“When I call on her, she’s there, and I call on her a lot,” Minnelli said in a recent interview with Variety. “She’ll say, ‘Ignore it’ a lot. She’ll say, ‘It’s one opinion. Who cares? Just keep going.’”
Minnelli said she “definitely” feels Garland’s presence today. The actress and singer, 73, reflected on her early days in show business and her mother’s desire to protect her and her siblings “from any of the stuff that other people said, except the great stuff.”
The Cabaret star added that that the “hardest part” of becoming a star “was getting to be known as myself as opposed to somebody’s daughter.”
“I remember Mama saying, ‘Now don’t get upset because of the way they may compare you to me because you’re an entertainer too.’ I said, ‘Oh, I won’t,’” Minnelli recalled. “And then she reads something where they compared me to her. She said, ‘How dare they? You’re your own woman. Dammit! Can’t they see?’ And she’d throw it down in the trash.”
Minnelli also reacted to the recent biopic of her mother, Judy, which stars Renèe Zellweger as the late actress. Minnelli told Variety she has no interest in seeing the film, something both she and her sister, actress Lorna Luft, have expressed in the past.
“I hope [Zellweger] had a good time making it,” Minnelli said.
Zellweger received a SAG Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance, and is favored to win in the Best Actress category at the Oscars this Sunday. The movie touches on Garland’s early days as a child actress, but mainly follows her time performing in London just months before she died of a drug overdose in 1969 at age 47.
About two years ago, a false report surfaced about Minnelli meeting with Zellweger about the film and Minnelli posted on her Facebook page to dispute the claim.
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“I have never met nor spoken to Renée Zellweger… I don’t know how these stories get started, but I do not approve nor sanction the upcoming film about Judy Garland in any way. Any reports to the contrary are 100% Fiction,” she wrote in 2018.
In September, Luft told hosts on the TV show Good Morning Britain that she would also be skipping the film because she is “really protective of my mom’s legacy and my mother’s legendary career.”
Minnelli said in the Variety interview her favorite memory with Garland was “everything.”
“We had such fun because she was so funny. She was funny, and she loved her kids so much. She was protective and very strict. She wanted you to do the right thing, like any mother. It’s that simple.”