amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Liza Minnelli

2009 New York Gala Honoree

Liza Minnelli began performing at the age of three and hasn’t stopped since. She is an icon of stage and screen who has won virtually every award possible, including an Oscar, three Tonys, two Golden Globes, a Grammy, and an Emmy.

Liza was born in 1946 in Los Angeles to the actress/singer Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, the film director responsible for such classics as Meet Me in St. Louis, The Band Wagon, and An American in Paris. She began her career at a very early age, co-starring with her mother in the movie In the Good Old Summertime in 1949. At the age of 10, she hosted the first TV broadcast of The Wizard of Oz, which reached a viewing audience of about 45 million people. By the time she was 19, she had landed the lead role in Flora, the Red Menace, a Broadway performance that won her a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. 

Liza then went on to star in several films that showcased her superb acting abilities (Charlie Bubbles, The Sterile Cuckoo, and Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon). Her film career peaked in 1972 when she played Sally Bowles in Cabaret. The film won eight Oscars, including Best Actress for Liza. The role also earned her a Golden Globe and a British Film Academy Award. The unqualified success of Cabaret put her on the covers of Time and Newsweek in the same week. 

That same year, Liza also starred in the first concert ever filmed live for television.  Liza With a ‘Z’ produced a Top 20 album and won the Emmy for Outstanding Single Program; it has also been brilliantly restored and rebroadcast on Showtime Networks and released on DVD. In 1977, she appeared opposite Robert DeNiro in the musical New York, New York, directed by Martin Scorsese, and in 1981, she co-starred with Dudley Moore in the movie Arthur, followed in 1988 by the sequel Arthur 2. 

Liza’s performance in the made-for-TV movie A Time to Live added a second Golden Globe in 1985 to her already impressive list of awards. Four years later, she produced an album with Britain’s Pet Shop Boys called Results, which hit number one on the pop charts in Europe. In 1997, she took over for Julie Andrews in Broadway’s Victor/Victoria and returned to the stage in December 1999 to pay tribute to her father in Minnelli on Minnelli at New York’s Palace Theater. In the 2004–2005 season, Liza made us laugh as the hilarious Lucille Austero on TV’s Arrested Development; in 2006, she appeared as a wacky sex therapist in the film The OH in Ohio. 

Liza’s legendary music and film career thrives with ongoing concert tours in the U.S. and Europe, including her recent sold-out show Liza’s at the Palace…!, which received rave reviews. As she has throughout her career, Liza continues to participate in worldwide charities for causes such as AIDS research and various children’s programs.