It’s Christmas eve, and we are announcing the release of a new original Art Outsider image by Tennessee Loveless, and offering some great retro Christmas cheer!
Liza Minnelli: Songbird of Broadway
and offering up the absolutely wonderful Judy Garland Christmas Special where she and her mother sing together. This Christmas television at its best, and how great to be able to watch it online in preparation for the holiday! Need to wrap presents, make eggnog, or practice your dance steps? THIS IS THE SHOW! (commercials circa 1963 included!)
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM Tennessee Loveless, and all of us at ArtInsights. Celebrate being an art outsider, whatever art you do. <3
Here is the bio we just cobbled together (and were blown away by) of a consummate performer, who took her genes and worked hard to surpass even her own parents:
Liza Minnelli was born into show business royalty. Her mother was the luminous actress and songstress Judy Garland, and her father was film director Vincente Minnelli. Talent and magnetism was part of her genes, but so was an intense pressure to succeed and live up to the expectations that surrounded her from the first day of her life. Succeed she did, winning an award her mother was nominated for but lost twice, the Academy Award.
Named after her birth on March 12th, 1946 for Ira Gershwin’s song “Liza (All the Clouds’ll Roll Away)”, her first performance on screen was in her mother Judy and Van Johnson’s movie “In the Good Old Summertime” at three.
After studying at the High School for Performing Arts in New York, she started performing onstage professionally at age 17, winning a Theater World Award for her work in an Off-Broadway revival of the musical Best Foot Forward. Shortly thereafter, at 19, she won her first Tony Award as the lead in Flora the Red Menace. At the same time as she was treading the boards on Broadway, she was building her renown as a cabaret singer and began releasing records. Even early on, she was dubbed as ‘Barbra Streisand’s little sister’ by critic and music journalist William Ruhlmann. She went on to win one of only the Grammy Legend Award and became one of only 16 people ever to win a Grammy, Tony, Emmy, and Oscar.
On film, she will always be best known as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, for which she won an Academy Award. She also got nominated several years before, at age 23, for The Sterile Cockoo, which is when the world really discovered just how talented the daughter of Judy Garland was. She was unstoppable.
Few will ever surpass Minnelli’s spectacular performance on the made-for-television special Liza with a Z: A Concert for Television. Teaming up once again with Fosse, she danced and sang in an unforgettable red dress and really brought his genius, unmistakable choreography to life. If ‘jazz hands’ were a person, this would be like the day they met the queen.
Her personal life has been more challenging. She lost her mother in 1969 at 23, after which she was prescribed Valium, an experience she points to as the beginning of her alcoholism and drug abuse. She has been married and divorced four times, the first of which was to Peter Allen, whom she reportedly walked in on with another man. Of the event she jokes, “I’ll never surprise anyone coming home as long as I live. I call first!”
She was also married to Jack Haley Jr, the son of her co-star in The Wizard of Oz, Jack Haley, who played the tin man, as well as stage manager Mark Gero, and concert promoter, David Gest.
In later life, physical difficulties due in large part to a case of viral encephalitis have also variously plagued her. Following the illness, doctors expected her to be wheelchair bound and possibly unable to speak again. Tenacious to the last, she took daily vocal and dance lessons and performed again in 2001, taking the stage with Michael Jackson to perform songs at his concert at Madison Square Garden.
Liza is not only an icon, but also a committed alley to the LGBTQ community, and has donated many hours and funds to charities including amfAR. She recorded the song “The Day After That” to raise money for AIDS research, performing the song in Central Park at the 25th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Liza Minnelli is a beautiful example of a woman who not only rose to expectations placed on her at birth, but soared above them. She remains one of the most beloved icon of women of stage and screen. She turned the tragedy of her mother’s life and struggles into inspiration to find joy and success. Regardless of her own challenges, fans will always love her, not because she is the daughter of screen goddess Judy Garland, but for herself. Liza has lived on her own terms, shining her own inner light and bringing it to the world.