It must have seemed quite the fairytale romance at the time. Peter Allen, the Boy from Oz, all of 23 years old; Liza Minelli, two years his junior; both of them just on the cusp of the stardom that would define their later lives; neither of them married before.
The marriage would last a little over seven years, ending in divorce in July of 1974. Minelli would marry another three times, divorcing each time. Allen would never marry again, becoming more comfortable and out about his sexuality, and spending most of the rest of his life in a steady relationship with his long time partner Gregory Connell.
Born in Tenterfield, in country New South Wales, Peter George Woolnough was performing from an early age. In the 1960’s, he and a friend named Chris Bell formed an ensemble called ‘The Allen Brothers’, and became a reasonably popular cabaret act both live and on television.
Peter Allen, as he now called himself, got his start when he joined a tour with Judy Garland in the late Sixties. In 1971, he began recording as a solo artist, and over the next two decades, had a number of hits, notably “I Go To Rio”, “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” (which he cowrote and shared in the Oscar for) and “I Still Call AUstralia Home”. A musical retelling of his life story, “The Boy From Oz”, starring Hugh Jackman, was a Broadway hit in 2003 and 2004, with Jackman winning a Tony for his performance.