LIZA MINNELLI, winner of four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a special “Legends” Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards, and an Emmy, is one of the entertainment world’s consummate performers. In film, on stage, and in television, Liza has won critical acclaim, a multitude of fans, and recognition from her peers in show business, giving new dimension and credibility to the word “superstar.”
Liza was born March 12, 1946, in Los Angeles, California, to actress/singer Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli, who was responsible for such classics as Meet Me in St. Louis and An American in Paris. Liza began her professional career in 1963, in an Off-Broadway revival of the musical Best Foot Forward, for which she received rapturous notices and the Theatre World Award.
Liza turned to Broadway at age 19, and in 1965 became the youngest woman ever to win a leading actress Tony Award, for Flora the Red Menace. In 1975 her enormous strength and talent were put to the test when she agreed to replace an ailing Gwen Verdon in the Broadway run of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. With only one week’s rehearsal, and no public announcement, Liza played to sold-out audiences for a period of five weeks. In 1984, Liza reunited with her Chicago co-star Chita Rivera in the Kander and Ebb musical The Rink. The musical garnered Liza a Best Actress Tony nomination. A special Tony was awarded to Liza for breaking the box-office record at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1974 for her one-woman show. In 1977, she returned to the Broadway stage in a starring role in the Kander and Ebb musical The Act, for which she was awarded her third Tony. The musical was directed by Martin Scorsese, who had just directed Liza on the big screen in New York, New York opposite Robert DeNiro.
She had been seen earlier on movie screens in films that showcased her superb acting abilities, including her first film role, opposite Albert Finney in Charlie Bubbles, followed by The Sterile Cuckoo, which won Liza her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In 1972 her movie career peaked when she played Sally Bowles in Cabaret. The film won eight Oscars, including Best Actress for Liza. The role also earned her a Golden Globe and a British Film Academy Award.
Liza starred in the first concert ever filmed live for television in 1972. The seminal Liza with a Z produced a Top 20 album and won the Emmy for Outstanding Single Program and the Peabody Award. Other television specials of that era included Goldie and Liza: Together with her friend Goldie Hawn, and the Emmy-winning Baryshnikov on Broadway. Liza emerged as a dramatic television actress in the made-for-TV drama A Time to Live, where she starred in the touching story as the mother of a child with muscular dystrophy. The role won Liza her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
Liza has never stopped touring and has long been considered one of the most exciting concert performers, electrifying audiences around the world and setting records at the most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, where one of Liza’s greatest triumphs was her unprecedented three-week concert engagement in 1987. Liza was the first entertainer in the hall’s history to completely sell-out three weeks of appearances. One of the most acclaimed show business triumphs of all time was Liza’s record-setting engagement at Manhattan’s famed Radio City Music Hall in 1991, where she played to packed houses for three weeks, followed by a return engagement. The show was called Stepping Out, after Liza’s film of the same name.
Liza returned to Broadway in December 1999 to pay tribute to her father in a show called Minnelli on Minnelli at New York’s Palace Theater. Shortly after the CD of Minnelli on Minnelli was released in February 2000, Liza was hospitalized for encephalitis. The prognosis was grim: she was told she would never walk, talk, dance, or sing again. But Liza’s incredible will, determination, and relentless hard work proved the doctors wrong, and by June 2002, she was back on stage at the Beacon Theater in New York. Her triumphant comeback CD entitled Liza’s Back! was released in October 2002, and she was seen the following year as Lucille Austero on TV’s critically acclaimed Arrested Development.
Liza made a triumphant return to Broadway in 2008 with Liza’s at the Palace ... which went on to win the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, Liza’s fourth Tony. She recreated the show at the MGM Grand, where her performance was filmed for a public television special and a DVD. The show’s cast recording was nominated for a Grammy.
In 2010, following a much talked about cameo in Sex and the City 2, Liza released Confessions, which was recorded with her longtime collaborator, pianist Billy Stritch. The CD debuted to great reviews.
Throughout her lifetime Liza has supported various charities and causes. She served on the board of directors of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential for 20 years. She also has dedicated much time to amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. In 1994, Minnelli recorded the Kander and Ebb tune “The Day After That” and donated the proceeds to AIDS research. That same year she performed the song in front of hundreds of thousands in Central Park at the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
More information can be found at OfficialLizaMinnelli.com and at facebook.com/OfficialLiza.