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LIZA by Wendy Leigh

LIZA

Born A Star

By Wendy Leigh

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-93515-0
Publisher: Dutton

 Better-than-average celebio of Liza Minnelli, by Leigh (coauthor of Zsa Zsa Gabor's zippy One Lifetime is Not Enough, 1991). Leigh works hard and avoids clichÇs but, in the end, the Liza Minnelli we see on stage or screen is the same Liza who turns up on the page. Aside from a veil over her alleged cocaine addiction (and some alleged lesbian or bisexual activities, which Leigh doesn't dig into aside from revealing the disappointment of the editors and readers of a gay magazine that interviewed Minnelli only to have her remain ``in the closet'' during the entire interview), Liza's public life is her private life. She apparently gives off fabulous vibes but is much like an imploding nova that sucks up energy and confidence from those around her. Leigh's Liza cannot bear loneliness, even for a moment. Her first 30 or more years were spent burying her legendary mother and trying to burn brightly on her own. Much of Liza's childhood was spent as mom to a suicidally nervous Judy Garland. Liza was born into the aristocracy of talent and never knew a commonplace day, with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and other titanic celebrities as her childhood party guests. She was ever the daughter of director Vincente Minnelli, and she sought substitute dads all her life. Liza made her best picture (Cabaret) too young, winning an Oscar for it, and then couldn't top herself on film--but of course became a magnificent presence and in her late 30s toured with her old houseguests Sinatra & Davis. Though Liza has no gift for marital fidelity, Leigh resists ``dirt'' and lets Liza's decades of wild partying speak for themselves via fellow partygoers. At last, Liza made the circuit of famous rehabs and A.A., and today, at 45, is sober--and brighter than ever on stage. Absorbing all the way, but remains well within its genre. (Sixteen pages of b&w photos.) (First serial to Cosmopolitan)