esilLiza Minnelli grew up on the front lines of entertainment; her mother was the great singer/actress Judy Garland and her father the director/designer Vincente Minnelli. Minnelli made her first film appearance, uncredited, as Garlands daughter (with co-star Van Johnson) in the last few seconds of In the Good Old Summertime (1948). When Garland shared a 1964 concert engagement at the London Palladium with her 18-year-old daughter, Minnelli's performing career was kickstarted. A year later, Minnelli had won the Tony Award for Flora, the Red Menace -- the youngest performer ever to do so -- and by 1974 had won an Oscar as well, for her performance as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse's dramatic musical Cabaret. Several of her TV specials, particularly Liza with a Z, received critical acclaim. Despite her auspicious beginnings in show business, her film career after Cabaret has been less than notable, with the possible exception of Arthur (1981) with Dudley Moore and Sir John Gielgud. Married four times, first to cabaret artist Peter Allen, then to Jack Haley, Jr., then to artist Mark Gero, and later to David Gest, for a time she was also linked romantically with Desi Arnaz, Jr., and Peter Sellers. In 1997 Minelli returned to Broadway as the lead in Victor/Victoria, though three short years later she was stricked with a case of viral encephalatis that threatened to leave her wheelchair-bound and unable to sing. Incredibly, following an appearance on the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary concert (produced by Gest), she was back on stage, and in 2002 she drew rave reviews for her nostalgic concert special Liza's Back. Always charming in front of the camera, the boyant actress/comedienne could next be seen as Buster's much-older girlfriend Lucille Austero in the shortlived, critically acclaimed, series Arrested Development.
Biography by Rovi
- Godfather was lyricist Ira Gershwin and she was named after his song "Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)." Her godmother was Kay Thompson, singer and author of the Eloise children's books.
- Made film debut as a toddler in the 1949 musical In the Good Old Summertime, which starred her mother, Judy Garland.
- Was once married to Jack Haley Jr, whose father played the Tin Woodman in The Wizard of Oz.
- At age 17, made off-Broadway debut in Best Foot Forward.
- In 1963, she released her first solo album, Liza, Liza!
- For her 2002 wedding to David Gest, Tito and Michael Jackson were best men and Elizabeth Taylor was one of 17 bridesmaids.
- Became the first performer to win an Academy Award whose parents also both won Academy Awards (her father for directing Gigi; her mother, an honorary Oscar for The Wizard of Oz).
- Involved in numerous charitable efforts, including amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. She also served on the board of the The Institutes for The Achievement of Human Potential.