Start spreading the news: Liza Minnelli is turning 70!
It's hard to sum up the life and career of Minnelli in a few lines. The daughter of Hollywood royalty (actress Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli), Minnelli has been performing since she was a teenager. She wowed audiences as Sally Bowles in the Academy Award-winning film Cabaret. She cracked up theaters as a comedic actress in Arthur alongside Dudley Moore. She is one of a select number of performers to have achieved the coveted EGOT (winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony during her career).
Though having dealt with personal struggles, including failed relationships and problems with drug addiction, Liza Minnelli remains a true icon, an inspiration, and one of the most fun and fascinating celebrities out there. Here are some of the highlights from her first 70 years as a superstar.
New York, New York
Minnelli started her illustrious career as a nightclub singer, crooning tunes while dreaming of the stage. While it lacked the glamour of Broadway, those years performing for an audience definitely helped her build her acting chops and stage presence. Her theatricality (and killer pipes) are on clear display here, as she belts out her signature song (from the movie of the same name). She starred alongside Frank Sinatra, who also used this as his signature song and even did duets with Minnelli from time to time.
Forget the remake with Russell Brand; this is the iconic comedy that you need to watch. Dudley Moore stars as the lovable drunken millionaire Arthur, who is unwillingly engaged to an aristocratic lady. As luck would have it, he falls for the working-class and delightfully eccentric Liza Minnelli. Their love affair (and Arthur's good-naturedly madcap antics) make this a surprisingly sweet story of two oddballs finding their perfect match. This marked a return to commercial success for Minnelli, who ably held her own as the straight man to Moore's increasingly screwball antics. Although definitely dated in a lot of ways—most notably the fashion—at heart this is an earnest and sincere romance with some of the funniest bits you'll see onscreen. It also remains a testament to the comedic talents of the late Moore.
Minnelli won a much-deserved Oscar for her role in this classic film (after being turned down to portray the same role onstage). Her raw, intense performance as American cabaret performer Sally Bowles living and loving in Berlin against the backdrop of the rise of the Nazi party is unforgettable and contains some truly catchy tunes. By turns sexy, sad, scandalous, and scary, Cabaret is a testament to the power and stage presence of Minnelli—and a great film to show people who "just aren't into musicals."
A whole new generation fell in love with Liza Minnelli thanks to her role in the cult hit Arrested Development. What newcomers didn't notice was the sheer amount of inside jokes the writers crammed into her appearances; mocking and paying homage to everything from her biggest roles to her famous friends, every time Minnelli stepped on camera was a veritable treat for film and theater lovers. Besides the in-jokes, Minnelli camping it up as the amorous, wealthy, and often quite dizzy (literally) Lucille Austero ranks as one of the best performances on a show filled with great ones. She may be known as Lucille 2 on the show, but she's definitely number one (just don't tell the other Lucille, or things could get ugly).