When Lady Gaga met Liza Minnelli

When entertainment icons Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli shared the stage at the 2022 Academy Awards, they created an iconic moment that was adored all over the world.

Their heart-warming appearance showed a genuine affection and respect for each other, despite the 40-year age gap.

Singer, songwriter and actress Lady Gaga, 36, was jointly presenting the Best Picture Oscar with the legendary Minnelli. The 76-year-old actress, singer and dancer was celebrating the 50th anniversary of her own Academy Award for Best Actress as Sally Bowles in the 1970s musical, Cabaret.

© Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

The friendship between the two artists goes back to 2011, when Gaga, then a 25-year-old newcomer to the music industry, invited the veteran actress to her concert at New York’s Madison Square Gardens. Eleven years on, they remain friends and their great rapport is obvious.

Lady Gaga’s career

Known for her avant-garde style and innovative music, Lady Gaga was born in Manhattan in 1986. She started playing the piano aged four, at her mother’s suggestion. She was a natural, practicing continually as a child. As well as taking piano lessons, she could create music by ear.

Her dedication paid off, as she played at open mic nights as a teenager and enrolled in Creative Arts Camp. She studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute but preferred music. To improve her song writing skills; she joined New York University’s music school, the Collaborative Arts Project 21.

After dropping out of education in 2005, at age 19, to focus on pursuing a music career; she formed a band, The SG Band, with some friends and they played gigs around New York. In June 2006, talent scout Wendy Starland saw Lady Gaga perform at the New Songwriters’ Showcase at the Cutting Room venue.

Music producer Rob Fusari’s helped her to compose new songs and develop her material. It was during this period that the stage name Lady Gaga was born. Her birth name was Stefani Germanotta and her new name was a play on the Queen hit, Radio Gaga.

Her early music was a mix of pop, dance and glam rock. She played live shows with a burlesque element after meeting and working with performance artist Lady Starlight.

Career highlights

Lady Gaga’s career took off in earnest after signing a deal with Streamline Records, followed by a publishing deal with Sony/ATV. She was commissioned to write songs for New Kids on the Block, Britney Spears, the Pussycat Dolls and Fergie.

To release her own songs, she signed a recording deal with Cherrytree Records. After relocating to Los Angeles, she released her debut album, The Fame, in August 2008, which propelled her to superstardom when it was a global hit, reaching number one in the UK, Canada, Austria, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland, and the top five in the US.

Her first two singles, Just Dance and Poker Face, reached number one in the US and the UK. Poker Face was the world’s best-selling single in 2009, selling 9.8 million copies. Her five subsequent studio albums all debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.

Gaga has collaborated musically with some of today’s legendary singers, including recording the jazz album, Cheek to Cheek, with Tony Bennett in 2014. She starred alongside Bradley Cooper in a remake of A Star is Born in 2018 and their collaboration on the song, Shallow, from the movie’s soundtrack, topped the charts all over the world.

To date, Lady Gaga has won 13 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, three Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a BAFTA, the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Contemporary Icon Award and the National Arts Awards’ Young Artist Award. She has also broken 16 Guinness World Records for her exceptional record sales and accolades.

Meeting Liza Minnelli

Despite her own superstar status, Lady Gaga still looks up to the legendary Liza Minnelli, who was born in 1946 in Los Angeles. Minnelli has enjoyed unparalleled success as a live performer, as well as a long movie and TV career.

The daughter of Judy Garland, she is one of a small number of performers who have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy Legend Award, an Oscar and a Tony. She is also a Knight of the French Legion of Honour, the highest French order of merit.

Minnelli began performing in 1949, at the age of three, when she appeared in the musical film, In the Good Old Summertime, with her mother. She went on to attend New York’s High School of Performing Arts and performed on the stage, both on Broadway and in London.

Her career in show business spans more than 70 years and she has made hundreds of appearances on the stage, in musicals, in films and on television. She has sung for royalty, including at the Royal Variety Performance at the famous London Palladium.

She successfully ascended into contemporary music with a collaboration with My Chemical Romance in 2006 – she was a guest artist on the album The Black Parade, portraying a character called “Mother War” in the song, Mama.

The meeting

Lady Gaga met Liza Minnelli in 2011, The meeting was set in motion by Gaga, who invited the screen legend to her live show in New York. Gaga sent Minnelli tickets for the show, which HBO was filming. Minnelli went backstage to meet Gaga before she went on stage.

During the show, Gaga told the adoring audience there would be no lip-synching and gave a shout out to her VIP guest, saying: “Especially not with Liza watching!”

She was honoured to meet Minnelli and the respect was mutual. Minnelli has publicly voiced her fondness for Gaga a number of times over the past decade. Speaking of her performance in A Star is Born, Minnelli said her mother, Judy Garland, “would have gotten into it”.

Oscars appearance

The press adored their Oscars presentation. During their time on stage, Gaga and Minnelli, who was in a wheelchair, obviously enjoyed each other’s company. They also held hands in a show of solidarity that some newspapers described as “girl power”.

During the presentation speech, both women laughed a lot and had obvious affection and admiration for each other. At one point, Minnelli appeared to be having a slight struggle while trying to read her lines on the autocue. In a touching moment, Gaga leaned over to her and whispered, “I got you,” to which Minnelli replied, “I know.”

The heart-warming moment at the Oscars made the news across the world. Described as everything from “feminist solidarity” to “a moment of pure wholesomeness”; it has been trending on social media.

During the speech, Gaga told Minnelli, “The public, they love you,” and added she was honoured to present the award with a “true show business legend”.

Minnelli’s most recent big-screen appearance was in 2019 when she made a cameo appearance in Halston, a biographical documentary film telling the life story of the late fashion designer, Roy Halston Frowick.

Gaga starred in the film, House of Gucci, in 2021, a biographical crime drama. She played the controversial figure, Patrizia Reggiani, an Italian socialite convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her former husband, Maurizio Gucci, in 1995. Gaga is currently planning for her Chromatica Ball UK tour that’s due to start on 29th July in London.

A successful meeting can transcend differences such as age, gender and social background to create a lasting bond and friendships.

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