Broadway veteran Liza Minnelli has been made an Officier of the Legion of Honour.
Liza Minnelli has three Tonys, two Golden Globes, an Oscar, an Emmy and a Grammy under her belt; to these achievements she now adds the title Officier of the Legion of Honour, the prestigious award for services to the French state.
Culture minister Frédéric Mitterand presented the 65-year-old entertainer with her medal at a ceremony in Paris yesterday, while she was in town for a concert at the iconic Olympia theatre. The French have worshipped Liza since she sang at the same venue in 1969, in a recorded performance that became one of her most beloved live albums. In 1987 she was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, the first of several ranks of the award.It is a family distinction, with Liza’s father Vincente decorated as Commandeur for directing the francophile films Gigi and An American in Paris.
Mitterand paid tribute to the singer’s long and illustrious career in showbusiness alongside her charitable works in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “Priestess of the music-hall,” he intoned, “you are the contemporary incarnation of talented versatility à l’américaine!”
He praised her indomitable spirit as that of “a tiger with the heart of a lamb.”
In her tearful acceptance speech, Minnelli said “Merci” in typically theatrical style. “What I’m really, really so honoured about is to be a part of France, to be a part of the city and the country of my dreams.”