Liza Minnelli, much more than ‘Cabaret’

Singer and actress Liza Minnelli during a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2002.

Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland’s daughter was already a Broadway star before winning the Oscar for Bob Fosse’s film and starring in “Arthur, the Golden Bachelor” and “New York, New York.”


Liza Minnelli was born in Hollywood (California) on March 12, 1946, the daughter of film director Vincente Minnelli and actress and singer Judy Garland. Both were artists of international renown, and Judy Garland rose to myth status for generations, partly because of her starring role in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and also because of her stormy private life.

Liza attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of Music and Art and Performing Arts in New York City. His first experience acting in film had been at the age of three: he appeared in the final scene of the 1949 musical film “In the Good Old Summertime,” starring his mother Judy Garland and Van Johnson.

He made his off-Broadway debut in New York at the age of 17, in 1963, in the revival of the play ‘Best Foot Forward’, which had been made into a movie in the 1940s with Lucille Ball. For her debut, Liza won the Theater World Award, and the following year (1964) she accompanied her mother Judy Garland in her show at the London Palladium in London.

Liza Minnelli, between Burt Reynolds and Gene Hackman in ‘The Adventurers of the Lucky Lady’.

She jumped onto the official Broadway circuit in 1965 with the play ‘Flora the Red Menace’, for which she received a Tony Award at just 19 years of age, being the youngest actress to obtain it. It was the first of her several Tony Awards over a decades-long career: she received another for ‘The Act’ in 1978, and previously a Special Tony in 1974. She was nominated in 1984 for ‘The Rink’ but lost it to her partner. cast Chita Rivera. Already in 2009 he would receive the award for the fourth time, for his recital ‘Liza’s at the Palace!’. Among his other theatrical works, we must mention his participation in ‘Víctor o Victoria’ (1995) when he replaced Julie Andrews in various roles.

Although she is remembered for several film roles, such as Bob Fosse’s ‘Cabaret’, which won her the Oscar and put her in world orbit, and for the comedy ‘Arthur the Golden Bachelor’, Liza stood out especially for her activity as a singer. and dancer in live shows, both variety shows and musical comedies. He began giving recitals at age 19, in cities like Las Vegas and New York, with a repertoire centered on songs from Broadway musicals and popular classics from decades ago. With these songs she recorded three albums for the Capitol Records company, and later updated her repertoire with more recent songs, some composed expressly for her. Throughout his musical career he has starred in multiple international tours and television shows, collaborating with such disparate figures as Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour, Goldie Hawn or Cliff Richard …

His trajectory in the cinema has been uneven, at least in terms of commercial results. He made his debut in ‘Charlie Bubbles’ (1967), the only film directed by and starring Albert Finney. In 1969, his performance in Alan J. Pakula’s film ‘The Sterile Cuckoo’ earned him his first Oscar nomination. Finally, she would win the Oscar for best actress for her role as Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’ (1972), a film that established her worldwide as both an actress and a singer. Minnelli is the only Oscar winner whose parents also won it. Another of his most memorable roles is as the protagonist of the drama ‘Tell me you love me, Junie Moon’ (1970) by Otto Preminger, where he plays a young woman with her face disfigured by an acid attack. In 1975 he starred in “The Adventurers of the Lucky Lady” with Burt Reynolds and Gene Hackman; in 1976 he shot his father’s last film, ‘Nina’, along with Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer and the Spanish Fernando Rey; and the following year he starred with Robert De Niro in ‘New York, New York’, a musical film by Martin Scorsese today considered cult. In 1980 Liza regained popularity with ‘Arthur the Golden Bachelor’, a comedy starring Dudley Moore.

Liza Minnelli between designer Halston and Steve Rubell, owner of New York nightclub Studio 54.

Liza has also won awards for her activities on television and in the record market. He received an Emmy Award for the 1972 television special ‘Liza with A Z’, and in 1990 he received a Grammy Award in recognition for ‘Cabaret’ and for the television movie ‘A Time to Live’.

Before, in 1985, Liza had to be hospitalized for alcohol and drug addiction problems. He turned down the offer to sing along with other artists the famous charity hit ‘We are the World’; possibly for health reasons. He recovered from his addictions and in 1988 he starred in a successful tour with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.


Trailer of ‘Cabaret’.

In 1992, Liza participated in a tribute concert to the late Freddie Mercury, where she sang her hit “We Are The Champions” with the Queen group. In 1994 he recorded a duet with Frank Sinatra (“I’ve Got the World on a String”) for his hit album Duets. Later he would intervene in another similar project: the double album by Charles Aznavour entitled Duets. In 1996 he released a new album, Gently, focused on jazz repertoire and which included a duet song with Donna Summer: “Does He Love You.”

Known for her fragile health and emotional ups and downs, Liza Minnelli has undergone detox treatments and operations several times, but has always reappeared with optimism and new vigor. She had also suffered from encephalitis that seemed to condemn her to a wheelchair, but she also managed to recover.