Liza Minnelli: ‘Still loving life on my terms with a tight circle of people’

Embed from Getty Images
There’s a new documentary about Liza Minnelli — it really is Pride Month!! In his quest to reveal the woman behind the sequins and eyelashes, director Bruce David Klein filmed conversations with a bevy of Liza’s contemporaries, as well as Liza herself. And the finished product is this, Liza: A Truly Terrific Absolutely True Story (the title is perfect), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this week, in the hopes of securing a distributor. Since it may still be a while yet until we get to see it ourselves, USA TODAY has a review to tease tide us over. Some highlights:

A full cast of friends and artists sat for interviews in the film: Yes, it touches on her friendships with Halston and Fred Ebb; her mentorship from Kay Thompson; and her four marriages and three miscarriages. But the majority of insight comes from interviews with her close pals and collaborators, including John Kander, Joel Grey, Ben Vereen, Chita Rivera and Mia Farrow (a sardonic scene-stealer). Minnelli is also interviewed by Klein for the film, always armed with a quip and a throaty cackle. Asked about her relationships, she jokes “Give me a gay break, will ya?” And when Klein inquires about her late-night revelries at Studio 54, she playfully insists, “It wasn’t that wacko!”

Being Judy Garland’s daughter: The movie begins with the 1969 death of her mother, Judy Garland, from an accidental overdose at age 47. Minnelli was only 23 at the time. “It was devastating to me,” she tells Klein. “I didn’t stop crying for eight days, and I had to take on so much.” … She remembers how Ebb once told her to deflect reporters’ questions about Garland, who occasionally grew jealous when her daughter got more attention than her. “He would stop me from talking about my mother too much because then they’re thinking about her and not me,” Minnelli says. Seeing how her mom wrestled with addiction, she told herself that she’d never go down the same path. But, naturally, she’s only human: “Being Judy Garland’s daughter is not a lot of laughs,” Minnelli tells Klein. She tearfully adds that she’s grateful for “all the bad stuff” she went through because “it prepared me for the rest of my life.”

On why she didn’t attend the premiere: “My beloved sister, Lorna Luft, who makes an all too brief appearance (in the film), and I decided we couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t sit in the audience to watch a tribute to me,” Minnelli wrote. “Shades of ‘Sunset Boulevard’? Yikes!” The Broadway legend went on to say that it’s “only the beginning” of finding “new ways to create” at her age. She also called out “trashy” tabloids for insisting that she’s “too fragile” to travel. “How dumb is that?” Minnelli wrote. “Babies, I still travel. Still loving life on my terms with a tight circle of people I adore. I’m finally free to have fun.”


My mother and I were lucky enough to see Liza in her one-woman show, Minnelli on Minnelli, when she took it on tour after the Broadway run. Needless to say, she was fantastic. I was a tween at the time, and there are two moments I remember vividly: first, her showing slides of the kid-sized versions of Hollywood costumes her father Vincent had made for her each year for Halloween (the mini-me The King and I ball gown was too much), and second, Liza acknowledging that her sister Lorna was in the audience, and then making Lorna stand to receive the audience’s applause. Liza is a national treasure, and a feisty one at that! I love her clapping back at the tabloids — she’s about to zip off to Paris in a gulf stream, thankyouverymuch. Calling all studios/streamers: let’s get this film picked up tout suite, shall we? And attention Etsy: please do your thing and get “Give me a gay break, will ya?” printed on anything and everything. Happy Pride, y’all!

Embed from Getty Images

Photos credit: Kika Press, PacificCoastNews / Avalon

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

13 Responses to “Liza Minnelli: ‘Still loving life on my terms with a tight circle of people’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Digital Unicorn says:

    I love Liza – she’s just as talented as her mother. 2 beautiful people with a shared amazing talents.

  2. Lolo86lf says:

    It is fantastic to see how talented Liza Minelli is, and that she inherited her talent from equally gifted people as both her parents were. I did not know until now that she has no children, and that she had three miscarriages. It is a bit sad that her giant talent was not passed down to the following generations. I do wonder if she considered surrogacy or other methods to make her dream of becoming a mother a reality. Liza is awesome.

  3. Amy Bee says:

    I’ve only ever seen her in Arrested Development and she was one of my favourite characters.

    • AM_76 says:

      I loved her on Arrested Development she was so funny!! She was one of my favourite characters on the show as well.

    • lucy2 says:

      I knew her from many other things, but Arrested Development made me really love her. My screen name is derived from Lucille 2.

  4. Christina says:

    She was a giant in our house growing up. Her family’s art was so beautiful to my mother and to me. While she and her sister Lorna may see shades of Subset Boulevard, lol, I see a gorgeous life lived, and I can’t wait to see it.

  5. lisa says:

    ive been obsessed with her all my life. im lucky enough to have grown up seeing her in Atlantic City regularly and a couple of times on Broadway where she once came out the stage door and signed an autograph on my birthday and I couldnt stop crying. if they dont give her a Kennedy center honors tribute I will consider it a personal attack. Lisa with an S is just a stan account for Liza with a Z.

  6. TN Democrat says:

    1. I have loved her forever. More Liza, Dolly and fun stuff (loved the potato chip post). Less Arianna, Cyrus family dysfunction and the Windsor’s being deplorable. 2. Is anyone else having trouble with the site lately? Crashy/Freezing.

  7. SpankyB says:

    I was 7 or 8 when the movie Cabaret came out. I was far too young to see it but for some reason my parents took me with them to the drive-in. Had no idea what the movie was about, couldn’t follow it at all, but I was enthralled with Liza and her bigger than life acting, dancing, and singing. I’ve always tried to watch whatever she’s in since. Arthur is one of my favorites.

  8. Localady says:

    💕 🖖

  9. Nanea says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed that the interview/documentary about Liza’s life gets picked up *very soon* to wide distribution.

    She is one of my heroes and I really wish all the best for her.

    Agreeing here with Lisa with an ‘s’, the Kennedy Center honors is more than long overdue. What are they waiting for?

  10. therese says:

    Her mother was one of my musical idols. (The other is Bessie Smith). I was always trying to sing like them. I still go back and see Cabaret ever now and then. There is no other like her. She is one of a kind, with talent oozing out of her pores. But she had a really harrowing childhood, thanks to the addictions and accompanying horrible behaviors of her mother. Amazing she made it through.

  11. JFerber says:

    Truly talented and iconic woman. Wonderful to see her on this site.