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Oscars 2014: Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli Tells TMZ the Ellen DeGeneres Drag Queen Joke Stung

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Oscars 2014: Liza Minnelli

See how big-hearted and generous Liza Minnelli is with her time in this clip posted by TMZ.

The guerrilla gossip site caught Liza out and about with cabaret pal Michael Feinstein and just about to step into Craig’s restaurant in West Hollywood.

The TMZ reporter asked Liza what she thought of Ellen DeGeneres’ joke about her being a drag queen impersonator. A cloud passed on Liza’s face and she stammered slightly and replied, “I think she thought it would be funny, but she never stopped after she said it and said ‘my friend Liza Minnelli.’”

Liza obviously thought the joke went on too long, and she was hurt. But she graciously said of Ellen’s hosting stint, “I think she did great.”

As for the selfie and being left out of the image – she was in the back and you can’t see her over the tall men – “It was funny,” Liza said. “All the men just pushed me out of the way,” she laughed.

The 67-year-old performing legend had a hard time getting up the step into the restaurant, and Feinstein and someone else had to help her over the stoop. She’s had two hip replacements and has been plagued with a variety of ailments.

The much-loved performer is always so gracious and kind that she’s a favorite of everyone with whom she comes in contact despite the snarky blogs. At the 40th anniversary screening reunion of “Cabaret” last year at the Ziegfeld Theater, she took time to talk to everyone on the red carpet.

Paula Schwartz

Paula Schwartz is a veteran journalist based in New York who is passionate about the movies. Her idea of heaven is watching three movies in a row. She’s written for various outlets, including the New York Times, Showbiz411.com, More.com and MovieMaker Magazine. For five seasons, she contributed to the New York Times seasonal movie blog, Carpetbaggers, where she covered major awards events and interviewed stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Helen Mirren.

Paula Schwartz has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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5 comments

  1. I can see both sides of it. I mean, obviously, Liza has a huge fanbase among drag queens. So in that respect, I get where Ellen was going with it. And quite frankly, that fanbase is one reason that Liza is still revered in the entertainment business. So if she doesn’t like being called a drag queen, is she dissing her fans? Maybe she needs to lighten up.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure I’d want to be called a drag queen either, even if a huge portion of my fans were drag queens. So maybe Ellen should have ditched the joke. It’s a fine line, in my mind.
    Jane Boursaw recently posted…Ice Dancers Charlie White, Meryl Davis Talk Olympics, Derek Hough, Corn FlakesMy Profile

  2. And yes, she was so gracious with the TMZ reporter. Truly a star, in many ways.
    Jane Boursaw recently posted…TV Goes Retro with Surviving Jack, The GoldbergsMy Profile

  3. Melanie Votaw

    I’m not sure that Ellen meant it as a dig on Liza’s appearance, but it ended up reading that way. I think she should have seen it would and nixed it. The worst joke for me of the evening was pretending that June Squibb was hard of hearing. That joke is a lot older than June.

  4. Paula Schwartz

    I don’t think Ellen was trying to be disrespectful. I think she thought Liza might even like it but it went on too long as Liza mentioned.It’s just painful to watch this clip and see the hurt on her face and then she kind of brushes it off. Much worse stuff has been said about her and she’s used to it.

    In my posting about the “Cabaret” reunion last year she talked about being at the Oscars with her father when her name was announced as best actress and she won the Oscar for playing Sally Bowles. She talked about how loudly her father yelled and how happy and excited she and her father were at her win. Those memories must have been going through her mind and it must have been an emotional night for her. Of course there was no way Ellen would have thought of that.

  5. Tamar Alexia Fleishman

    I just think that when someone is trying to look their best, it’s supposed to be an elegant occasion, one should not do the Don Rickles routine on an audience member. Ellen has no room to talk, either.

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