Search

Six of the most iconic mother daughter relationships

PUBLISHED: 15:08 11 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:08 11 March 2018

Lucy Williamson and Emma Dears in Judy & Liza, coming to Norwich Playhouse in April. Photo: AB Photography.

Lucy Williamson and Emma Dears in Judy & Liza, coming to Norwich Playhouse in April. Photo: AB Photography.

AB Photography.

Five decades after Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli last performed together at the London Palladium, the two icons of stage and screen will be brought to life again as part of Judy & Liza, a new production written by West End performer Emma Dears.

Judy Garland in the MGM musical For Me and My Gal.
Photo: submitted
Copy: Derek James/David Bale
For: EN
©Archant Photographic 2008
01603 772434Judy Garland in the MGM musical For Me and My Gal. Photo: submitted Copy: Derek James/David Bale For: EN ©Archant Photographic 2008 01603 772434

The show, which features a range of live performances of hits such as Cabaret and Maybe This Time, is set to stop off at Norwich Playhouse on April 7.

Famous for her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz, Frances Ethel Gumm, or Judy Garland as she is more commonly known, was an American singer and actress, who started her career as a child and quickly rose to international stardom.

As a teenager she was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with whom she made more than two dozen films, including Meet Me in St. Louis and The Harvey Girls.

Throughout her years of fame, she received various acclaim and accolades, including a Golden Globe award and a Special Tony Award.

However it is not the glitz of her Hollywood existence which intrigued Mrs Dears and led her to create the show, but instead the unique relationship between Judy and her daughter, Liza Minnelli.

Mrs Dears said: “I actually wrote the show whilst I was pregnant with my second child, I already had a two-year-old daughter. I had always been fascinated by Judy Garland and an admirer of Liza Minnelli.

“I have never tried to emulate Liza but when I was in the West End, I was constantly getting American tourists waiting for me at stage door, telling me I was ‘so like Liza Minnelli!’

“I was playing the lead in the musical Fame in Sweden and I remember trying to read the reviews (all in Swedish of course) and the only words I could make out were Liza Minnelli. It was then that I started to look into her and read up on her life.”

Born in 1946 to Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, Liza was quick to follow in her mother’s footsteps, moving to New York City in 1961 where she began her career in musical theatre, also working as a nightclub performer and singer.

In 1965 she won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in Flora the Red Menace, she was just 19. Today, the 71-year-old is also famous for her Academy award-winning role in Cabaret and her Emmy award-winning TV special Liza with a Z.

But while her life may have appeared incredibly glamorous on the surface, there was much turmoil behind the scenes.

Finding success at such a young age had caused her mother’s mental health to suffer and the star was plagued in her adulthood by alcohol and substance abuse.

“The more I read the more fascinated I became with the mother daughter relationship that Judy and Liza had,” said Mrs Dears. “In many ways Liza was the parent.

“Judy had a very turbulent relationship with her own mother and she was very keen not to repeat this with Liza but the reality was that with Judy’s addictions and mental instability, Liza had to be very strong, sometimes for the both of them.

“Having said that there is a huge amount of respect between the pair. Liza always says that she got her drive from her mother but got her dreams from her father - not a bad combination!”

Minnelli admitted in the 1980s that there were no ‘middles’ in her relationship with her mother.

“I was used only to screaming attacks or excessive love bouts, rivers of money or no money at all, seeing my mother constantly or not seeing her for weeks at a time,” she said. Despite this, there was still much love between them.

In 2002, Minnelli told Vanity Fair that much of her childhood had been filled with joy, despite her mother’s troubles.

She said: “She was so smart and truly funny. A lot of people don’t understand that. I used to try and explain my mom. I’d say, ‘No, she’s not tragic. She was really funny.’ But they don’t want to hear that. My mom knew that. She’d say, ‘Listen. Let them think what they want to think. They have their right. We know who we are and that’s what counts’.”

Judy’s battle with substances came to an end in June 1969, when, aged just 47, she died of an overdose in London.

She is said to have once advised her children, should they want to pursue a career in entertainment, as she had, to “Watch me, learn from me and learn from my mistakes.”

However it seems Minnelli was unable to follow this advice, instead she was fated to repeat many of her mother’s mistakes - from enduring several failed marriages to drug addiction.

Not exactly, a picture perfect life, but that, says Mrs Dears, is what makes it so fascinating.

“It is a mother daughter relationship unlike any other.”

Here are some other iconic mother daughter relationships:

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher

The 60-year old Star Wars actress and her 84-year-old mum, a veteran star of Hollywood, sadly died within one day of each other back in December 2016. Their relationship is still one of the most talked about today. Debbie and Carrie had a troubled connection in Carrie’s earlier years, with their complicated bond being documented in the 1990 film Postcards from the Edge, staring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. The film was based on Fisher’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, which saw Streep playing a Fisher-like character, who headed home to stay with her celebrity mother after some time in rehab. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2011, Fisher described her relationship with her mother as “fairly volatile” throughout her 20s, as she wanted to forge her own identity, instead of just being Debbie Reynolds’ daughter. Despite this, the two became incredibly close in the years before their deaths. Reynolds told Oprah: “It took like 30 years for Carrie to be really happy with me. I don’t know what the problem ever was. I’ve had to work at it. I’ve always been a good mother, but I’ve always been in show business, and I’ve been on stage and I don’t bake cookies.”

Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn

The blonde bombshells are often seen poking fun at one another, with Hudson joking about what life was like growing up with a “cool” famous mum (including revealing that Goldie once turned up at a house party Kate had thrown as a teen, wearing lingerie). However, ahead of the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January, the pair took some time to talk seriously to E! about their relationship and what they had learnt from each other. Hudson, 38, said: “I feel lucky, blessed 
that I have a role model that I can call mom. I think one of the things that my mom has taught me is to find compassion in everything I do. Kindness and that family is everything.

“That how we raise our children is the true legacy for everyone and everything, so everything we put our heart into is really for our family.”

Goldie added: “We learn a lot from each other. We just listen. The problem is that as parents, 
we think we’re supposed to know everything. But if you listen to your child, they will tell you things and every child is different.”

Kris Jenner and the Kardashian-Jenners

Kris Jenner’s relationship with her daughters keeps viewers hooked to their screens for hours at a time each week as part of the popular reality show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Kris, an entertainment manager, looks after her family’s careers, giving them a unique relationship that mixes their business and personal lives. Despite this, the girls all get along like a house on fire but aren’t afraid to call each other out from time to time. 14 seasons of the show later, people are still glued to their screens, proving the family are a fascinating bunch.

Dakota Johnson and Melanie Griffith

Griffith and Dakota had viewers of the Oscars in 2015 in stitches after Melanie was asked by a Good Morning America reporter if she would ever watch her daughter in the Fifty Shades of Grey movies. Unsurprisingly she answered with an “I don’t think so”. Need we say more...

Reese Witherspoon and Ava Phillippe

The Legally Blonde star and her teenage daughter have become a hit online after people realised that Ava was essentially a mini version of Reese. 
The pair recently teamed up for a photo shoot for the Draper James spring 2018 campaign and it was difficult to tell the two apart. Speaking about the pictures, Reese said: “I thought it would be fun to focus on mother/daughter love this spring. There is nothing like the love I have for my daughter. We share every emotion with each other, our hopes, and dream... We can talk for hours!”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press