From one of the still to be rediscovered greats, a show biz biography as stylish, winning and intelligent as any musical Minnelli made during his 26 years at MGM -- Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris, Gigi, etc. Although he discounts the intellectually fashionable studio-as-auteur theory -- only one person got his films together, he writes, ""that man was me"" -- it was a system that clearly served him well, no matter that it stuck him with credits for Brigadoon, The Sandpiper -- there was also Madame Bovary (who can forget that ball scene?), Lust for Life (curiously it's Minnelli's favorite), and comedies such as Father of the Bride, Bells are Ringing. It's a life inextricable from theater, starting as a three-year-old with the Minnelli Brothers Tent Theater before the convent boarding school he left at sixteen to apprentice as a designer at a Chicago department store. By 1931 Minnelli was in New York staging productions for the Paramount Publix Circuit, then a show a week at the newly-opened Radio City Music Hall, on to top banana for the Shuberts and moving in the Gershwin uptown smart set that included Moss Hart and Dorothy Parker among others. Minnelli's first trek to Hollywood at an inflated $2,500 a week was to last a deflating seven months; but there was to be that other final one, to Metro for a mere $300. Of his four wives Judy Garland is the one Minnelli writes about most poignantly, an agonizing marriage disintegrating even before her analyst recommended that Minnelli be removed from directing her in Easter Parade, a hurt like so many others never mentioned between them. And there's Liza, even as a kid a superstar -- but with those genes how could she miss?