The actress and singer was just a toddler when she appeared alongside her mother Judy Garland in the 1949 musical “In the Good Old Summertime.” Stars like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly were familiar faces in her home. And her father Vincente Minnelli was a well-loved film director in Hollywood.
“I thought my mother was perfect, perfect,” the 75-year-old revealed on “CBS Sunday Morning.” “Every little thing she did. But my father – there was no one in the world like my father, and I’m so much like him.”
Despite growing up in the public eye, Minnelli said her parents stressed the importance of having an identity in Hollywood.
“I grew up around all of these wonderful people,” the star told the outlet. “And yet, my parents always said to me, ‘No, you’re your own. There’s nobody like you.’”
Garland and Vincente worked together in 1944’s “Meet Me in St. Louis.” The couple tied the knot in 1945 and remained together until they called it quits in 1951.
Minnelli revealed it was Garland who helped her find her voice on stage. In November 1964, the young teen performed alongside her mother at London’s famed Palladium.
“My mom was my mom,” said Minnelli. “You know, other people think of her as Judy Garland. That’s mama. If I get frightened, I’d look at her, and she would somehow know, and she would calm me down. Just by her look.”
Five years later, Garland passed away in 1969 at age 47 from an accidental barbiturate overdose in London. It was four months before the premiere of “The Sterile Cuckoo,” which earned Minnelli an Oscar nomination at age 23.
She credited French performer Charles Aznavour for teaching her how to deliver a song in 1972.
“Because I wasn’t a good singer. I was not,” said Minnelli. “And I knew, because my mom was the best in the world. But I went to see Charles Aznavour, and he sang a song, but it wasn’t his voice that got me. What got me was why he was singing it. I just thought, ‘That’s what I wanna do!’ He told that story through the song.”
According to the outlet, it was Aznavour who helped shape her Oscar-winning performance in Bob Fosse’s “Cabaret,” which came out that year. As for those famous jazz hands, “I learned it from Aznavour.”
Minnelli has led a successful decades-long career and even achieved EGOT status by winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony in her lifetime. Today, she’s keeping busy by working with longtime pal Michael Feinstein in an upcoming album titled “Gershwin Country,” where she serves as executive producer. She’s also producing the 65-year-old’s tour, which celebrates Garland’s 100th birthday this year.
Minnelli admitted to the outlet that she doesn’t perform as much today in public. But when she does, those moments are meant to be special.
“When I’m singing to an audience, I’m not singing to an audience, I’m singing to you,” she said. “What I wanna say to the audience is, ‘Have you ever felt like this? ‘Cause it’s what I’m going through now.’ I just want people to know I’ve been through what they’ve been through.”