Friday, December 10, 2010
Liza Minnelli Opens Up About Her Legendary Parents and Her Amazing Longevity
by Ileane Rudolph
Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy Legend Award winner Liza Minnelli finally joins Robert Osborne's illustrious guest list on Saturday's episode of Private Screenings (10/9c, TCM). I watched her film the chat in the New York's West Village back in June, looking remarkably limber just a few months after knee replacement surgery. She was about to head out on tour to support her album Confessions, released this past September. Earlier this week, fresh from a San Francisco concert, the diva talked to me about her new album and her conversation with Osborne about growing up with legendary parents Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli and some of their equally famous friends. (AMC is also airing 10 of her parents' films — including An American in Paris and Gigi — plus Liza's Cabaret on Saturday and Tuesday.)
TV Guide Magazine: After watching the interview, I want to watch all of the films TCM is airing this week. Which of your parents' movies is your favorite?
Minnelli: I like Meet Me in St. Louis because it's the reason I'm here!
TV Guide Magazine: Did your parents meet on that film?
Minnelli: Yes, they did.
TV Guide Magazine: Why has it taken so long for you to go on Osborne's Private Screenings?
Minnelli: I don't know! We've been friends for a long time. But I'm always working. When he said, "Why don't we do this?" I said, "Sure." I think it's because he liked the Confessions album so much. You know, Rock Brynner, Yul Brynner's son, wrote the liner notes. I grew up with him and he's a professor now. It's having wonderful success and I'm so glad. I recorded it before I had my knee replacement surgery and right after. I sang the whole thing in my bedroom. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Why did you call it Confessions?
Minnelli: That's what it is. The song "Confessions" is a great song. I heard it first when I was 13. Listen to the lyrics. [She sings the song.] The last line is, "I always go to bed at 10 — and then go home at 4." [Laughs] So that introduces what this album's about. Which is all the loves one's had in one's life. It's my first real jazz album
TV Guide Magazine: You talk about your parents' movies on Private Screenings. What do you want viewers to know about Vincente Minnelli?
Minnelli: All you have to do is look at his films to know that he changed history in film — certainly changed the spectrum of color. He was just a wonderful director and a great father.
TV Guide Magazine: What's important to say about your mom Judy Garland?
Minnelli: How funny she was. How she never took herself seriously.
TV Guide Magazine: And Liza Minnelli?
Minnelli: That's up to you! But I like to work. I like figuring things out, studying and creating. The joy of performing is what I'm hooked on.
TV Guide Magazine: You practically grew up at the MGM studios in the late '40s and '50s.What was the most fun?
Minnelli: I always loved to hang out in the dance rehearsal hall because dance was my first love. I loved to watch Cyd Charisse and of course Gene Kelly. I learned how to count watching them. That's why I can learn dance steps so fast now. I wanted to dance so much! That was my playground, MGM. But I never thought of going into movies. My goal was to be on Broadway.
TV Guide Magazine: You certainly did that. Plus you won an Oscar for Cabaret.
Minnelli: That's what so exciting I'm so lucky to have this career and have those great songs written for me. God, when you think about them. And all the awards. I'm just so blessed.
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of the stage, you've done musical tributes to your dad and godmother Kay Thompson [Funny Face]. How about your mom?
Minnelli: I'm sure I will do that one day, but right now I'm doing so many other things. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Like your appearance on The Apprentice finale.
Minnelli: Yes, I sang "New York, New York" and "The World Goes Round." I'm open to everything. One minute I'm recording with My Chemical Romance and the next I'm doing a show somewhere in the Balkans!
TV Guide Magazine: So you're nowhere near retirement?