Liza Minnelli, award-winning actress and singer, may appear to be a goddess to some people, but the truth is she’s only human. She proved it this week when her spokesman Scott Gorenstein reported she’s returning to substance abuse rehab primarily for alcohol abuse.
It’s sad, wonderful and fitting at the same time. The first movie I ever saw in the theater, believe it or not, was “Cabaret,” in which Minnelli plays a Cabaret singer named Sally Bowles, in 1972. Even to this day, I can’t help but feel a twinge of excitement upon hearing the lyric, “What good is sitting alone in your room? / Come hear the music play.”
I’m sad to know she is struggling, although it’s wonderful and courageous that she has chosen a drug alcohol treatment center over denial, which would eventually kill her as it ruins many lives not only of the addicted party, but their loved ones who stand by feeling helpless. And what better time to let your adoring public know of your courage and share your commitment to mental health than April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month. Perhaps Liza will be out and healthy again in time to enjoy the wonders of springtime in New York.
I honestly don’t know how celebrities do it. I’m talking about the lack of privacy and the demands on their minds, bodies and souls to perform in sickness and health. If that kind of lifestyle isn’t a daily threat to your overall well-being and the basic need for balance, I don’t know what is. In 2007, she collapsed on stage and more recently had back surgery that kept her from touring, which she still does at the age of 69. It’s not an easy way to earn a living. I had a hard enough time in the ‘90s during my stint as a NJ-based lounge singer on the weekends. Singing wasn’t hard. Schmoozing with people wasn’t hard. But being on my feet in high heels for eight hours at a stretch three days in a row was too much for me. By the end of any given night, I’d literally be falling asleep into the equipment as I wrapped power chords and packed up the car that I had only unloaded eight hours earlier.
I also didn’t have an uber famous mother like Liza, who was raised in the shadow of none other than Judy Garland, and Vicente Minnelli, her Hollywood director father, which had to have caused issues she may have carried into adulthood either in spite of, or directly related to, her own fame.
Msnbc.com quotes her spokesman Gorenstein as saying, “Liza has valiantly battled substance abuse over the years and whenever she has needed to seek treatment she has done so.”
In the mid-1980s, Minnelli faced the music and went to rehab for the first time. Along the way she must have learned, as many of us do, to believe in the importance of living in the moment. Recently, she was quoted as saying; “The regrets of yesterday and the fear of tomorrow can kill you.”
The fact that she’s tackling her issues will save her from a needlessly sad end to her life. Long live Liza!