Married life was no cabaret for David Gest and Liza Minnelli, seen here with best man Michael Jackson and matron of honor Elizabeth Taylor
Tiny Tim’s Wedding to Miss Vicki
It’s only fitting that David Gest died on Tiny Tim’s birthday. Wedding bells between the concert promoter and Liza Minnelli amounted to the biggest Barnum & Bailey wedding of all time, a marriage made in tabloid heaven. Not since Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki exchanged vows on national television had there been a freak show assemblage to match this.
Liza Minnelli/David Gest Wedding Kiss
Michael Jackson, Gest’s lifelong friend, acted as best man. (Gest produced Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, the highest-rated musical special in U.S. TV history.) It was the pop singer who ultimately bore the blame for Liza’s fourth, and unholiest, union. Liza later told Joy Behar that after the ceremony she pulled Jacko aside and asked, “Why did you let me marry this idiot?” “I thought you liked him” he said. She wasn’t the only one to point a finger. It was Jackson who started Gest on the addictive road to plastic surgery.
Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Celebration
The ceremony was just the beginning. The union between Liza and beau Gest lasted but 16 months. On October 21, 2003, Gest filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming that he received regular beatings from Judy Garland’s daughter during the couple’s 16-month marriage. According to The Smoking Gun, Gest described his ex as, “an overweight, raging alcoholic” whose constant abuse turned him into a “victim of domestic violence” forced to live in "virtually constant, unrelenting pain.”
Liza: Why’d you let me marry this idiot?
Life with Liza was no cabaret. The suit went on to allege that Liza choked, bit, and punched various employees and — borrowing a move from her Uncle Frank — threw a lamp at her Romeo. In a statement, Minnelli said, “The allegations in this lawsuit are hurtful and without merit.” She added, “I will continue to focus on my work, my sobriety, and my fans who have been so wonderful to me.”
Legal disputes dragged on until January of 2007 when their lawyers filed papers saying the couple had settled their differences and agreed to a no-fault divorce.
In recent years, Gest parlayed his celebrity into a successful stint on Britain’s Celebrity Big Brother. His autobiography, Simply the Gest, was released in 2007.
Gest died at the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Wharf. Police have said there do not appear to be suspicious circumstances. He was 62.