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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Minnelli's tribute at 'triumphant' return
Minnelli sang a version of Vera Lynn's I'll Be Seeing You
Minnelli sang a version of Vera Lynn's I'll Be Seeing You
Liza Minnelli started her European tour with a show at London's Royal Hall on Tuesday in which she paid her own emotional tribute to the Queen Mother.

The singer, making a comeback after battles with alcoholism and ill health, sang a version of a classic Vera Lynn song because she said it was a favourite of the Queen Mother, who was a "marvellous woman".

Graham Norton was the warm-up act
Graham Norton was the warm-up act
Minnelli, who recently married for the fourth time, received several standing ovations for the show, which included classic hits including Cabaret and New York, New York.

But she has also learned that she will face a lawsuit from her 94-year-old stepmother, who is accusing her of abuse of the elderly.

'Lucky'

The London concert was the first of five nights at the Royal Albert Hall before Minnelli takes the show around Europe.

In it, she sang an a cappella version of Vera Lynn's I'll Be Seeing You.

"I was lucky enough at one point in my life to meet and perform on stage for the Queen Mother," she said.

"She was a marvellous woman and I am so terribly sorry for your loss."

Tony Bennett was among the stars in the crowd
Tony Bennett was among the stars in the crowd
The programme notes said the singer and new husband David Gest were planning move to Paris, where "they will plan to adopt children during the next year".

During the concert, she thanked Gest, who produced the show and was in the front row, plus her fans and Alcoholics Anonymous.

She even put on a Cabaret-style basque and bowler hat for one of the songs, proving how far she has come since losing 44.5kg (98lbs) after a series of operations over the last few years.

But some fans said some songs appeared to be mimed - although others were clearly not.

Former EastEnders actress Martine McCutcheon - who was a bridesmaid at Minnelli's wedding - was among the stars at the show, along with singer Tony Bennett and the Pet Shop Boys, who recorded with Minnelli in the late 1980s.

Lawsuit

But Minnelli has learned that her stepmother Lee Anderson Minnelli has filed a lawsuit claiming that she was kept "alone in a dark house" while Liza and Gest were on their recent honeymoon.

Minnelli also spent her honeymoon in London
Minnelli also spent her honeymoon in London
Lee Minnelli says the will of her late husband and Liza's father Vincent guaranteed her housing - but that Liza recently sold her house and wanted to remove her "by whatever means necessary".

Lee Minnelli said in court papers that her stepdaughter sold the Beverly Hills home where she was living, which had the electricity cut off on March, 11 days after Liza's lavish wedding.

"While the defendant is honeymooning all over the world, having fed 850 of her closest friends a 12ft cake, the plaintiff is alone in a cold, dark house, at age 94," the lawsuit said.

Award

Liza was born after a short-lived marriage between Vincent Minnelli and actress Judy Garland.

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

Now 56, she has battled back to health, and Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor were among those who saw her marry Gest in New York on 17 March.

The pair honeymooned in London, where Minnelli was the victim of an attempted robbery as thieves tried to steal a £10,000 diamond necklace from her while she was in a car.

See also:

17 Mar 02 | Americas
Minnelli weds for fourth time
17 Mar 02 | Americas
In pictures: Stars turn out for Liza
15 Mar 02 | Showbiz
Minnelli's turbulent times
31 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Minnelli leaves hospital
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