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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Larry King Inerviews Liza Minelli

Aired March 15, 2006 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Liza Minnelli, on her life, her loves, her brilliant career, the tabloids and more, a living legend covers it all and takes your calls. It's a rare hour with the one and only Liza next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Happy birthday Liza.

LIZA MINNELLI: Larry, I wish we were sitting together. I love you. How are you?

KING: Me too, I love you too, and it's great to have you with us.

MINNELLI: Thank you.

KING: First, let's check on a couple of things.

MINNELLI: OK.

KING: How is your health?

MINNELLI: My health is fantastic.

KING: I know things were troubling for a while weren't they?

MINNELLI: Well, it was only that I had that arthritis and I had both hips replaced and a knee, you know. I mean, I've always said that from the waist up I feel like Dorothy and the waist down I feel like the Tin Man.

KING: But you had vocal surgery didn't you?

MINNELLI: Yes, I did.

KING: And that's all right?

MINNELLI: Oh, yes. You've read those reviews. I sent them to you.

KING: No, I mean but -- I know you're singing great. In fact, you sang the other night right?

MINNELLI: Yes.

KING: Did you ever fear losing it?

MINNELLI: Yes, there was a point when I thought, oh my God, you know, I'm having the same vocal surgery that Julie Andrews had and she never sang again. But I don't believe in giving up and I searched and searched and found the right teacher and believed in all the dear people that sent me, you know, their love and their best wishes. I'm not a -- I'm not a giver upper.

KING: What's it like when you see yourself 20 years ago, 30 years ago singing? Does that bring back a lot of memories? Is it tough to look at? How do you react to it?

MINNELLI: Larry, I don't know. I have to get out there and do the same thing every night still. No, I mean it's thrilling to realize all of the wonderful people I've worked with and the fact that I work with Bob Fosse, the fact that Fred Ebb wrote me all those wonderful lyrics and he passed on just last year, you know.

But I've been so lucky in that when I came to New York I wanted to be on Broadway and I found the very best people and (INAUDIBLE), who is a huge hero of mine, Charles (INAUDIBLE), was 81 and he came to see me at the Paris Opera two weeks ago.

KING: What did that feel like?

MINNELLI: Oh, my God. I was nervous. I kept thinking holy Toledo, you know. The last time I played there I was with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. but they booked me there by myself and I was a little bit intimidated but it worked out well. It worked out really well. You know what people like to be entertained. I like to be entertained.

KING: Now the last time you were on this show was November 20, 2002 and you were on with your then husband David Gest. Is that all behind you now?

MINNELLI: Oh, indeed.

KING: How rough a period was it?

MINNELLI: Well, I think we all go through everything. I mean every woman sitting in this audience has been through all kinds of things, you know, and you just keep going. And the fact that you keep going shows the stuff that you're made out of and I was brought up well. I was given an enormous amount of love by my parents. I love what I do and I have friends like you.

KING: Yes. How difficult was it when it got so -- I'm not going to dwell a lot on it but when it got so bitter?

MINNELLI: Well, it was just silly. You know it was like I was reading about somebody else. I thought what is this you know? But then I realized that it really had nothing to do with me. It had to do with his sense of himself and his ego and that's his problem not mine.

KING: Do you learn from that Liza? I mean obviously that was a mistake. Do you learn from it?

MINNELLI: Well, you better, I'll tell you that. Here's what I've learned. Larry, I've learned that I'm never getting married again. There's no good reason for it. So, I intend to have a 17-year-old whose name I don't know, right. I intend to have a 35-year-old who's an intellectual and marvelous to talk to. And, I intend to also have a guy who's about 93 with one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel. What else can I say?

KING: And keep them all at the same time right?

MINNELLI: Absolutely, are you kidding? I'm 60 years old, Larry. I'm not going to do this again, you know. There are some people who weren't meant to be married and it's very difficult for a female star. It just is.

KING: Do you think -- were you helped or hurt by the fact that you're Judy Garland's daughter?

MINNELLI: I never even thought about it. I always knew what I wanted to do, which was be on Broadway and I think that Peter Ustinov said something great to me once. He said it's not -- you can get your foot in the door when you have famous parents, right?

KING: Right.

MINNELLI: But the door doesn't open and stay open unless you're talented. There's no pull between eight and eleven.

KING: So, you've got to be good after the door is opened.

MINNELLI: Oh, yes.

KING: You can be kicked in by your mother but then it's up to you?

MINNELLI: Well, or my dad, you know. You get your foot in the door but once they open the door the whole thing is on you.

KING: But it does put a lot of pressure on you doesn't it?

MINNELLI: No. I always loved it.

KING: But you're compared constantly. The first time you started to appear I remember you appearing and people would say, "Boy, she sings like her mother."

MINNELLI: Well, they didn't know my mother's voice that well. I don't sing as well as my mother. I'm a good actress. I'm not that good a singer.

KING: Your mother was a better singer than you?

MINNELLI: Oh, yes. Nobody sang better than my mom. That's why I've never even thought of singing for singing sake. I've always thought of a song as an acting piece, as a way to say something. I've come at it from (INAUDIBLE) point of view, you know. I saw him when I was 17 and it changed my life because I thought that's what I want to do. Each song is a little movie. Each song is a slice of somebody's life and I was fascinated by that. KING: And, of course, you're a very skilled actress, done so many terrific films, who could forget "Cabaret"?

MINNELLI: Thank you, Larry.

KING: And how about "Arthur"?

MINNELLI: How about "Arthur"?

KING: One of the funniest movies ever made.

MINNELLI: Well, working with Dudley Moore was so hilarious. I don't know how we got anything done because everybody was laughing so hard but he was such a wonderful man and he had a kindness and a musicality and a dearness to him that was triumphant.

KING: Yes. By the way, Liza Minnelli will get the Julie Harris Award for lifetime achievement from the Actors Fund of America June 11th in Los Angeles. She'll get the award at the fund's tenth annual Toni Awards. Past winners include Gwen Verdon, Rita Moreno, Lauren Bacall, and Carol Channing.

And we'll be back with more and we'll be taking your calls for Liza with a Z.

MINNELLI: I love you, Larry.

KING: Don't go away.

MINNELLI: I won't.

KING: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That's from the brilliant award-winning 1972 TV concert, "Liza with a Z." It's been fully restored and digitally re-mastered, the classic TV special which was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, the late Bob Fosse, will premier on Showtime on April 1st. It will be released on DVD on April 4th. Was that night a particularly poignant one for you Liza?

MINNELLI: Well, it was anything but poignant. It was nerve-racking. It was the only show that I've ever heard about where you got to do it once with eight cameras, once through, but I had Bob Fosse. I had Fred Ebb. I had John Kander (ph), you know, and I had Marvin Hamlisch, all the people that were so wonderful.

And we did this show that nobody said could be done. We did a concert and we did it right the way through, so what you're seeing is what really happened. And then I forgot about it, you know. I really did. I forgot about it and this wonderful guy, Michael Eric (ph), called me and said "I want you -- can I look at that show again? Maybe we should think about restoring it."

I said OK and then I told Neil Marin (ph) and Craig Saden (ph) about it and they said "Huh?" And they introduced me to Bob Greenblack (ph) and Matt Blank at, you know, Showtime and we're sitting here. So it was so exciting last night. I wish you could have been here, Larry. They showed it at the Ziegfeld Theater.

KING: Yes, I heard.

MINNELLI: Where "Cabaret" opened, you know.

KING: "Cabaret" that had to be incredible doing that every night.

MINNELLI: Well, that was, I'm telling you it was quite a wonderful time and I'm so lucky that I have almost perfect recall, which is wonderful. I have a good memory and I remember every second of that show.

KING: Did you enjoy it every night?

MINNELLI: Well, we only did that show once, one time, in front of an audience and that was when it was filmed and it had, you know, we had 16 dancers. We had everything. Then I went back out on the road with only four dancers and did a whole different show and whatever, you know.

KING: Oh.

MINNELLI: But the show that is "Liza with a Z," only happened once, one night.

KING: And it was live?

MINNELLI: It was -- I'm telling you it was eight cameras, Fosse did it and that's what people will now see. And, I must say it's his best, just as a fan of Fosse's it's his best stage work, his most wonderful choreography, and it's also his best film work.

So, I mean when Michael Eric showed it to me restored, I thought my God that's terrific, you know. I had no idea it was that good just from an -- just from an audience's point of view because I'm a huge -- I'm a huge fan of everybody else's talent. So, I was so thrilled to see that and think, wow, because of those people, because of Fosse, because of Fred Ebb, because of John Kander, I was that good.

KING: Moving to other things, how have you dealt, you've had addiction problems in your life.

MINNELLI: Yes.

KING: How did you get through it?

MINNELLI: With help. I believe completely in asking for help, you know, and you can't do it by yourself. You just, you can't. You have to have somebody. And I was lucky enough to find the right people to ask.

KING: Do you think it all was genetic because your mother had same problems? MINNELLI: Well they seem to have proved that, you know. It is a gene that is inherited but, you know, in the long run it's my responsibility. You know I would never blame anything on anybody, especially my wonderful mother because she loved me and she brought me into a very difficult world and told me why it would be all right to just be myself.

KING: Where were you when she died?

MINNELLI: I was in New York. I was here.

KING: And she was in where London?

MINNELLI: Yes.

KING: Was it a shock?

MINNELLI: Oh, shock, I couldn't believe it, you know. In fact, somebody said -- somebody said to me "I have terrible news," and I said "What, my dad died?" And they said, "No." I said, "No?" They said "Your mom died." I said, "No, no, that's not possible" because to me, you know, she was forever.

But she -- she taught me something great. She taught me that you are what you contribute. You're not what people write about you. You're not in the long run what tabloids say or any of that stuff. You are what you contribute to other people in this life and that's why I work with retarded children and that's why I work with a lot of organizations because I learned that from my mom.

KING: Our guest is Liza Minnelli, who has earned an Oscar, multiple Toni's, an Emmy and a Grammy Legend Award, the only person we could find with a similar record is Barbra Streisand.

We'll be right back, your calls in a little while for Liza. Don't go away.

MINNELLI: I love you, Larry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The incredible Liza Minnelli. And that will be available April 1st on Showtime and on DVD it will be released April 4th. That's the award-winning TV concert "Liza with a Z."

MINNELLI: But promise me something, Larry. When I come out there will you and Sean (ph) go with me to see it?

KING: Sure.

MINNELLI: To the opening, I'd love that.

KING: Of course, we'll go.

MINNELLI: OK.

KING: Now, a question about the tabloids.

MINNELLI: Oh, the tabloids, what, what have -- now what on earth am I going to say about the tabloids that you haven't already said?

KING: How have you dealt with them?

MINNELLI: Well, I think that it's a fact, you know, the tabloids are the tabloids and the people that want to believe that stuff -- no, the people that need to believe that to make themselves feel better are going to believe it but I grew up with it from the time I can remember.

And, my God, I can remember, you know, going to school in England and seeing on one of those bulletin boards for the newspapers in London when you're going past on the bus, "Judy Garland runs naked through the house," and turning to the girl next to me and saying "No, she didn't." You think that girl's going to believe me?

KING: So, do you just put it aside? Do you just let it go?

MINNELLI: Well, I think you have to realize everybody has to make a living and some people make it a different way than we do.

KING: So you don't -- it doesn't get to you?

MINNELLI: I don't think you can let it get to you because they're only doing their job and their job is to keep their job and if that's the way they have to keep their job then that's the way it is.

KING: You have a huge fan base in the gay community.

MINNELLI: Yes.

KING: How do you explain it?

MINNELLI: I think that sometimes just personally, this is only my own personal opinion, I think that if you're a kid and you don't know how you feel, plus you're not allowed to talk about how you feel because you're being told it's wrong, every once in a while you can find a voice that says just what you're feeling and you're drawn to it because for you it's the truth. And, I've been lucky enough to be given that voice.

KING: As has Bette Midler.

MINNELLI: Yes indeed but she's so funny. Oh, God I love her. She is so funny.

KING: And Cher.

MINNELLI: Oh, but Cher's divine, yes. I mean you know we all do what we do and I'm such a huge fan of both of them and, of course, Barbra Streisand, who is a friend and a colleague and I just adore her.

KING: Have you ever sung with her?

MINNELLI: With Barbra?

KING: Yes.

MINNELLI: Not in front of anybody who would notice.

KING: I mean you never did a TV show together?

MINNELLI: No, we've never worked together, no.

KING: Because your mother worked with her.

MINNELLI: Well, my mother really that was her big break was I said to my mom "You got to hear this singer, mom, she's just great. She sings in a key nobody's ever sung in."

And I took my mom to the Coconut Grove to hear Streisand and there were a whole bunch of people at the table saying "Well, we don't know if she's any good or not, you know, she's funny looking" and she's this and she's that. And I'm like this because I know what funny- looking means. You're not typical. You're not typical.

She walked on the stage. She sang the first eight bars of her opening song and my mother turned to the people around the table and said, "You're all crazy and I want her on my show." And I felt so great because my mom knew talent.

KING: How did you feel about Hugh Jackman, did you see him do the "Boy from Oz"?

MINNELLI: I couldn't -- I couldn't go.

KING: Because he played your ex-husband Peter Allen.

MINNELLI: Yes, I know but it was never approved of by anybody's family and it was just, you know, it was just -- Hugh Jackman is incredibly talented but...

KING: Oh.

MINNELLI: ...you know, I don't believe in supporting people who use you.

KING: So, you are a fan of Hugh Jackman though?

MINNELLI: Yes, I like him.

KING: You're not blaming him?

MINNELLI: Oh, God no. He's marvelous. He is wonderful. But, you know, I think the people that did it they never sent me the script. I asked for it and I thought, and I learned this from my mom, you know, to hell with it. If they won't to send it to me, then there's something wrong with it.

KING: Have you heard from Michael Jackson?

MINNELLI: Of course I have.

KING: How's he doing?

MINNELLI: He is doing beautifully. He is a wonderful man, Larry, who went through, well you know, to go through that and remain the person that he always was, which is a sweet, dear, talented man. I knew him his whole life.

I can't imagine what that felt like except I talked to him a lot. I think it's so devastating and that is the kind of thing that just makes me sick to my stomach. You know when they decide to pick on one person and do that. I've seen it happen a lot, you know.

KING: How's Elizabeth Taylor doing?

MINNELLI: What are you talking to me about Elizabeth Taylor for?

KING: She was at your wedding. She was -- she's a friend.

MINNELLI: Of course and she's wonderful. You know my dad did "Father of the Bride" and "Father's Little Dividend" so I met her when she was still a kid and she's wonderful. She's just supportive and terrific and she understands old Hollywood.

KING: Better than anybody.

MINNELLI: Better I think possibly than anyone, you're right Larry. She understands what I don't even understand about it, like you asked me about what do you think when people say this and people say that?

I remember that when I went to Betty Ford, I called Elizabeth Taylor up and said "They're saying I'm this and they're saying I'm that and dah, dah, dah." And she said, "Are you reading that?" And I said, "Yes." She said, "Don't read it." And I thought oh that's the right thing to do. Get well. Don't read it.

KING: We'll take a break and come back and go to your phone calls for Liza Minnelli. Her father, Vincente Minnelli, one of the great directors ever deserves mention.

MINNELLI: I love you, Larry.

KING: We'll be right back with Liza with a Z, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am giving this young lady a proclamation from the office of the mayor. And I won't go in and read the whole thing, but it talks about one of the great entertainers in the history of -- not New York, not America, but I think the world. I've just always been a fan. I'm a lot older than you. So, you know, I watched you when you were just growing up. And I was an adult. But this makes this Liza with a Z day in New York, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Mayor Bloomberg in New York City saluting our guest Liza Minelli. And again, the "Liza with a Z," fully restored, digitally remastered, the classic TV special, directed and choreographed by the late and great Bob Fosse, will be shown on Showtime on April 1 and be released on DVD April 4.

And we're going to go to your phone calls for Liza Minelli.

Santa Ana, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening, Liza and Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Liza, first of all, I'd like to send you my condolences at the recent loss of your stepfather.

MINELLI: Oh, thank you.

CALLER: I'd like to know how you and your sister and your brother are doing? And as someone who grew up in Westchester County, New York, and is your sister's age, I'd like you to know that your graciousness has always been appreciated when we've run into you. And you are as well loved as your mother. Thank you for everything.

MINELLI: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to call in that really means something to me. And I will call Lorna and Joe as soon as I get off stage.

KING: How are they doing?

MINELLI: They're great. You know, my sister's a pistol, and Joe is just marvelous. I'm so lucky. I have a great sister and brother.

KING: She can sing.

MINELLI: She can really sing.

KING: Toronto, Canada, for Liza Minelli, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Liza. Happy belated birthday.

MINELLI: Thanks.

CALLER: And I wanted to let you know that I do believe you are the greatest performer of our times, hands-down. My question to you is are you planning at any time a return to the New York stage? And I will see you at Tower Records, by the way, on April 4. I'm coming to say hi.

MINELLI: That's great. What do you mean by the New York stage?

CALLER: Carnegie Hall, perhaps in the cards, or Radio City again? MINELLI: Yes, yes, sure. I just haven't scheduled it yet. In fact, the show I'm working on now, I'm doing about my godmother Kay Thompson, who was a brilliant musician. And you'll hear more about it. I'll tell you.

KING: Would you do Broadway theater?

MINELLI: Oh. Theater again? No. Larry, no.

KING: Too much?

MINELLI: Eight shows a week? No. I just turned 60, what am I, crazy?

KING: To Ellijay, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Great show, Larry, Liza. Would you describe your life as a lot of fun? And how would you like to be remembered?

MINELLI: I'd like to be remembered for making somebody laugh or giving them some relief. And I would describe my life as a "hullabaloo."

KING: Good word for it. By the way, did dancing come naturally to you or were you taught to dance?

MINELLI: I always wanted to dance. That was the first thing that I could do. You know, I was always a dancer. I loved it.

KING: So you danced before you sang?

MINELLI: Oh, yes.

KING: New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hello. How are you guys?

KING: Hello?

CALLER: Hi. I have a question for you.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: My question to you, first Liza, it's an honor to talk to you tonight. And I just wanted to ask you, for many, many years there was talk that you and Barbra Streisand would work together in a film version of "Follies." And I was just wondering is there is any truth to that? Would you ever consider it?

MINELLI: I've never even heard that. I'm a huge fan of my friend. I think Barbara is spectacularly talented. I always have. But I haven't heard about that project.

KING: Wouldn't you like to work with her?

MINELLI: Oh, I'd love to. I'd love to. KING: I mean, that would be a natural.

MINELLI: It seems to me, yes.

KING: To Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I'm a musical theater major at the University of Arizona. And I was wondering, Liza, what you have for an audition tip?

MINELLI: OK. I had to audition...

KING: Good question.

MINELLI: ...seven times to get "Flora the Red Menace." OK? I think the best audition tip I can give you is find out what you're auditioning for, who it is. For yourself, do a character breakdown, find the song that most represents the part you want to play. And then go in and be that part.

KING: In other words, study this.

MINELLI: Yes. Put some thought behind it. Don't just have one audition piece. You should have many.

KING: You've got a movie coming called "The O in Ohio."

MINELLI: Yes.

KING: What is it about?

MINELLI: Oh, Larry. Well.

KING: You don't like it?

MINELLI: No, it's fine. It's a wonderful film. I myself am just vaguely embarrassed about it. I -- my friend Parker Posey, right, called me and said, listen, I'm doing this movie. You want to do this particular thing? I said, yes, sure. Because it was Parker. I play a sex therapist, right?

Well, when I got the script, I cannot tell you how embarrassing it was. So I worked on it. I went and got -- you see the wig I have on in what you're showing? Right? I went to this wig house, right? Saying, I think she should be blonde, but I don't know what kind of blonde.

And finally there was a very blonde wig with very black roots. And I bought it. You know what it was? The Andy Warhol wig. I thought, perfect. So then I went out there and I played this part of this lady who believes that -- let me say it the way I do in the movie. Masturbation is what it's all about.

KING: So you...

MINELLI: It was all about self-gratification. I can't tell you. I was so embarrassed.

KING: We'll leave it at that.

MINELLI: Yes, Larry. I mean, you tell me. You would have fainted if you'd gotten that part.

KING: I don't think CNN would have approved.

MINELLI: Well, indeed, you're asking me. I didn't ask me.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more calls for Liza Minelli. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MINELLI: Lucille? Lucille? Aren't you something. Showing up here without your husband. Shame be damned. Caution to the wind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's so sweet, darling. I'm here to support you. You're the one who's all alone and likely to stay that way. My husband's just a phone call away.

MINELLI: That's one call per day, isn't it? Gee, I should think he'd want to save that for his lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least he's in prison, not an urn.

MINELLI: You are so deliciously witty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, aren't we having fun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A very talented Liza Minelli from "Arrested Development." She's done it all. Let's go to more calls for Liza. Raleigh, North Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Liza, I just wanted to say that if -- how fabulous you look and if you're what 60 looks like, I can't wait to get there.

MINELLI: Oh, darling, what a great thing to say, thank you.

CALLER: And my question for you is, you always speak so highly of both of your parents. And I was just wondering what is your fondest memory of both your parents?

MINELLI: Well, you know, they both had such enormous humor. And I just remember all the funny times. They had this great sense of wit and I guess it was charm. I was really, really close to both of them.

KING: Were you raised in California?

MINELLI: Yes.

KING: To Dallas, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Liza?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I'm calling from Dallas. I think you look lovely. I think you make 60 look like the new 40.

MINELLI: Oh, baby, thank you. I'm so glad I'm doing this show. What?

CALLER: I wanted to know if you're a Christian.

MINELLI: Yes, of course I am. I'm Episcopalian. Anything else?

KING: OK, I guess that's it. To Redding, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Liza. I do want to say I admire you tremendously. I'm told I look like you, in case you need a double someday.

MINELLI: Oh, great.

CALLER: My question is if you are planning on doing a new CD or an upcoming of your favorite songs or new songs?

MINELLI: Well, I'm in the middle of doing an album on my godmother, Kay Thompson who wrote all the great arrangements for MGM. And she was a spectacular woman. You know, after she did all of this marvelous musical stuff, she then went ahead and wrote a little thing called "Eloise." She was a great, great woman.

KING: Aren't you doing something with Michael Finestein too?

MINELLI: Yes, Michael, that's what we're doing. It's Michael Finestein, myself, Billy Stritch. And we're doing that album called "The Godmother and the God daughter."

KING: She never quits. Liza Minelli. Don't forget that "Liza With a Z" will be seen April 1st on Showtime, released on DVD on April 4. We'll be back with more on Liza in a moment. Right now let check in with my man Anderson Cooper, who will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour. What's the lead tonight?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we're talking about politics in Washington. Talk of a crisis in the Bush White House, Larry. New presidential approval ratings sink even lower, their lowest levels ever for this president. Rumors persist of a shake-up in the administration.

We'll get to what's behind all the bad news and talk to former presidential adviser David Gergen about how they might be able to rebound.

Plus, justice for Carlie Brucia, she was the little girl whose abduction was caught on surveillance tape, she was later brutally raped and murdered. Today the man who did it to her, we find out what will happen to him. We'll tell you that and a lot more, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: That was dramatic television today, that judge reading that off. We'll be right back, Anderson Cooper is at the top of the hour with "AC 360." we'll be back with Liza Minelli, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MINELLI: (SINGING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MINELLI: (SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: One of my favorite songs from "Cabaret," "Money Makes the World Go Round." You still see Joel Gray singing that. Whew. Liza Minelli's our guest. What are some of the things you get involved in? You wanted to tell us what you do.

MINELLI: Well, it's funny. A lot of people said, why do you do what you do? You know. Because show business is quite selfish. You know? People do what they do to get acclaim, to get this, to get that, to get famous.

A lot of what I do and what I believe in is relief. If I can make you laugh when you don't want to, I've done my job. I was bred for this, Larry. Four hundred years on each side of my family goes back to show business and it ends with me. And I think that in the long run it turns out to be just to make somebody feel a little bit better for even five minutes.

KING: If you can do that you've done a lot.

Indianapolis for Liza Minelli, hello.

Well said.

Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Liza, how are you?

MINELLI: Hi, what's your name?

CALLER: My name is David, and I'm a huge fan. You are hilariously funny.

MINELLI: Thank you, David.

CALLER: You've always made me laugh.

MINELLI: Thank you. CALLER: And I love you in "Arrested Development." But what I want to ask you is what is it that Liza, with all that you've been through in your life and accomplished and experienced -- what is it that you're the most grateful for today?

MINELLI: Being alive. Having made it. Being OK. Having the wonderful friends that I do. And the fact that you called in to ask me that question. That's what I'm grateful for.

KING: To Grand Rapids, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Hi.

CALLER: For Liza?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Can I go ahead?

KING: Go ahead.

MINELLI: Yes, What's your name, honey?

CALLER: Hi, Liza. I'm interested in information on your song "Ring Them Bells."

MINELLI: You are, are you?

CALLER: Yes. Liza, my name is Shirley Duvall (ph).

MINELLI: Oh my God. And in the song it's Shirley Devore. Yours is Shirley Duvall?

CALLER: Yes.

MINELLI: Oh, how wonderful.

CALLER: And we just have such fun, you know, with this song, and I'm just curious, how did you ever get this song?

MINELLI: I didn't. Fred Ebb wrote it. Fred Ebb wrote it. Fred Ebb and John Kander thought of it. I had never even heard it until they sang it to me.

KING: And they were two of the best ever.

MINELLI: And indeed. And if it makes you happy, then they accomplished what they wanted to and I have too.

KING: That's the wonderful thing that's what you do. You make people happy.

White Plains, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Liza.

MINELLI: Yes?

CALLER: I just wanted to say two things. Number one, I think for 60, you look like you're 40. You're absolutely beautiful.

MINELLI: Well, there's very good lighting in this studio.

CALLER: No, I don't think so. You look fantastic. You really do.

MINELLI: Oh, thank you.

CALLER: The other thing I want to say is how do you stay so happy? I mean, just watching you makes me happy.

MINELLI: Well, I think when it really comes down to it, you have a choice. You can choose how you want to be. And if you choose to be unhappy, for whatever reason, then you are. If you choose to be happy, for whatever reason, then you are. It's your choice. In the long run, it's your choice. It's your life. It's your memories. You can rewrite them any way you want to. It's your life.

KING: We'll be back with more moments with Liza Minelli on this edition of "LARRY KING LIVE." Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: They love her.

Ottawa, Canada. Let's go to Ottawa now for Liza Minelli, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Liza?

MINELLI: Yes.

CALLER: It's Kathleen. Kathy Walker. We went to Missy Dixon and Wolf's (ph) Tutorial College for young ladies.

MINELLI: Yes, hi, how are you?

CALLER: Hi, I'm fine. What I wanted to ask you was after all these years -- the two movies that I love the most besides "Cabaret" was "Tell Me You Love Me Junie Moon" and, oh, the one that you did before that where you were playing against Spooky. They were the most vulnerable characters that you've ever played. And that was a side that I saw of you in London.

MINELLI: Thank you.

CALLER: Do you have any plans to play a role like that again?

MINELLI: Well, I've written a film that's being done by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and Showtime, which I think involves aspects of that. But it involves what we all grew up with and who we turn into after having grown up like that. But I'm so delighted to talk to you again. Do you remember Miss Diction and Miss Wolf?

KING: Oh, I lost her. But that's a wild call.

By the way, what do you do with regard to AIDS? Are you very involved in the AIDS fight?

MINELLI: Oh, completely. Completely. In fact, we just -- this whole opening for "Liza with a Z" was for Equity Fights AIDS, you know? And it's still -- I mean, you know, it's funny, because in America we all think, oh, it's cured. But it's not. I mean, people are -- by the millions are dying every day. And one day, maybe it will be cured. But with everybody's help.

KING: Is it because of Peter Allen?

MINELLI: Not at all.

KING: No?

MINELLI: No. I started work for this way before I even knew Peter had AIDS. I started to work with this when I found out about it. Because it was so bizarre. You know, and I -- so many people I knew were affected by it. Not -- in fact, not the fact that they had died. But they were affected by the fact that friends were dying and nobody cared. Nobody cared.

KING: Liza, you're a doll. Thank you, baby.

MINELLI: You know something, darling, you're a doll. You really are. And do you realize how long we've known each other, Larry?

KING: Long time.

MINELLI: A long time.

KING: Don't remind me.

MINELLI: And you know something else? Your suspenders are still as handsome as ever.

KING: Liza Minelli. What a delight having her here.

Macaulay Culkin will be with us tomorrow night. And Simon Cowell of "American Idol" will be here Friday.

One of the guests next week, Mike Wallace, my old friend who is hanging them up.

Right now a man definitely not hanging them up is Anderson Cooper. He is going to host "AC 360."

Anderson, what's coming up?

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