The Story of Liza

That’s Liza with a Z.

When I was a tender, malleable adolescent there were two movies that rotated on the Late Late Show:  1982’s Johnny Belinda and 1972’s Cabaret.

Cabaret. Image credit: Malika Favre

I was not allowed to stay up late and I definitely was not allowed to watch anything containing themes of homosexuality and abortion –  I wasn’t even allowed to see Grease because of that slut, Rizzo.  But watching Cabaret was worth the risk of my parents’ wrath, again and again.

Sally Bowles – wanton, gorgeous, leggy, songbird seductress with her silk robes and green fingernails (“divine decadence”) was everything I wanted to be. I couldn’t wait to grow up, live alone in a foreign country, woo men and smoke cigarettes.

 Because I had brown hair and brown eyes I was convinced I could be her.

 Because the movie played at such a late hour and because the movie is set in a night club, this is when I turned into a night owl, believing everything fun happens in the dark.  Set in Berlin, Cabaret also sparked my enduring love affair with the urban world.  This movie more than any other influenced my dreams of the future.

As I grew up and realized the best life I could have would be the one I created for myself, I still wanted to give Liza her due, to acknowledge her tremendous impact on my teenage self.

And that’s why I added Liza to my Baby Names wishlist.

Liza at age three. Source unknown.


4 thoughts on “The Story of Liza

  1. My parents let me watch the Cabaret musical numbers but I did not see the whole movie until I was much older. And then there was the shock when I discovered that Liza was Judy Garland’s daughter… my dad thought my reaction was too funny.


  2. Cabaret is the best… absolutely a movie must see. Liza was amazing and she won an Academy Award for that movie. There truly is something fascinating about that movie and Liza. She is a gifted actress.


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