Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

CHANNEL Seven has announced its next biopic TV production to be based on the life of openly-gay Australian singer Peter Allen.
Actor Joel Jackson will play the roll of Allen in the telmovie, which will air in September, alongside Sara West as Liza Minnelli and Sigrid Thornton as Judy Garland. Other cast members include Rebecca Gibney and Rob Mills.
The biopic will focus on Allen’s private life, from growing up in rural Australia, his marriage to Liza Minnelli in 1967 to living openly with his partner, Texan fashion model Gregory Connell.

Meet the Woman Who Took On Judy, Liza, and Bowie

Meet the Woman Who Took On Judy, Liza, and Bowie

Handling Judy Garland's emotional crises, finding David Bowie in a gay lip lock, and making Liza Minnelli a star were all in a day's work for talent agent Stevie Phillips, who lays out her phenomenal career in a new memoir.



One night in the early 1960s, Stevie Phillips, future talent agent and then road manager for Judy Garland, went to collect the star at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston for that evening’s concert at Boston Garden. In her suite, Garland looked at Phillips and smiled as they discussed what makeup supplies to take to the show — and then the great entertainer slit her own left wrist with a razor, sending blood spurting all over the lavish accommodations.
It was one of many times Phillips witnessed Garland harming herself, whether with a razor, a broken compact mirror, a match, or her endless supply of prescription drugs, washed down with cheap wine. And what happened next was indicative of both how Garland’s handlers treated her and how the star always rose to the occasion. Phillips’s boss, David Begelman (with whom Garland was having an affair), got Garland medical attention and then instructed Phillips to buy enough bracelets to hide the bandages. She did, and Garland went onstage as planned, doing “such a wonderful show no one could have suspected she wasn’t at the top of her form,” Phillips writes in her recently released memoir.
That memoir, Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me…, details four decades of Phillips’s adventures in show business. Eventually a top talent agent and Broadway producer, Phillips was an ambitious, movie-obsessed 24-year-old when she first met Garland, toward the end of 1960. She was doing general office work for Begelman and Freddie Fields at their just-opened agency, Freddie Fields Associates. Garland was their third client.
Phillips had been enchanted by Garland’s luminous screen presence in 1944’s Meet Me in St. Louis, but by 1960, Garland had developed a reputation for being difficult and unreliable, and she was no longer welcome in Hollywood. A successful concert tour could help restart her career.
Begelman and Fields proposed that Phillips accompany Garland on tour, taking care of the star’s needs and above all making sure she went through with her shows. Phillips ended up facing challenges she couldn’t possibly have expected but also learned that she could survive just about anything. 
She became an up-close witness to both Garland’s incredible talent and the psychic pain she seemed to suffer constantly, even though she could sometimes be delightful company. She came to realize that both were part of Garland’s appeal, especially to her huge number of gay fans. “Judy’s pain was something they could identify with,” Phillips says in an interview The Advocate.
Phillips’s association with Garland lasted just about two years, a period marked by concerts in venues both splendid and squalid, late nights in hotel rooms as Phillips sat up with the star until she consumed enough substances to make her sleep, and long limousine rides, including one in which, Phillips writes, Garland groped her in a sexual manner.
Phillips, who is straight, wasn’t interested, and Garland backed off. As to whether Garland was seriously interested or just doing something for effect, Phillips isn’t sure. “There were rumors about her being bisexual,” Phillips tells The Advocate, but she adds that she never witnessed Judy in a liaison with a woman. “My smell test is ‘Was you there, Charlie?’ and the answer is no.”
She does say Garland was highly sexed in general. “She loved having sex, and she loved men, and she had mischief,” the agent recalls in the interview. She also deeply craved love and was usually denied it, surrounded by people who mainly wanted to use her.
Phillips finally told Fields and Begelman she could no longer work with Garland after accompanying the star on a disastrous Caribbean vacation. On the flight back to Miami, Garland was supposedly refreshing her makeup when she deliberately broke a mirror and cut her face to ribbons with the shards, Phillips writes.
Although she knew Garland needed help, Phillips didn’t know where to begin to give it, and she recognized that her bosses were exploiting a sick woman. She told them she’d stay with the agency but not work with Judy anymore, and she wanted to be a full-fledged agent. Her first client: Liza Minnelli.
Minnelli, she writes, was essentially a lost little girl, neglected both by Garland and her father, director Vincente Minnelli. But she had a zest for life and undeniable talent. Phillips helped her become a star; with Phillips as her agent, Liza won a Tony in her Broadway debut, Flora, the Red Menace, then an Oscar for Cabaret.
Phillips recounts both good times and bad with Minnelli, including her wedding to gay entertainer Peter Allen in 1967, which was the last time Phillips would see Garland in person. Asked why both Minnelli and Garland married gay men (Vincente Minnelli was rumored to be gay, and Mark Herron, her fourth husband, definitely was), Phillips says they had genuine affection for these men, but there were career considerations too.
Noting that Vincente Minnelli filmed Garland with such love and care, Phillips says, “How could she not love him?” Liza and Peter Allen, she adds, “were the best of friends and loved each other’s company,” and they frequently performed together early in their careers. In her experience, Phillips adds, show business has lived up to its reputation as a welcoming place for LGBT people, many of whom have become her friends, such as Albert Poland, the founder of the Judy Garland fan club.
The business also has a reputation for ruthlessness, and Phillips writes about encountering plenty of that. Her relationship with Liza didn’t end well; as she tells it, having reached the heights of stardom, Minnelli unceremoniously dumped Phillips as her agent. Getting dumped happens to agents a lot, even ones as successful as Phillips and her friend Sue Mengers (the “Sue” of the title), a colleague at Creative Management Associates (into which Fields and Begelman’s firm evolved). Phillips has some none-too-flattering stories to tell about stars who have dumped her, but her book contains positive portrayals as well. Robert Redford (the “Bob” of the title) emerges as a man of great integrity; he was even a gentleman about switching agents, something for which Phillips blames herself, as she didn’t recognize that he wanted to become a director.
“Robert Redford was a prince,” she tells The Advocate. “When he moved on, I understood it. I felt I had dropped the ball.”
Another client she praises is David Bowie, “so intelligent and so gifted,” despite an incident early in their relationship. She signed Bowie just off the success of his 1972 Ziggy Stardust album and booked a massive concert tour for him; almost immediately he wanted to cancel it. She flew from her home base in New York to confront him at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. He was sitting on another man’s lap, they were kissing, and he wouldn’t say a word to her.
She left, frustrated, but on the way home she realized that Bowie probably knew canceling the tour would be disastrous and came to the conclusion he’d staged the event so he wouldn’t have to talk to her. She felt she could persuade him to postpone the tour instead of canceling, and the rest, as they say, is history.
She also has good words for Joan Hackett, a talented actress and good friend who died young; producer Hal Prince, whose name she says suits him; the Broadway cast and creative team of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, on which she was a producer; and numerous others. She’s gotten some criticism for her statements about Garland, although she’s hardly the first to discuss the icon’s difficult side.
“In the guise of love and admiration for Garland, Phillips trashes her former idol repeatedly with every sad tale of bad behavior she trots out,” Lisa Schwartzbaum wrote of the memoir in The New York Times Book Review. Schwartzbaum termed the book “revolting,” adding, “The character slashing here might make even horror fans go, Ick.
Phillips appears to take such critiques in stride. The review, she tells The Advocate, “was not about the book — it was about ‘Who is she to write about this legend?’” She also says she’s not bitter toward Garland and has come to understand her. A catalyst in that understanding was the breakup of Phillips’s marriage to composer Dave Grusin, which sent Phillips into an emotional tailspin and made her recognize herself as codependent — drawn to people in pain, people with addictions. And she wanted to tell this story.
“Suffering a deep depression (although never as deep as Judy’s, whose condition fitted the classic definition of manic-depression), I could finally identify, at least somewhat, with how Judy felt as she valiantly tried to go forward every day,” she writes in the memoir. She also recognizes Garland’s importance in her career and life, writing, “I’m still standing because of the greatest lesson Judy Garland taught me: how not to fold.”
And Phillips says that knowing what she knows now, she’d still advise any young person with showbiz ambitions to “go for it.” She’s continuing to look toward the future herself, discussing the possibility that her book might form the basis for a fictionalized film or TV series about a young female talent agent. And looking back, she would still go into the industry. “I’ve had a magnificent career,” she says.

Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me…, published by St. Martin's Press, is out now. Order here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Liza Minnelli's Clooney crush

 Liza with longtime friend George Hamilton.
Liza Minnelli has revealed that she has a huge crush on Hollywood actor George Clooney.

Liza Minnelli's Clooney crush

25th Aug 15 | Entertainment NewsThe 69-year-old singer thinks the 'Monuments Men' star is ''terribly handsome'' and she is delighted that he is also a very nice person.Asked who she has a crush on, she said: ''George Clooney. He's also terribly handsome. I know him a little and he's every bit as nice as he seems.''

When she was younger, Liza - the daughter of director Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland - had a crush on George Hamilton but as they have grown older, they have developed a strong friendship.

She told HELLO! magazine: ''George Hamilton was my childhood crush. I loved him. He starred in one of my dad's films, 'Home from the Hill' in 1960, when I was 14.

''I thought he was so handsome, so witty, he still is.

''After school, I'd go to the MGM set and watch him. He's remained a great friend of mine.''

Though the 'Cabaret' star has been single since divorcing David Gest in 2007, she hasn't ruled out ever marrying again.

Asked if she'll wed again, she said: ''Well there's no one special at the moment but who knows? The truth is, I'm much too bus right now and, anyway, I'm in love with life. I can honestly say this is the happiest I've ever been.''

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

LIZA ~ Flashback 2008: Liza Must Go On!

Liza Must Go On

For showbiz’s ultimate survivor, life has been one hell of a cabaret. But it’s marvelous all the same.

“She was this funny, serene force,” Liza tells me of Thompson and her influence on Liza’s childhood. “I remember once we were walking around in New York, I was about 4, and she had a big wolf coat, gray, just heavenly looking—she was so tall and thin. She stopped by the Stork Club. This very nice black gentleman opened the door, and she asked for Mr. So-and-So, and the man wasn’t in. And she said, ‘Yeah, well, just tell him that Miss Thompson and Miss Minnelli stopped by.’ And my world changed! I was Miss Minnelli.”
When she was 22, Minnelli spent a month studying Russian ballet, poring over Nijinsky with Thompson at her apartment at the Plaza. “We also went through a whole period when we studied haiku.” After Thompson was kicked out of the Plaza (she’d stayed rent-free for many years), she moved to Rome, then spent her last ten years in Minnelli’s apartment, wheeling about in elaborate turbans, riffing scat verses at her visitors, until she died in 1998, somewhere in her nineties. (She’d made up so many stories, no one knew her true age.)
As Liza describes the way she begged Ron Lewis to come be her director to reenact Kay’s act, he opens the hotel door.
“Hi baby! I’m braggin’ on ya.”
“You look great,” he says.
“I feel great,” she says.
We all continue happily chatting about that whole lost glamorous world—Liza’s stories are studded with visits to Noël Coward’s house in Switzerland, memories of the time that Charles Aznavour and Liliane Montevecchi snuck her into a Las Vegas show. Only when I mention Kay Thompson’s early rejections does the mood chill slightly. Thompson had a peculiar, acerbic charisma, I suggest—to some tastes insufficiently va-va-voom? Liza shakes her head: No, no, no.
“Oh, no, she conquered everything, then moved on,” Liza tells me. “She was the greatest person ever at MGM, then she got tired of that. She did a nightclub act that was the greatest nightclub act that had ever been seen, then she got tired of that. Then she wrote the best children’s book in the world. She lived her life! Anybody who knew her was lucky— ”
Worshipped her,” adds Lewis.

“They worshipped her. Because she was unique.”
I explain that I was just referring to the musical Hooray for What!, where Thompson met Liza’s father, Vincente Minnelli. She was fired before the show hit Broadway—an event so humiliating she vowed never to do Broadway again and never spoke of it.
“It was a musical that neither of them liked,” Liza says with a shrug. “And if Kay didn’t like somethin’, she said it’s silly for her to do it. And I understand.”
I move on myself, asking about another member of Liza’s self-created family: her drummer Bill Lavorgna, a beloved band member for many years. She called him Pappy, and he died last year.
“He was wonderful,” Liza says. “I knew him from the time I was 13. In fact, he caught me driving when I wasn’t supposed to be!”
This was in Las Vegas, says Liza. “Momma was there divorcing somebody, right? So I took the car. And I was just driving because, you know, because I could drive. And I’m driving along. And I’m also smoking. A fast 13, right? So I stop at a light and I look and there’s Pappy and his wife, Joan. And I think, I’m screwed. I am screwed, that’s it, I’m gonna be in trouble forever!” She grins, a big mischievous grin. “And they never told. And from that second on, we were best friends.”
This is Liza’s central definition of friendship: Friends keep your secrets, they stay on your side, even when contradictions arise. Her stories of how she met her friends are full of rescues—she called someone and he came unquestioning to her aid. And can you blame her? Judy Garland’s legend was built on a frighteningly intense vulnerability, the unhappiness of a child star fed amphetamines and forced to wear tiny disks to reshape her nose. The sob in Garland’s voice (which was shaped by Kay Thompson) made listeners desperate to soothe her sadness. She died at 47 of an overdose. In the show, Liza tells a story about giving Kay the news and Kay’s reassuring her, saying, “Your mother lived a marvelous life. She did everything she ever wanted to do.”
Liza has transformed Judy’s fragility into the theater of the eternal comeback: Her fondest fans share an understanding that things can only go very, very badly or magically well. Right now, she seems vibrant. She gets up and dances, she wriggles and literally wrestles with her choreographer, demonstrating for me the way she worked out the slapstick for her role on the sitcom Arrested Development—she refused to get a stuntwoman, she says. She was willing to do anything, as long as it was funny.
That night, I walk into Woonsocket’s Stadium Theater. Who knew this place even existed? It’s gorgeous, beautifully restored. The audience is filled with people who love Liza, who are thrilled that her voice is so strong, that she looks so good lounging in her white glittery pajamas. They go crazy for “Cabaret,” they are moved by her performance of Judy’s Palace medley, with a verse written specially for Liza. And they eat up the winking references: the way she describes three closets that Kay made for her, then says, “What’s in them, my last three husbands?”

But for my taste, the best number is Kander and Ebb’s “And the World Goes ’Round.” Liza wears a black velvet jacket with bright red cuffs; she stands still while she sings it, hands in pockets. Like many of her songs, it’s an anthem of hope and survival, but it’s hard to miss the colder, stranger theme: that no matter how bad your pain, the universe simply doesn’t care when you suffer. “And sometimes a friend starts treating you bad / But the world goes ’round! / And sometimes your heart breaks with a deafening sound.”
Two days before, I’d watched a beautiful performance of this song on an early interview with Geraldo Rivera, a raw young Liza singing it with her black hair wet against her face. “I desperately want a family,” she told Geraldo. “I really want a family. It’s important to me.” She was talking about having children, something she, like Kay, she tells me, wasn’t able to do—though like Kay, she has an extended family, of 22 godchildren. But it does seem that Liza’s somehow gotten what she wants. It’s a different definition of happiness; a marvelous life. And the world goes ’round.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Liza Minnelli Will Have a Great Day This Fall
Liza Minnelli Will Have a Great Day This Fall
By Andrew Gans
06 Aug 2015

Tony, Emmy, Oscar and Grammy-winning entertainer Liza Minnelli will debut a new concert act this fall.
According to the singing actress' official Facebook page, she will offer an evening titled Great Day Nov. 12 at The Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in Broken Arrow, OK, and Nov. 14 at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK.
Great Day will be conducted by Billy Stritch and will feature Cortés Alexander and Jim Caruso.
As previously reported, An Intimate Evening with Liza Minnelli will be presented Sept. 20 at the London Palladium and Sept. 22 at the Sheffield City Hall. Minnelli will also perform in concert Nov. 28 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, TX.
- See more at:

Liza Minnelli sings Aznavour: You've Let Yourself Go (Tu t'laisses aller)