Happy Birthday Liza Minnelli: The ‘Cabaret and ‘Arthur’ Star Through the Years

by Keeli Parkey
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Even though she has experienced her share of ups and downs, life has been a cabaret for performer Liza Minnelli. Throughout her decades-long career, she has inspired countless others through her work on the stage and the big screen.

The actress, who is celebrating her 75th birthday today (Friday, March 12), was born into the entertainment industry in 1946. Her mother was the iconic movie star, singer, and stage performer Judy Garland. Garland is most famously known for playing Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” which is one of the most beloved movies of all time. While not as famous as her mother, Minnelli’s father was the respected movie director Vicente Minnelli.

After Garland divorced Minnelli’s father, she married Sidney Luft in 1952. They would have two children – Lorna Luft and Joey Luft.

Liza decided she wanted to be an actress and began working toward that goal. Her career really took off during the early 1960s. What really got her career going was performing with her mother at the famous London Palladium. In fact, tickets for the show sold so quickly that another performance scheduled.

By the late 1960s, things in Minnelli’s career were really starting to take off. According to IMDb.com, she won her first Tony Award for her performance in “The Sterile Cuckoo.” She was also nominated for an Oscar in 1969 for playing the same role in the movie version of the show. But, it was during the 1970s when she did some of her most famous work.

Minnelli Wins Academy Award For Role in ‘Cabaret’

Just as her mother became synonymous with one movie role, so did Liza Minnelli. If Judy Garland couldn’t be separated from Dorothy, Minelli cannot be separated from the character Sally Bowles in the movie version of the musical “Cabaret.”

Directed by the legendary Bob Fosse, the “Cabaret” movie made Minnelli a bona fide star. The role of Sally Bowles also won her an Academy Award in 1972.

“… Sally Bowles was played before as this little lost innocent, and what she is is a tramp, a user, a b****, and a lotta times you hate her, but by the time she finally sings ‘Cabaret,’ at the end, she’s learned something, she is finally feeling, suffering,” Minnelli told “Rolling Stone.” “I dig ladies like her; they burn high energy levels. …”

Throughout the 1970s, roles kept coming for her on both the stage and in the movies. Minnelli also became famous for frequent visits to Studio 54, as well as her marriages and divorces, according to IMDb.com. In the decades that followed, Minnelli has been more focused on her stage work and singing career. And, even though she has often been mocked by the tabloids in recent decades, she has risen above it. She remains a celebrated star to this very day.

Check out this clip of Liza Minnelli singing “Maybe This Time” from the “Cabaret” film below.

Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft Talk About Their Mother, Judy Garland

Liza Minnelli was proud of the work her mother did and actually loved “The Wizard of Oz.” And, so did her sister Lorna Luft.

“The story gets me. The way it’s photographed gets me. And, it scares me,” Minnelli once said. “I remember getting very scared of those monkeys that flew. …’

Judy Garland died in 1969. But before her death, she left a strong impression on daughter Liza. Minnelli told “Rolling Stone” the following about her mother: “… once I accused her of being full of self-pity, and she turned to me, smiling, and said, ‘Don’t you understand? Sympathy is my business!’ That was her survival. That’s what I learned from Mama — survival.”

You can watch Minnelli and Lorna Luft talk about “The Wizard of Oz” below.

Fans Wishing Liza Minnelli a Happy 75th Birthday

Several fans of Liza Minelli took to Twitter on March 12 to wish the famous actress a happy 75th birthday. You can check out some of the tweets below.

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