Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Liza Minnelli - Cabaret trouper

Published Date: 31 May 2008

DUST OFF YOUR BOWLER HAT. Spit-shine those sequins. Lubricate your larynx. Liza's back in town!

Yes, next week Glasgow welcomes one of the last true stars, a woman whose very name evokes the spirit of Hollywood's Golden Age (even though she's lived in Manhattan for yonks). To prepare for her arrival, we thought it would be a good time to brush up on our trivia. Did you know:

-She's the only spawn of Academy Award winners (her father was Vincente Minnelli, her mum was Judy Garland) to also win the award herself, for her portrayal of Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

-She auditioned for the role of Mary Rachel in the Twilight Zone episode entitled "Come Wander with Me" (series five) but didn't get it. Producer William Froug remembered her as extremely young and extremely nervous and predicted: "I'll probably kick myself. She'll probably be a big star." Here's hoping that he wore soft shoes.

-She starred alongside British national treasure Julie Walters in 1991 dance flick Stepping Out.

-Judy Garland died while Minnelli was filming Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon. At the end of the picture, the young actress made a public vow never to work with "tyrannical" director Otto Preminger again – a not uncommon reaction, from what we've read about him.

-In TMTYLMJM Liza plays a grotesquely scarred woman. Her make-up was done by Charles Schramm, who also made up mom Judy for The Wizard of Oz ... and prepped Garland for viewing in the funeral home.

-It was a proper diva face-off in 1973 when Liza beat Diana Ross – also playing a singing marvel, Billie Holiday – to the best actress Academy Award.

-Minnelli is one of only three actresses to win both an Oscar and a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. The other lucky gals are Halle Berry and Faye Dunaway, while the Minnelli films are those screen classics, Arthur 2: On the Rocks and Rent-a-Cop.

-There have to be points awarded for knowing she was, briefly, the daughter-in-law of her mum's former Tin Man, Jack Haley, courtesy of her five-year marriage to Jack Haley Jr.

-In the 1980s she was managed by Gene Simmons of Kiss. But not for long.

-She became the seventh person to win America's triple crown in 1973: Tony for Flora, The Red Menace (1965); Oscar, best actress for Cabaret (1972); and Emmy for Liza with a Z! (1973).

-She won a second Tony for The Act in 1977.

-Her godparents were Kay Thompson and Ira Gershwin. Part of the current act includes a loving tribute to Thompson, who is said to have based the character of Eloise, the mischievous little girl who lives at the Plaza in Thompson's tales, on young Liza.

-On her dad's side she's French and Italian, but courtesy of her mum – birth name Gumm – Liza's part Irish and Scottish.

-In addition to her four husbands (Peter Allen, Jack Haley Jr, Mark Gero and the infamous David Gest), former conquests are rumoured to include Martin Scorsese, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Peter Sellers, Scott Baio (Chachi?!) and Desi Arnaz Jr.

-You'll find her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.

-She's had both hips replaced and one knee completely rebuilt, but recently said: "I'm fine, and my hips are fine. My false knee is fine. My false hips are fine. Everything's cooking."

-Which is really saying something, because in 2000 Liza contracted encephalitis from a mosquito bite and nearly died. Doctors said she'd never walk again, much less dance, but our girl's a trouper who knows the show must go on. "I had to learn to walk again, had to learn to talk again. People don't usually recover like I recovered but I would not give up. I just couldn't – I don't know how you'd do anything else. My father always told me, 'The way you do something is you think about it.'

"So on the wall when they turned my head there was a pattern of leaves and I started to count them and I was going 'ah, ah, ah' until I could say them. And then I did the same thing with walking. I really worked to get back. Most people don't come through it."
We're glad she did!

SECC, Glasgow, 6 June, tel: 0870 040 4000.

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