Saturday, January 22, 2011
Does Liza Minnelli miss her surgically enhanced ex David Gest? Not a bit - at 64, she's having the time of her life
By Lina Das
Last updated at 1:24 AM on 22nd January 2011
She was born to two Hollywood legends, has lived virtually her entire life on stage and adopted 'The show must go on' as her unofficial motto. So it's no surprise that the small matter of knee surgery failed to deter Liza Minnelli from recording her latest album.
'I was due to go in for surgery when Billy Stritch [Liza's long-time collaborator] suggested we recorded some songs. I was reluctant to do it in a studio, so I said, "Let's just do it at my house." So that's where we recorded everything.'
Wasn't she in pain? 'Only a little,' she says. 'But I love working and I need to keep busy. The secret is to keep working and never stop moving. If I sat down, I'd never get up!'
Never getting up might be an attractive option for someone who has lived a life like Liza's, but it certainly can't be said that she lacks fortitude.
A difficult childhood, battles with alcohol and four marriages - the last to music producer David Gest ending in well-documented acrimony with Gest accusing Liza of repeatedly assaulting him, while she claims he tried to poison her and killed her dog - have done nothing to dent Liza's verve.
And with good reason. Her latest album, Confessions, is doing well and recently Liza has been photographed looking considerably younger than her 64 years, prompting speculation she's had cosmetic surgery.
'I know people are saying, "Look, she's had her face done",' she admits. 'But I haven't had surgery. I'm scared to death of it. Just look at the album cover - it's been retouched to death! Re-touching is heavenly,' she adds. 'I absolutely recommend it to everyone.'
Liza's fourth and most recent husband, the improbably smooth-faced David Gest, had the knack of looking re-touched even in the flesh, though it's a subject I daren't mention, given the fallout from their divorce.
As it rumbled on, mention of Gest's name provoked stony silences in his soon-to-be former wife, and yet when asked if she is now friends with him, she replies with a simple, 'No.'
I'm sorry to hear that, I say. 'Don't be, honey,' she says. 'I'm not! I was married to him for about 20 minutes and I'm doing absolutely great now. I am friends with my other exes though... Well, those that are still alive.'
Given Liza's talent and fame, not to mention the weight of Hollywood history behind her - her mother was Judy Garland and her father Meet Me In St Louis director Vincente Minnelli - does she find that men are simply too intimidated by her to stick around for too long?
'Intimidated? I don't know,' she replies. 'That's probably a question only they can answer. But because I love to work and I tend to go from show to show, I'm not at home much and I am a bit of a gypsy.
'I think when women are young, we tend to maybe do ourselves down in order to make men feel bigger. But no more. I figure if a man is intimidated by me now, then that's his problem and I don't hang around long enough now to even find out!'
Would she ever consider marrying for a fifth time?
'You've got to be kidding,' she laughs. 'Of course not. I really don't want to do that again - but that doesn't mean I can't fall in love a million times. There's no need to marry now, in any case. When I was younger, I always thought I'd have children and I did long for kids. But I have 22 godchildren, all of whose names I remember, and having 22 godchildren is a lot easier than having 22 kids myself.'
After a lifetime in showbusiness, Liza continues to find fans with each successive generation. She made a brief yet memorable cameo appearance in last year's Sex And The City 2. Did she get to keep her outfit, like all the other SATC ladies?
'I made sure I did,' she laughs. 'It was my own to begin with! I loved every minute of working on that movie. It was hard work, but all the girls came in, even if they weren't appearing in the scene that day, and after takes we just sat around gossiping together. It was wonderful.'
Her iconic status would make her ideal, one would think, for an appearance on Glee, and she admits: 'I have been approached by the show, but because I've been on the road so much recently, I'm not even sure what they'd like me to do.
'But I love the show and think it's hilarious, so maybe in the future. Who knows?'
Liza Minnelli's Confessions is out now.