Friends in New York worry about Liza Minnelli in LA
Liza Minnelli lives quietly in a West Hollywood condominium 50 years after “Cabaret” made her famous.
The 76-year-old singer and actress are seldom seen in public.
The diva joined Lady Gaga to present the Best Picture award at the Oscars in March, and her weak look and bewildering behavior surprised many.
The A-list crowd gave an emotional Minnelli a standing ovation despite her illness.
“Oh! “It’s really exciting,” Minnelli said as Gaga informed her: “You see that? The public adores you.”
Former Minnelli publicist Scott Gorenstein helped make the occasion happen when Academy executives contacted him and stated Gaga directly requested Minnelli be there for the anniversary of “Cabaret.”
Gorenstein told The Post that Liz is “living her best life without the cameras.” “She’s always had to perform for crowds. She has had two years to relax and enjoy a new era of her life.
“She has health issues. But when an opportunity arises to present the Best Picture Oscar alongside Lady Gaga, I jump at the chance. The peaceful existence is gone! Liza is a legend who deserves to be at the Oscars, therefore I suggested it to her,” he continued. “I said it would be historic.
“I wanted to remind people,” he said.
The evening’s major surprise was Minnelli — until Will Smith smacked emcee Chris Rock onstage.
Will Smith unfortunately took some of that thunder, Gorenstein remarked. “But Liza deserved every bit of it. They stood for her, her mother, and her father. That event has a lot of history.”
Minnelli’s life is Hollywood folklore. Born to Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, she made her cinematic debut as a child in 1949’s “In the Good Old Summertime” with her mother.
At 18, she co-wrote a song with her mum for a London Palladium CD. “Flora the Red Menace” awarded Minnelli a Tony in 2012.
As well as recording and acting in films like “New York, New York” (the title song would become her trademark number) and “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon,” The “Liza Minnelli Bill” restricted shooting in Massachusetts graves without authorization after a nudist scene was recorded there.
Her appearance as the tragic Sally Bowles in “Cabaret” cemented her gamine image, and her TV special “Liza With A ‘Z’” ensured her name would never be mispronounced.
It’s rare to have an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, but Gorenstein pointed out that the Kennedy Center has yet to recognise her, which has caused online ire from her followers for years.
But Minnelli has suffered. She’s been married four times, divorced three times, had three miscarriages (no kids), and freely discussed her drug misuse issues.
“This sickness has been prevalent my entire life,” she told The Guardian in 2008. It was terrible, but I constantly begged for assistance.
Her mother had severe drinking and drug issues. Garland allegedly started using barbiturates and amphetamines as a teen to keep up, sleep and slender while filming “The Wizard of Oz,” “Babes in Arms,” and the Andy Hardy series with Mickey Rooney.
Garland was an alcoholic and drug abuser by the time Liza was 6.
When Minnelli’s mother died in 1969, she was administered Valium to help her grieve. It led to her own drug and alcohol problems. Andy Warhol recalled in his journals that she stated to fashion designer Halston in 1978, “Give me every drug you have.”
In 1985, Minnelli went to treatment for the first time.
Upon relapse in 2005, she questioned on “Today”: “So what do you do?” “You get up and go on, trying not to repeat it.”
When Minnelli was hospitalised in 2000, she had partial paralysis, impaired speech, and sagging facial muscles. She had viral encephalitis and a doctor stated she was “very unwell and in a bad condition” when she arrived.
“I couldn’t walk or speak, and they said I wouldn’t,” she told NBC. “When I heard it, I went to the wall and began saying ‘A – B – C.’ That’s how it felt because I had to practise in Carnegie Hall. So I’m alive! “I always wanted to live.”
In 2015, Minnelli sold her Upper East Side co-op for $8.37 million and went to the West Coast, leaving Gorenstein and her longtime aide Nicole Guest distraught.
But they are no longer in touch with Minnelli. Several reports said Liza’s previous friends in New York City had abandoned her.
“People adore Liza and miss her,” Gorenstein remarked. Our concern is that there is no one to care after her in LA as we would in New York.
Her carers are thought to assist her. Michael Feinstein, a pianist and performer, is one of her closest friends.
“Liza is a needy person. One source told The Post, “She’ll say ‘Do this for me, honey.’ He helped her take charge of her life when she relocated to LA.
In January, Feinstein and Minnelli appeared on “Sunday Morning” with Jane Pauley, who questioned Minnelli, “Do you realise you are a legend?”
“No, I need to be told,” Minnelli said. “I keep asking Michael, ‘Is that okay?’ I had excellent friends. The most important thing I gained was talent recognition.”
“We met and we were attached at the hip,” Minnelli recalled of her connection with Feinstein.
“Liza depends on Michael like one would a long-time closest friend,” said a Feinstein spokesperson. They support and advise each other in their personal and professional life. They are family.”
Minnelli is now executive producing a new album by Feinstein called “Gershwin Country” and a tour honouring Judy Garland’s 100th birthday in June.
A source close to Minnelli stated the rumour that she and her younger sister Lorna Luft don’t speak is “bulls–t.” Like every family connection, they have ups and downs. Lorna knew about the Oscars, Liza wanted her to know, and she would have been proud.”
They didn’t respond to requests for comment.
“Now what am I?” Minnelli remarked at the Oscars, holding up her cue cards. “I’m stumped.” “I got it,” Gaga said, holding her hand.
As the films played in the montage, Gaga rushed in to complete Minnelli’s remarks. “I gotcha,” Gaga said softly as she and Minnelli laughed and clasped hands.
Then he announced “CODA” as the winner.
“I have to commend Gaga,” Gorenstein stated, referring to her collaboration with Alzheimer’s patient Tony Bennett. In 2021, they taped “One Final Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga,” which is his last performance. “I knew Liza was in good hands since she is close to Tony Bennett and appreciates talent.”
Gaga has made it clear that she admires Minnelli. In 2011, Gaga invited Minnelli to a performance at MSG recorded for HBO.
A instructor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts told her she wasn’t cut out to be a star.
“You’ll never be the star… blond… Too dark hair… “You seem too ethnic,” she remembers being told, “What about Liza?” She then requested a standing ovation for Minnelli.
Despite her age, Minnelli can still employ her famed ability.
“When I sing to an audience, I’m not singing to an audience, I’m singing to you,” Minnelli remarked wistfully last month on CBS.
‘Have you ever felt like this?’ I want to ask the audience. I simply want folks to know I’ve been there.”