For Liza Minnelli, life has been about showbiz since the day she arrived. After all, it had to be — especially with her being the daughter of legendary entertainer Judy Garland and Oscar-winning director Vincente Minnelli.
“I was born and they took a picture,” the Cabaret star, 73, told Variety in a rare interview.
While her mom didn’t tell her — nor her half sister Lorna Luft or half brother Joey Luft — about her many ups and downs, that didn’t stop Liza from knowing when something was up even from an early age. “I’d tickle her when she was really angry or upset about something,” she recalled. “I’d take her by the hips and put her on the bed or on the couch. This is when I’m like 5.”
Escaping from her mom’s Wizard of Oz-sized shadow and her dad’s acclaim as a director was a true feat as well — even though she didn’t realize just how famous her parents were at first. “The hardest part was getting to be known as myself as opposed to somebody’s daughter,” Liza revealed.
As for her favorite memory with her mother, it was impossible for Liza to pick just one. “Everything,” she gushed. “We had such fun because she was so funny. She was funny, and she loved her kids so much. She was protective and very strict. She wanted you to do the right thing, like any mother. It’s that simple.”
It’s the little things like that the Liza With a Z star said she wants to preserve. After the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” singer’s tragic 1969 death at age 47, it “took a minute” before Liza was able to listen to her mother’s music again. Now — more than 50 years later — the EGOT winner is “definitely” able to feel her mom’s presence.
“When I call on her, she’s there, and I call on her a lot,” she noted, admitting what Judy’s spirit will often tell her. “She’ll say, ‘Ignore it’ a lot. She’ll say, ‘It’s one opinion. Who cares? Keep going.'”
Oh, and for those who wonder if Liza will has any interest in watching the recent biopic Judy, the answer is no. In fact, the only thing she would say about that is “I hope [Renée Zellweger] had a good time making it.”