- Renée Zellweger has earned an Oscar nomination (Best Actress) for her portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy.
- Liza Minnelli, Garland’s daughter, says she doesn’t plan on seeing the film.
- Garland tragically passed away following an accidental overdose in 1969.
Renée Zellweger is predicted to take home an Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy. Although critics have praised the biopic film, there’s one notable person who won’t be seeing it: Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli.
As 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of Garland’s death, it was announced in 2018 that Judy would be released to honor the American actress and singer, with a focus on the last year of her life. In 1968, Garland spent five weeks performing at London’s Talk of the Town cabaret club, but the Wizard of Oz star tragically passed away the following year from an accidental overdose at 47.
Minnelli made it clear from the start that she wasn’t in support of Judy, CinemaBlend reported. After a story surfaced that Minnelli “bonded” with Zellweger through Judy, Minnelli spoke out in a Facebook post. “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 June 2018. When speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Minnelli emphasized that she thinks Zellweger is a “wonderful” actress, but she added “I just hope they don’t do what they always do. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Because Judy portrays such a heartbreaking time in Garland’s life, director Rupert Goold says he understands why Minnelli would have her hesitations. “I mean, if somebody made a movie about my mum, I would go, ‘That’s not the story I’d tell!’ It’s an invasion of privacy at some level,” he told ET. “And that’s the complexity of being a child of a star, is it’s somebody you want to own in an intimate personal way, yet is sort of in a gaudy way, like, public property.”
Minnelli emphasizes that she feels nothing but love for her mother. When Variety asked the Cabernet actress about the fondest memory she shared with Garland, she replied with “everything.”
“We had such fun because she was so funny,” Minnelli said. “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.” Although it’s been 50 years since her mother’s death, she continues to feel Garland’s presence today. “When I call on her, she’s there, and I call on her a lot,” Minnelli said.
She also had a close relationship with her father, director Vincente Minnelli, and reflected on growing up in the spotlight. “My parents were my parents. I didn’t know that I had to dodge questions about Mama until people started asking me questions. I asked my father what to do, and he said, ‘Be as good as you can and as good as you are.’ He said something like, So what? They ask me the same questions.’ Mama got angry. She was one who got angry at people for asking me questions about her.”
Although she grew up feeling “absolutely concentrated on not doing what [her] mom did,” Minnelli followed in her parents’ footsteps in pursuing acting and singing, beginning at age 3. The now 73-year-old went on to collect an Academy Award, Emmy, Golden Globe, Tony Award, and Grammy over the course of her career.
While Minnelli doesn’t approve of Judy, her mother’s presence will be very evident during this year’s Academy Awards. “I do know that representatives of the family and the estate have seen the film, so that makes me smile,” Zellweger said in an October 2019 interview. When referencing Minnelli’s concerns, she added, “It’s an emotional thing, and probably a very complicated thing, but my hope is that it’ll be recognized as this expression of affection and adoration and sort of a proclamation of her importance.”
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