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Liza Minnelli: Iconic Actress and Singer with an EGOT Legacy
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Liza Minnelli, born on March 12, 1946, in Hollywood, California, is an iconic American actress and singer renowned for her powerful alto voice and commanding stage presence. The daughter of legendary entertainer Judy Garland and acclaimed director Vincente Minnelli, Liza carved out her own illustrious career, earning an EGOT—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards—while captivating audiences with unforgettable performances in films like "Cabaret" and on Broadway stages worldwide.

Early Career and Breakthrough Roles

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
Liza Minnelli's early career was marked by her determination to step out of her famous mother's shadow and establish her own identity in the entertainment industry. Her breakthrough role came in 1972 with the film "Cabaret," where she played the iconic character Sally Bowles. This performance not only earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress but also solidified her status as a leading star in Hollywood. Prior to "Cabaret," Minnelli had already shown promise with her Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway musical "Flora the Red Menace" in 1965, which made her the youngest recipient of the award at that time. These roles were pivotal in transforming her from a promising talent into a celebrated performer with a distinct and powerful presence in both film and theater.
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Broadway Debut and Success

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Liza Minnelli's professional stage debut occurred in the 1963 Off-Broadway revival of "Best Foot Forward," where she played Ethel Hofflinger and won the Theatre World Award for her performance. Her Broadway debut came in 1965 with "Flora the Red Menace," where she starred as Flora and won her first Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, making her the youngest recipient of the award at that time. Minnelli's notable Broadway performances include "The Act" (1977), where she played Michelle Craig and won another Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. In 1984, she starred as Angel in "The Rink," a role that earned her a Tony nomination. Her one-woman show, "Liza's at The Palace...!" (2008), was another significant success, winning her a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. These performances highlight Minnelli's versatility and enduring appeal on the Broadway stage.
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Liza Minnelli's Breakthrough Role: Cabaret

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Liza Minnelli's breakthrough film role came in 1972 when she portrayed Sally Bowles in the musical "Cabaret." This role was pivotal in her career, earning her the Academy Award for Best Actress and establishing her as a leading star in Hollywood. "Cabaret," directed by Bob Fosse, featured music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and was adapted from John Van Druten’s play "I Am a Camera," itself based on Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 collection of stories "Goodbye to Berlin". Minnelli's performance as the "divinely decadent" Sally Bowles was widely acclaimed, and she became the first performer to appear on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines in the same week. Minnelli's portrayal of Sally Bowles was characterized by her vibrant energy, emotional depth, and distinctive style, including her iconic green nail polish. The character of Sally, a performer at the Kit Kat Klub who dreams of becoming a movie star, allowed Minnelli to showcase her exceptional singing and acting talents. Her performance in "Cabaret" not only won her an Oscar but also solidified her reputation as a versatile and powerful performer, separate from the legacy of her famous parents, Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli.
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Film Career Highlights

Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli
American actress, singer, dancer, and choreographer
Birth Date and Place
March 12, 1946, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupations
Actress, singer, dancer, choreographer
Acclaimed Roles
Sally Bowles in 'Cabaret', Academy Award for Best Actress
Liza Minnelli's film career began with an uncredited appearance as a baby in "In the Good Old Summertime" (1949), starring her mother, Judy Garland. Her first credited role was in "Charlie Bubbles" (1967), followed by a voice role as Dorothy in the animated film "Journey Back to Oz" (1972). Minnelli's breakthrough came with her Academy Award-winning performance as Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" (1972), a role that earned her international acclaim. She continued to make notable film appearances, including "The Sterile Cuckoo" (1969), which garnered her an Academy Award nomination, and "Arthur" (1981), a major box office success. Despite some less successful films like "Lucky Lady" (1975) and "New York, New York" (1977), Minnelli's filmography remains distinguished by her dynamic performances and enduring screen presence.
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Minnelli's Major Awards

6abc.com
6abc.com
Liza Minnelli's illustrious career has been marked by numerous prestigious awards and honors, making her one of the few performers to achieve an EGOT—winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Below is a list of some of her most notable accolades:
  • Academy Awards:
    • Best Actress for "Cabaret" (1972).
  • Emmy Awards:
    • Outstanding Single Program - Variety and Popular Music for "Liza with a Z" (1973).
  • Grammy Awards:
    • Grammy Legend Award (1990).
  • Tony Awards:
    • Best Leading Actress in a Musical for "Flora the Red Menace" (1965).
    • Special Tony Award for "Liza at the Winter Garden" (1974).
    • Best Leading Actress in a Musical for "The Act" (1978).
    • Best Special Theatrical Event for "Liza's at The Palace...!" (2009).
  • Golden Globe Awards:
    • Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for "Cabaret" (1972).
    • Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for "Arthur" (1981).
  • Peabody Award:
    • For "Liza with a Z" (1973).
Minnelli's extensive list of awards underscores her exceptional talent and enduring impact on the entertainment industry.
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New Liza Minnelli Documentary

whattowatch.com
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The documentary "Liza: A Truly Terrific Absolutely True Story" is set to premiere at the Tribeca Festival on June 12, 2024, offering an in-depth look at Liza Minnelli's life and career. Directed by Bruce David Klein, the film opens with a poignant scene of Judy Garland's funeral procession in 1969, setting the stage for a narrative that explores Minnelli's rapid rise to fame following her mother's death. The documentary is rich with archival footage and includes interviews with Minnelli's mentors, stage partners, and close friends, such as Mia Farrow, who provides personal insights into Minnelli's life. The film delves into the media scrutiny Minnelli faced throughout her career, highlighting her resilience and determination. One notable moment features Minnelli's response to a journalist's harsh question about her appearance, showcasing her unwavering focus on her craft. Klein's documentary aims to remind audiences of Minnelli's extraordinary talent, which he believes has been overlooked and forgotten by many. "Liza: A Truly Terrific Absolutely True Story" also explores the influence of key figures in Minnelli's life, such as Kay Thompson, Halston, and Bob Fosse, and how their guidance helped shape her dazzling persona. The documentary is part of Tribeca's diverse lineup, which includes a range of LGBTQ-inclusive programming, reflecting the festival's commitment to engaging with contemporary cultural conversations.
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Minnelli's Signature Songs and Albums

The Singer (Liza Minnelli album)
The Singer (Liza Minnelli album)
1973 studio album by Liza Minnelli
Release Date
March 1, 1973
Label
Columbia Records
Recording Venue
Larrabee Sound Studios, Hollywood, California
en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
Liza Minnelli's musical career is marked by her powerful voice and emotive performances, making her a significant figure in American music. Her 11th studio album, "The Singer," released in 1973, features a collection of covers, including Bill Withers' "Use Me" and Mac Davis' "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me". This album showcases Minnelli's ability to interpret and breathe new life into contemporary songs, despite her stronger affinity for pop standards. Another notable album, "New York, New York," released in 1977, includes the iconic title track that has become her signature song, closely associated with her persona and the city itself. Minnelli's versatility is evident in her ability to tackle various musical genres, from jazz standards in her 1996 album "Gently" to her attempts at contemporary pop and disco in "Tropical Nights" (1977). Her contributions to music have solidified her status as a beloved and enduring artist in the American musical landscape.
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Collaborations with Kander and Ebb

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playbill.com
Liza Minnelli's collaborations with the songwriting duo John Kander and Fred Ebb were instrumental in shaping her career. Their partnership began with "Flora, the Red Menace" (1965), marking Minnelli's Broadway debut and earning her a Tony Award. This successful collaboration continued with the musical "Cabaret" (1966), where Minnelli's portrayal of Sally Bowles in the 1972 film adaptation won her an Academy Award. Kander and Ebb also wrote material specifically for Minnelli in productions like "The Act" (1977) and "The Rink" (1984), further solidifying their creative synergy. Their work together extended beyond the stage to television, with the Emmy Award-winning special "Liza with a Z: A Concert for Television" (1972), showcasing Minnelli's versatility and the duo's innovative compositions.
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Minnelli's Life at Studio 54

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Liza Minnelli was a frequent and celebrated guest at Studio 54, the legendary New York nightclub known for its exclusivity and vibrant nightlife. The club, which opened in 1977, attracted a plethora of celebrities, including Minnelli, who was often seen mingling with other stars like Andy Warhol, Diana Ross, and Michael Jackson. Studio 54 was renowned for its hedonistic atmosphere, where the lines between performance and party blurred, and Minnelli's presence added to the club's allure. The venue's decadent parties and Minnelli's dynamic personality made her a quintessential figure in the club's storied history, embodying the spirit of the disco era.
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Marriages and Health Struggles

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Liza Minnelli has been married and divorced four times. Her first marriage was to entertainer Peter Allen in 1967, ending in 1974 after she discovered he was gay. She then married producer and director Jack Haley Jr. in 1974, but they divorced in 1979. Her third marriage was to sculptor and stage manager Mark Gero from 1979 to 1992. Minnelli's final marriage was to concert promoter David Gest in 2002, which ended in a bitter divorce in 2007. Minnelli has faced significant health challenges, including battles with alcoholism and prescription drug addiction, which began after being prescribed Valium following her mother's death. Despite these struggles, she has continued to perform and remains a beloved figure in the entertainment industry.
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Enduring Gay Icon

attitude.co.uk
attitude.co.uk
Liza Minnelli's status as a gay icon is deeply rooted in her powerful stage presence, resilience, and her connection to the LGBTQ+ community. As the daughter of Judy Garland, another revered gay icon, Minnelli inherited a legacy that she expanded through her own illustrious career. Her role as Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" and her numerous performances on Broadway and in film have made her a beloved figure. Minnelli's openness about her personal struggles, including battles with addiction and health issues, has resonated with many in the gay community, who see her as a symbol of endurance and strength. She has also been an active supporter of HIV/AIDS awareness, performing at significant events and using her platform to advocate for the cause. Minnelli's collaborations with artists like the Pet Shop Boys and her appearances in gay cultural touchstones, such as officiating a gay wedding in "Sex and the City 2," further cement her iconic status.
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