In the previous yr alone, Liza Minnelli has outlived the Copacabana, Christopher Plummer, and Robert F. Kennedy’s Instagram account. She has outlived Larry King, Mary-Kate Olsen’s marriage, and the blockage of the Suez Canal. She has outlived Queen Elizabeth II’s dachshund-corgi combine, Vulcan, and the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip. She has outlived the Pacific Theatres and ArcLight Cinemas, Century 21, the seek for Lady Gaga’s kidnapped French bulldogs, and the Manhattan restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, at whose now-defunct French eatery Le Cirque she as soon as carried out an impromptu model of “New York, New York,” through the birthday celebration of the gossip columnist Liz Smith. (Smith died in 2017, so Minnelli has outlived her, too.)
All of those testaments to Minnelli’s longevity come courtesy of a Twitter account referred to as @LiZaOutlives, which sprang into existence, in February of 2020, with the declaration that “Liza Minnelli outlived the marriage of Jon Peters and Pamela Anderson.” I first turned conscious of the account just a few months later, when somebody I comply with retweeted the replace “Liza Minnelli has outlived Disney’s ‘Frozen,’ which will not reopen on Broadway.” With that information merchandise and lots of others, whoever was working the account revealed themselves to be remarkably fast on the draw. They posted information of superstar passings sooner than some obituary sections and all the time appeared to have the inside track on divorces and bankruptcies. The updates, which got here as soon as or typically twice a day, might sound a bit overly triumphant at a time when hundreds of Americans have been dying of the coronavirus every single day. Wasn’t it glib, and even ghoulish, to have a good time the survival of 1 girl within the face of so many casualties? On the opposite hand, @LiZaOutlives had a sly manner of commenting on the instances. It famous when Minnelli outlived the tv program “Cops,” Mitch McConnell’s control of the Senate, the ban on transgender folks serving overtly within the army, and Scott Atlas’s employment as Trump’s particular adviser on COVID-19. The message was clear: previous constructions are crumbling, but Liza persists, a bedazzled Energizer Bunny working on gusto and guile. The account was like a Twitter model of the well-known “Follies” lyrics: “Good times and bum times, I’ve seen them all / And, my dear, I’m still here.”
I figured that the individual behind @LiZaOutlives could be some Very Online millennial feeding social media’s urge for food for the matriarch as meme—a type of homage that’s dynamite for clicks however doesn’t all the time do its topics justice. (See, as an example, the quippy Lucille Bluth clips that lit up the Internet after Liza outlived her “Arrested Development” co-star Jessica Walter, in March.) But once I received in contact I discovered somebody totally different: Scott Gorenstein, a soft-spoken, middle-aged man who just isn’t solely a dyed-in-the-wool, lifelong Minnelli superfan however her former worker. For greater than a decade, Gorenstein labored as Minnelli’s press consultant, and he advised me that he nonetheless can’t resist doing casual pro-bono publicity for her. “I will always consider it my duty to look out for her,” he stated.
Gorenstein shares Minnelli’s compact stature and wears a studious-looking pair of spherical spectacles. The partitions of his Jersey City house are lined in Liza Playbills, signed posters, and a framed copy of her 1987 Revlon marketing campaign. He advised me, by cellphone, that he has worshipped each Minnelli and her mom, Judy Garland, since his childhood in Philadelphia—“ ‘Judy at Carnegie,’ to me, is the Bible,” he stated. In junior excessive, he begged his mother and father to take him to the Shubert Theatre to see Minnelli’s 1979 live performance tour. Gorenstein knew by then that he was homosexual, and he didn’t intend to return out to his household. He bonded with a childhood good friend named Scott Schecter over their shared love of all issues Liza, and the pair would spend hours listening to data and watching Liza and Judy on TV.
Gorenstein moved to New York City after school, in 1988. He spent the following a number of many years volunteering his time with ACT UP and drifting by means of publicity gigs. “I never really had that great job I wanted,” he stated. “Representing all these incredible stars just eluded me.” In the tip, it was his previous good friend Scott Schecter who ended up altering his life. Schecter had gone into the skilled Judy-and-Liza enterprise, changing into a revered archivist and biographer of the mother-daughter duo. He additionally ran Minnelli’s Web web site. In early 2009, Schecter heard that Minnelli was poking round for a brand new publicist to run her Tony marketing campaign for “Liza’s at the Palace,” and he put Gorenstein up for the job. But Gorenstein demurred, worrying that he was lower than the duty of securing her such a serious award. Then, just a few months later, he received a cellphone name from Minnelli’s attorneys telling him that Schecter had died, instantly, of a coronary heart assault, and had bequeathed Gorenstein his total Liza-and-Judy assortment.
Gorenstein was in shock, however threw himself into filling his good friend’s sneakers, and shortly sufficient he realized that he’d backed right into a full-time job on Team Liza. “The next thing I know, I’m picking up the phone and calling reporters, going, ‘Hi, this is Scott Gorenstein, and I’m Liza Minnelli’s . . . publicist?’ And Liza is calling me at home to ask me, like, what the schedule is for next Tuesday.” Minnelli was a demanding boss, and Gorenstein discovered to enjoy her requests—cancelling interviews, saying no on her behalf. “You know what happens if she’s not in USA Today?” he recalled telling one obnoxious reporter. “Liza Minnelli wakes up, and she’s still Liza Minnelli.”
Gorenstein considers it a blessing that he solely began working with Minnelli later in life. He knew, by that point, that the Minnelli he had constructed up inside his head was a magical motivational soulmate and never the actual, complicated girl who employed him. “My entire life, I wanted to ride in the back of a limousine with Liza Minnelli,” he stated. “It’s all I ever wanted. And then I found myself riding in the back of a limousine with Liza Minnelli and I found out we had nothing to talk about.
Minnelli and Gorenstein started to drift apart around 2015, when she moved back to Los Angeles, and he now works as a publicist for Sony Pictures Entertainment. He wasn’t sure whether Minnelli was aware of his Twitter account, so I reached out to her manager to ask. He responded with a message that he said came directly from Minnelli: “I do not support ‘LizaMinnelliOutlives’ (nor its creator Scott Gorenstein) because it is predicated on the idea that I should not be alive, which I find hurtful and offensive.”
Gorenstein referred to as the response “a clear misunderstanding of what the Twitter account is.”
For him, there’s nothing humorous or disrespectful about itemizing all of the issues that Liza has outlived. He doesn’t recognize parodies, like Kristen Wiig’s “Liza Minnelli Tries to Turn Off a Lamp” sketch, on “Saturday Night Live.” “Everyone expects me to laugh along with the joke—I’m never going to laugh along with the joke,” he stated. When I requested if he has a plan for when the inevitable does occur—Liza can’t outlive issues ceaselessly—he stated, “You’re asking me something I can’t. . . .” His voice trailed off. “Since I was a child, I was, like, ‘I’m going to devote my life to you, lady.’ ” He has seen, with dismay, that not all the individuals who comply with his Twitter account appear as dedicated to Minnelli. On her most up-to-date birthday, he stated, “I thought I had something so clever. I wrote, ‘Liza Minnelli LIVES! Happy 75th to the one and only!’ I thought, oh my God, this tweet’s gonna go through the roof. And that got, like, maybe twenty-five hundred likes. But then I’ll do a Kim Kardashian post and that gets, like, seven thousand.”