Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Drag queens, Britney and Jacko - oh, Liza!
By Shannon Breen, Times Staff Writer
Published October 5, 2007
The legendary performer headlines the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's 20th Anniversary Gala, beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday at Carol Morsani Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Dress is black-tie; Liza's performance begins at 8:30. $59.50-$150. (813) 229-7827; www.tbpac.org .
Liza Minnelli might be an Oscar winner. A Tony winner. And even Judy Garland's daughter.
But who really cares about any of that?
What comes to my mind isn't so much her music or her acting career, but rather the bizarre claims that she beat her estranged husband with her shoes. Or that one of her best friends is a man who named his kid Blanket.
After an editor learned I had a framed wedding photo of Liza and David Gest in my living room, he asked if I'd be interested in interviewing her. She's coming to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on Saturday.
The only other celebrity I'd interviewed before this was Donny Osmond, of whom I asked questions like, "Do you think wearing tight pants during performances will prevent you from having more children?"
Several years have passed since then, so I'm somewhat tamer. I even got Liza through a conversation without her hanging up on me. This was our chat.
As someone who has had her share of ups and downs in the public eye, do you have advice for Britney Spears?
I just feel horrible for her. You know, she's got a disease. And when you have a disease, you cannot help it. So it's not your fault, but you're responsible for it. I just feel so bad for her because I don't think anybody really understands what's going on. The way the press is now, she's getting so much attention. Somebody said to me the other day, 'God, you have to go to jail to get a good review.' (guffaws) It's an interesting period. They used to have clauses and contracts where you can't get bad publicity or you'd get fired. But now bad publicity is good publicity. I just keep working and don't think about it much.
Have you ever wished you weren't famous? Just a regular person?
Well, I am a regular person. There's nothing fancy about me. (A different career) is beyond my realm of comprehension. I'm kind of bred for this. My family on both sides goes all the way back to the circus.
Have you ever met a Liza Minnelli drag queen?
Oh, yes. It's very bizarre. I was in Brazil, believe it or not. And I nearly died, because on comes this Liza Minnelli drag queen. They did a show for us. And the guy was so tall. Twice as tall as I am in a leotard. (laughing) But it was complimentary, too.
Was that the first time?
No, the first time I saw somebody impersonate me, there was this girl doing an imitation of me, and she was making all these odd moves. I said to (my friend), 'I don't do that.' He said, 'Oh, yes, you do.' And you know when somebody sings a big note, they bend straight backwards. But I have scoliosis, and bend sideways, so it looks like I have this bizarre style. It's just so it doesn't hurt.
I was surprised to hear you made a cameo on My Chemical Romance's CD The Black Parade. Do you listen to that kind of music?
I love them! They just called me out of nowhere. It was wonderful. I said, 'Of course, I'll do it.' I was in New York and they were in LA, so we did (the recording) over the phone.
Do you remember your dreams?
Oh, yes. I dream a lot. I rarely have nightmares. It's a funny feeling. It's so wacky. You're running. You're running and you think, 'Okay, I can take off. Come on. Come on. Here we go.' (laughing) Do you have them?
Yes, I have this recurring nightmare about Tony Danza where I'm carrying a miniature version of him around in my hand.
Really? (laughing) I'm going to tell him.
Do you know him?
Very well. We'd always get together at my house every Monday night to have dinner and watch 24. He called me. In fact, I have a message from him and I need to call him back. I'm close to his whole family.
Speaking of friends, do you keep in touch with Michael Jackson?
How's he doing?
(pause) He's doing wonderfully.
Do you have any romantic advice for our younger readers?
No! Not anything. If I give you romantic advice, don't take it. Look what's happening to me. (laughing) I have the best taste in friends and the worst taste in husbands. I'm never getting married again. That's just stupid. There's no reason on earth to do that.
Are you dating anyone right now?
I see a couple of people. Nothing serious. Believe me, nothing serious. I'm so thrilled I'm not in love I can't tell you.
How are you feeling these days?
Oh, I'm great. Fantastic. I think I'm healthy and of sound mind, sound body. And I'm loving what I'm doing.
How is 61?
You know something, I don't even think about it. I have two false hips. But, boy, are they better. Anyone who's worried about having (hip surgery) - get it. It works.
I don't think many of our readers are at that point in their lives yet.