Who is Liza Minelli

Liza Minnelli

This strange musical looks like a bad nightmare in which the clock is ticking incessantly, which condenses into a fantastic, cynical genre picture of brown danger. "Cabaret"(1972) takes place in Berlin: in 1932 a British student meets a mixed society: a young upstart, a Jewish merchant's daughter, a cowardly and ambitious boy and the lively stage star Sally Bowles alias Liza Minnelli, who opposed with an energetic, loud, shrill voice sings to the brown rulers.

Hollywood, late forties: Liza Minnelli, the talented child, always has to be better than the others because she is the daughter of the great singer and actress Judy Garland, her father Vincente Minnelli has with "An American in Paris" and "Gigi"Enriched the history of the American film musical. But it did not have to fight long or bitterly for its own place in the sun - as even experienced chroniclers keep saying - it won over audiences right from the start.

"In this business you have to win every day if you want to stay on top," says Liza, and she has learned to win every day. If you see and hear her smacking her songs into the auditorium with wild arm movements, then you no longer need to be afraid of her image or her star career. But what actually makes the success of this small, lively person? Certainly their appearances, even if they seem spontaneous, are planned down to the last detail, precisely calculated. But she does not just sing from the sheet, she enlivens the stage, is constantly in motion and also emotionally: that is not singing, but also acting, that is not just acoustics, but also gestures and movement - but above all emotion.

"Laughing to Keep From Crying", laughing to hide the pain - that is her motto, her style, her quality, and she pushes it to the limit of exhibitionism. At her concerts in Germany in November 1987 and January 1995 she showed her incredible power - in seven years she has lost none of her power and voice. But you feel something else painfully if you listen to her for 90 minutes from a huge auditorium and watch: This bundle of energy is also a victim of our time, a victim of the jet set. She takes part in the dance around the golden calf. On their trip to Europe in 1975, the organizers had saved up on the orchestra, allowed people to come in for another half an hour during the performance - and something of being at the mercy could be seen through the perfection of the event. Liza Minnelli lets managers market her - and it's not even certain that she is aware of it.

Little Liza Minnelli grows up in a total fairytale world; as a child she is always princess and Cinderella at the same time. Children's birthdays are already fairs with fire-eaters, magicians and robber and gendarme games in a western look. She usually lacks parental love, the bedtime story, and tender affection. Once as a little girl she lets out all the grief when she and her playmates put on a little show called "Shit Hollywood".

As a teenager, she switched private schools, cities, hotels and fathers - four in number. And she brings her younger siblings to school. Then at some point she breaks out and flies - without her mother noticing - to London for a day. And then she builds her career on her own: When auditioning and auditioning, nobody knows who her parents are.

And then comes the star career. Already at the age of 15 she played a real stage role in the "Diary of Anne Frank" on a US tour. In 1962 she began studying acting at the Herbert Berghof Studio, a year later she made her Broadway debut with "Best Foot Forward" in 1964 she performs at the Palladium in London with her mother Judy Garland and produces her first record. In 1965 she received the Debutant Award for her role in the musical "Flora, the Red Menace". Liza played her first film role in Albert Finney's directorial debut, "A Successful Dud" (1968) (although she had her first appearance in 1949 at the age of three in "Damals im Sommer" with her mother).

Soon, "the girl with the flat feet, the far too long nose and the bent chassis" (Liza self-assessment) will be on the top. She received an Oscar nomination for the role in Alan Pakula's "Pookie" (1969). The Association of American Variety Artists named her Show Star of the Year 1968, Charles Aznavour called her the "Super-Piaf", and for her leading role in Bob Fosse's "Cabaret" (1972) she finally received an Oscar and an Emmy Award for hers in the same year TV hit "Liza With a Z".

In 1975 she was partner of Gene Hackman and Burt Reynolds with Stanley Donen in "Adventurers on the Lucky Lady": as a bar singer who competed in alcohol smuggling with two adventurers with real gangsters on an old boat off the American coast. The trio earns a golden nose, kills the pros and leads an exciting ménage a trois - all at the time of the global economic crisis and the alcohol ban in the USA.

But unlike Billy Wilder in "Some like it hot"Stanley Donen didn't quite succeed in making something really original out of the weak script by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. At least, with the help of the excellent cameraman Geoffrey Unsworth, it was possible to capture the atmosphere of the 30s and the turbulent play of Liza Minnelli and Gene Hackman saves time and again from idling, Liza Minnelli in particular reminds us of her mother Judy Garland in some downright clownish scenes, whose imagination, versatility and diversity of expression she inherited.

In 1976 she played in "Just a Question of Time", a film by her father Vincente. An impoverished Roman countess tells hotel maids that anyone can achieve anything, that star careers are just a matter of will and time. Director Minnelli uses the confrontation between young and old to nostalgic memories of the good old days, when the countess was the focus of society. Despite excellent interpreters such as Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer and Liza Minnelli, the director did not manage to build on his big films. After the premiere, the film was cut by almost half due to total failure.

In 1977 you can see her at the side of Robert De Niro in "New York, New York"Directed by Martin Scorsese. Victory frenzy in Time Square in New York: It's 1945, the guys from the front come home and throw themselves into the hustle and bustle and - if they don't have a home - look for a girl. For Jimmy (Robert De Niro) and Francine (Liza Minnelli) the encounter turns into fate: After a few very clumsy advances, the easy-going boy bites into the uniformed troop supervisor and just won't let up.

De Niro and Minnelli play an artist couple who come together after all sorts of wild arguments, make their way together for a while, only to finally drift apart. The dramaturgical uncompromisingness, the garish atmosphere and the exact background description add up to a brilliant film. There are show scenes that are second to none, and yet Scorsese never gets lost in superficialities, keeps an eye on the story, is interested in the fate of his heroes. A film about New York, about America, about Americans, about interpersonal relationships and their brutality. But the gorgeous film is a flop.

In 1987 Liza presented a television documentary about her father, and since 1990 she has been on tour almost exclusively as a singer. She and her half-sister Lorna Luft (born 1953) can be seen in the TV show for the 50th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz - The Magic Land".

After the failure of "New York, New York", her film offers are becoming rarer, and Liza Minnelli falls into a personal crisis. In 1981 she played alongside Dudley Moore in "Arthur - No Child of Sadness" and later in the sequel, in 1984 in "The Muppets conquer Manhattan"and in 1985 moderates - as in 1974 with" That's never again "- a new musical potpourri from MGM:"That's dancing!". But in between she has alcohol problems and in 1984 she was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho, California - together with her third husband Mark Gero, as some sources say. When Liza was on tour in Germany in 1987, you don't notice anything.

In 1987 she made the English-American film "with Burt Reynolds"Rent-a-cop"Directed by Jerry London. Ex-police officer Tony Church is with the call girl Della. Together they are after drug dealers. The film followed in 1991"Stepping out"by Lewis Gilbert, who was only released as a video after the German premiere at the Munich Film Festival. The film tells the story of a group of tap dance students who finally make a big performance after laborious rehearsals.

Every now and then Liza Minnelli makes another film, such as "Parallel Lives" (1994) or "West Side Waltz" (1995), but she spends most of her time as a singer in concert halls, nightclubs and show programs for television. She last made a small appearance in the inconsequential comedy "Sex and the City 2" (2010).