The Oscar winner was born to Judy Garland and her second husband, film director Vincente Minnelli, in 1946. Before her 10th birthday, Liza was joining her mom on movie sets, and as a teenager, she began in theater productions. At 18, the budding star joined her mother for a concert at the London Palladium, which was later released as an album.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about my mama is that she didn’t provide me with a happy childhood,” Liza told Vogue Arabia in October 2019. “There were highs and lows for sure, but I can say I was very happy. If people choose to believe that or not, it’s up to them, but I know I was happy.”
The Lucky Lady actress released her first solo album in 1964 and earned her first Tony Award nomination one year later for her performance in Flora the Red Menace. As her career took off, however, Liza had to cope with the death of her mother, who died of a drug overdose in 1969 at age 47.
While Garland’s death shocked her fans and the entertainment world at large, Liza later said that her mother’s passing brought them closer in some ways. “What it did was it took away space, it took away miles,” the Los Angeles native told The New York Times in 1984. ”[While I was growing up], I’d have to go through long-distance operators and all that to get through to where she was on a boat or someplace — just to call to tell her something funny that I’d read. … Mama’s death took that away, because now I just look up and ask. I just ask in my own head.”
After Garland’s death, Liza’s career exploded. She won an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year (1973) for Cabaret and Liza With a Z, respectively, then picked up her second Tony Award in 1974. She returned to Broadway the following year, replacing Gwen Verdon as Roxie Hart in Bob Fosse’s original production of Chicago.
In 1990, she achieved EGOT status, taking home the honorary Grammy Legend Award, which was created to honor “ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field.” While her career slowed down somewhat in the 2000s, Liza reached a new audience with a cameo appearance in Sex and the City 2 and her recurring role as Lucille Austero on Arrested Development.
“It’s so nice because people just come up and say, ‘Thank you for the years of pleasure that you’ve given me,’ and, ‘God, I’m so happy to meet you,’ and ‘I saw you here, there, wherever,’” Liza told Vulture in 2013 when asked which role earns her the most attention on the street. “I’ve been doing this a long time.”
Keep scrolling for a look back at Liza’s life and career over the years: