Liza May Minnelli (born March 12, 1946) is an American actress and singer. Best known for her Academy Award-winning performance in Cabaret (1972), she is noted for her energetic stage presence and her powerful Mezzo-Soprano singing voice. She is the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli. She is of Italian and mixed European descent.
Seeking theatrical work, Minnelli moved to New York City in 1961, where she began her career as a musical theatre actress, nightclub performer and traditional pop music artist. She made her professional stage debut in the 1963 Off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward and won a Tony Award for starring in Flora the Red Menace in 1965, which marked the start of her lifelong collaboration with John Kander and Fred Ebb. They wrote, produced or directed many of Minnelli’s future stage acts and TV shows and helped create her stage persona of a stylized survivalist, including her career-defining performances of anthems of survival (“New York, New York“, “Cabaret” and “Maybe This Time“). Along with her roles on stage and screen, this persona and her style of performance added to Minnelli’s status as an enduring gay icon.
Critically lauded for her early non-musical screen performances—especially The Sterile Cuckoo (1969)—Minnelli rose to international stardom, starring in Cabaret and the Emmy Award-winning TV special Liza with a Z (1972). Most of her following films — including Lucky Lady (1975), New York, New York (1977), Rent-a-Cop (1988) and Stepping Out (1991)—were panned by the critics and bombed at the box office, and she had no more major movie hits except Arthur (1981). She returned to Broadway on a number of occasions, including The Act(1977), The Rink (1984) and Liza’s at The Palace…. (2008), worked on various television formats and has predominantly focused on music hall and nightclub performances since the late 1970s. Her concert performances at Carnegie Hall in 1979 and 1987, and at Radio City Music Hall in 1991 and 1992 are recognized among her most successful. From 1988 to 1990, she toured with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. in Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event.
Best known for her renditions of pop standards, Minnelli’s early 1960s pop singles were produced to attract a young audience, and her albums from 1968 to 1977 contained much of the contemporary singer-songwriter material. In 1989, she ventured into the contemporary pop scene by collaborating with the Pet Shop Boys on the album Results. After a hiatus due to serious health problems, Minnelli returned to the concert stage in 2002 with Liza’s Back and was an acclaimed guest star in the sitcom Arrested Development between 2003 and 2013. Since the 2010s, she has avoided huge concert tours in favor of small retrospective performances