liza! (1964) US #115
  • It Amazes Me (1965)
  • There Is a Time (1966)
  • Liza Minnelli (1968)
  • Come Saturday Morning (1969)
  • New Feelin' (1970) US #158
  • The Singer (1973) US #38 UK #45
  • Tropical Nights (1977)
  • Results (1989) US #128 UK #6, France #49, Sweden #23, mainly written and produced by Pet Shop Boys
  • Gently (1996) US #156 UK #58
  • Liza's at The Palace...! (2009)

Live albums

  • Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli Live at the London Palladium (1965) US #41
  • Liza Minnelli: Live at the Olympia in Paris (1972, recorded in December 1969)
  • Liza Minnelli: Live at the Winter Garden (1974) US #150
  • Live at Carnegie Hall (1981)
  • Liza Minnelli at Carnegie Hall (1987) US #156
  • Liza: Live from Radio City Music Hall (1992)
  • Aznavour Minnelli: Paris, Palais des Congrès (1995)
  • Minnelli on Minnelli: Live at the Palace (1999)
  • Liza's Back (2002)


  • Liza Minnelli: The Liza Minnelli Foursider (1990)
  • Liza Minnelli: The Collection (1997)
  • Liza Minnelli: A Touch Of Class (1997)
  • Liza Minnelli: It Was a Good Time: The Best of Judy Garland & Liza Minnelli (1998)
  • Liza Minnelli: 16 Biggest Hits
  • Liza Minnelli: Ultimate Collection (2001)
  • Liza Minnelli: The Capitol Collection (2001)
  • Liza Minnelli: L' Essential (2003)
  • Liza Minnelli: The Best Of Liza Minnelli (2004)
  • Liza Minnelli: When It Comes Down to It: 1968-1977 (2004)
  • Liza Minnelli: All That Jazz (2005)
  • Liza Minnelli: Say Liza (2005)
  • Liza Minnelli: The Complete Capitol Collection (2006)
  • Liza Minnelli: The Complete A&M Recordings (2008)

Soundtracks and cast recordings

  • Best Foot Forward (1963) (Original Cast Recording)
  • Flora the Red Menace (1965) (Original Cast Recording) US #115
  • The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood (1966) (soundtrack)
  • Cabaret (1972) (soundtrack) US #25 UK #13
  • Liza with a ‘Z’ (1972) (soundtrack) US #19 UK #9
  • Lucky Lady (1975) (soundtrack)
  • A Matter of Time (1976) (soundtrack)
  • New York, New York (1977) (soundtrack) US #50
  • The Act (1978) (Original Cast Recording)
  • The Rink (1984) (Original Cast Recording)
  • Stepping Out (1991) (soundtrack)
  • Music from The Life: A New Musical (1995) (concept cast album, is featured on "Use What You Got", "We Had a Dream", and "People Magazine")

Popular singles

Stage productions

Awards and honors

Film awards

Academy Awards
  • 1969 nominated: Best Actress in a Motion Picture ("The Sterile Cuckoo")
  • 1972 won: Best Actress in a Motion Picture ("Cabaret")

Minnelli has the distinction of being one of the few Academy Award winners whose parents were both Academy Award nominees, and she is the only winner of that award whose parents were both winners of it as well.

British Academy of Film and Television Arts
  • 1970 nominated: Film Most Promising Newcomer To Leading Film Roles ("The Sterile Cuckoo")
  • 1972 won: Best Film Actress ("Cabaret")

Golden Globe Awards
  • 1970 nominated: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama ("The Sterile Cuckoo")
  • 1973 won: Best Actress - Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy ("Cabaret")
  • 1976 nominated: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy ("Lucky Lady")
  • 1982 nominated: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy ("Arthur")

Television awards

Emmy Awards
  • 1972 won: Outstanding Single Program - Variety and Popular Music (Liza with a 'Z'. A Concert for Television)
  • 1973 nominated: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Variety Show or a Special (A Royal Gala Variety Performance)
  • 1980 nominated: Outstanding Variety or Music Program (Goldie and Liza Together)
  • 1987 nominated: Outstanding Informational Special (Minnelli on Minnelli: Liza Remembers Vincente)
  • 1993 nominated: Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program (Liza Minnelli Live from Radio City Music Hall)

Golden Globe Awards
  • 1970 nominated: Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama (The Sterile Cuckoo)
  • 1973 won: Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Cabaret)
  • 1976 nominated: Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Lucky Lady)
  • 1978 nominated: Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (New York New York)
  • 1982 nominated: Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Arthur)
  • 1986 won: Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television (A Time to Live)

Recording awards

Grammy Awards
  • 1990 won: Grammy Legend Award for Contributions and Influence in the Recording Field
  • 1997 nominated: Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance (Gently)

Stage awards

Tony Awards

Most recently, Minnelli won the Independent Theatre Reviewers Association award for Best Female Theatrical Performance of 2009. In addition, she was presented with a 2009 Drama Desk Special Award for her role as "a beloved American musical theater icon, for her enduring career of sustained excellence, and her glorious performance in “Liza’s at the Palace...".

Miscellaneous Honors

Hasty Pudding Theatricals
  • 1973 - Hasty Pudding "Woman of the Year"

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
  • 2005 - Vanguard Award, for "her contributions to increased visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community"

Mercy College
  • 2007 - Honorary Doctorate, "for her charitable activities and a career that has spanned five decades and multiple genres"


Minnelli has, throughout her lifetime, served various charities and causes which she considers very important. She served on the board of directors of the 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.

Other appearances

Minnelli also appears on "The Black Parade" CD by My Chemical Romance. During the song "Mama" she is the woman who sings "and if you would call me your sweetheart, I'd maybe then sing you a song".

Other Facts

Liza is friends and co-performers with Terri White who after a period of homelessness in 2008, was recognized by an NYPD Police Officer Taylor from the 6th Precicnt in Manhattan's Greenwich Village who set up living arrangements for her. She is currently starring in a Broadway revival of Finian's Rainbow.

In November 2009, American Public Television is slated to air "Liza's at the Palace", taped from September 30-October 1, 2009 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre. It is set to be distributed on DVD in early 2010.. The executive producers of the taping, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, previously were involved with the Academy Award winning film "Chicago" and the 2005 re-release of 1972's Emmy and Peabody Award winning "Liza with a 'Z'".

See also


  2. A Star is Reborn June 14, 2003
  4. Minnelli to guest star on 'Law & Order' October 1, 2006
  5. Liza's at The Palace . . .! Extends Through the New Year
  6. Peter, accessed December 2, 2008
  21. Palm Springs Life

Further reading

External links

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