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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 16:23 GMT
Minnelli hails 'inspirational' fiancÚ
Minnelli was in London with fiancÚ David Gest
Minnelli is in London with fiancÚ David Gest
Showbiz legend Liza Minnelli has said her new fiancÚ "inspired" her to recover from her recent potentially fatal illness.

The Academy Award-winner is in London to promote a series of European concerts, together with producer David Gest, who will become her fourth husband in March.

Singer Michael Jackson will be the best man at the wedding and Dame Elizabeth Taylor is the matron of honour.

Minnelli, 55, has shed 90lbs after battling back from encephalitis.

Liza Minnelli
Minnelli has been dogged by health problems for a number of years
"David inspired me. I lost a lot of weight and it helped me because I have a bad back - the thinner I stay the better I feel," she said.

"I'm a thoroughbred, literally thorough bred and it's an inner strength that my parents gave me, especially my mother," she added.

"A year ago, this time, she could not walk and she could not talk. They said she'd never sing again and she was in a wheelchair," Gest said.

"She has lost 90 pounds (40 kilograms)- how many of you could get through that and a year later be standing looking as fabulous as this woman?" he added.

"That's remarkable, she's a remarkable human being."

The couple first met at the home of Frank Sinatra more than 15 years ago.

Mr Gest said: "It was just 'Hello Ms Minnelli, hello Mr Gest', very simple, but then we didn't see each other again for another 15 years."

Dinner

They teamed up after Mr Gest worked as producer on Jackson's comeback concert last September, where Minnelli made her first appearance after her illness.

"When we met the first time at her house, really met, we kind of knew what was going to happen. We went out to dinner and that was it," said Mr Gest.

Minnelli won an Academy Award for Cabaret
Minnelli won an Academy Award for Cabaret
Minnelli was born in March 1946 to screen legend Judy Garland.

It was in 1972 that she emerged from the shadow of her mother with a show-stopping performance in the hit musical Cabaret, a role which earned her an Academy Award.

The singer kicks off a set of European shows with five nights at London's Royal Albert Hall starting on 2 April.

Minnelli said her new stage show would be made up of classics from Cabaret, as well as more contemporary R'n'B tunes with a few new compositions.

"It's a whole new gig. You'll be surprised."

See also:

22 Jan 02 | Showbiz
Minnelli to play Albert Hall
10 Dec 01 | Showbiz
All-star wedding for Minnelli
23 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Minnelli to wed for fourth time
31 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Minnelli leaves hospital
23 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Minnelli recovering from brain disease
01 Jul 99 | Entertainment
'Big Voice' Liza's comeback
24 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Filmography: Liza Minnelli
08 Sep 01 | Music
Jackson reunion show dazzles
Links to more Showbiz stories are at the foot of the page.


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