VINCENTE MINNELLI, American film director, died (b. 1903) Judy Garland’s second husband (1945-1952). He directed Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), during which he befriended Garland, the film’s star, although it is probable the two had met casually in 1938 when Minnelli did uncredited set designing for The Wizard of Oz, most notably the opulent Emerald City. The two then began a courtship that eventually led to their marriage the following year.
Their one child together, Liza Minelli, grew up to become…well, Liza Minnelli! One of the great directors of a golden age in Hollywood, a partial filmography of his thirty-eight films includes: Meet Me in St. Louis (1944); Ziegfield Follies (1946); The Pirate (1948); Father of the Bride (1950)); An American in Paris (1951); Brigadoon (1954); Tea and Sympathy (1956); Gigi (1958); Bells Are Ringing (1960); and On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970).
Minnelli was born into a family of traveling entertainers. Although his early years were spent on the road learning show business, he settled in Chicago at age sixteen, where he took a job as a window decorator for Marshall Field’s department store. His originality and sharp eye for design details soon led him to the Broadway stage, where he was a successful costume and set designer.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer producer Arthur Freed discovered Minnelli on Broadway and brought him back to Hollywood to design dance numbers for movie musicals.
According to his biographer, Hollywood’s Dark Dreamer* by Emanuel Levy, Minnelli lived as an openly Gay man in New York prior to his arrival in Hollywood. He comported himself among the Dorothy Parker/Gershwin brothers crowd, and no one in those circles cared that he was Gay.
Unfortunately, Hollywood was another story, so he was pressured back into the closet when he moved to the west coast. He made the decision to repress his homosexuality by living as a bisexual.