Liza Minnelli Biography

PHOTO: Liza Minnelli

A dynamic and multi-talented performer, Liza Minnelli has sculpted a hugely successful career involving stage, screen and television.

Born to singer and actress Judy Garland and Oscar winning movie director Vincente Minnelli, Liza began her life in the limelight, and had her first starring role at just 14 months old in the movie 'Good Old Summertime'.

From 1956 onwards, she began making guest appearances as a variety performer on TV series and specials. Minnelli went on to establish herself as a captivating and lively performer on stage in the early 1960s.

She made her stage debut in 1961 in the musical 'Wish You Were Here'. Other roles involved performances in both musicals and plays, including 'Take Me Along' and 'The Diary of Anne Frank', but her first real break came in 1963 in the play 'Best Foot Forward', for which she was finally recognised.

During this time her parents divorced and in 1952 her mother married Sid Luft, and sister Lorna and brother Joey were later born.

A year after Liza's success in 'Best Foot Forward', her mother Judy invited Liza to join her for a show at the London Palladium. The show was a sell out and was the turning point for Liza's career. It was here that Liza met her first husband Peter Allen, a friend of her mother's.

In 1965 Liza headlined the musical 'Flora, The Red Menace', for which she won a Best Musical Actress Tony Award at just nineteen years old, and which marked her first collaboration with songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb.

Her career went from strength to strength, and she was nominated for her first Academy Award for the role of Pookie Adams in 'Sterile Cuckoo'. Undoubtedly her greatest screen role was playing Sally Bowles in 'Cabaret', which earned her the Oscar for Best Actress. However, this was the last of Liza's major successes.

Her mother died of an overdose in 1969, and in a strange bit of casting Minnelli provided the voice of the role made famous by Garland, Dorothy in the 1974 film 'Journey Back to Oz'.

Liza was directed by her father Vincente in 'A Matter of Time', which was not a great success. She was also having difficulties with her personal life - she divorced husband Allen in 1974, and not long after married Jack Haley Jr, a filmmaking executive. This was a rocky marriage and ended again in divorce just 4 years later in 1978.

During the 1980s, Liza enjoyed some box office success, the biggest being her role in 'Arthur', as Dudley Moore's love interest.

She remarried for a third time in 1979, to sculptor Marc Greco, and this lasted throughout her film career in the 1980s and early 1990s. This period saw her in a few cameo roles, in films like 'The Muppets Take Manhattan', 'Rent-a-Cop', and 'Stepping Out'.

Liza tackled some more dramatic roles, earning a Golden Globe, as the mother whose son is coping with muscular dystrophy, in 'A Time To Live', as well as giving emotional performances in 'Parallel Lives' and 'The West Side Waltz'.

Liza, like her mother, has endured a number of romantic problems and has survived a chronic abuse of drugs. In 1995 she underwent hip replacement surgery, and five years later went back for her second hip surgery. In 1997 she underwent throat surgery, and in 2000 was hospitalized with encephalitis.

In 2001 Liza found love again, marrying a year later for the fourth time, to producer David Gest. But, after just 16 months of 'wedded bliss' the couple split up.

In 2004 and 2005, she appeared in the award-winning show 'Arrested Development', before making a guest appearance the following year on the NBC show 'Law and Order'.

In 2006, Minnelli featured as a guest vocalist on the My Chemical Romance album 'The Black Parade'. She can be heard on the track 'Mama'.

She returned to the stage in 2008, with a solo show at the Palace Theatre. 'Liza's at The Palace…!' ran for a month and was popular with audiences and critics alike. It was later released on DVD.

Minnelli has remained busy in recent years, completing a tour in 2009 and making a cameo appearance in the film 'Sex and the City 2', which was released in 2010. She also appeared on NBC's 'The Apprentice' later that year.

Her latest album 'Confessions' was released in 2011. Minnelli revealed that she was forced to record some of the record in bed because she couldn't walk for six weeks following a knee replacement.

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