Scott Schechter, award-winning producer, journalist, author, Minnelli-Garland historian, and developer of Liza’s Web site, OfficialLizaMinnelli.com, died on May 14, in the late evening, of a heart attack. He was 48.
For more than a quarter of a century, Schechter researched the lives of the famous mother and daughter, compiling, in a release last fall (among many others): Liza Minnelli: The Complete A&M Recordings. He was also the author of The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook (Kensington/Citadel Press, 2004), a lavishly illustrated volume, which included a foreword by Billy Stritch. Minnelli said of the work, "All the other books about me are bullshit. This is the one that counts." Schechter’s Judy Garland: The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend (Cooper Square Press, 2002, hardcover; Taylor Trade Publishing, 2006, paperback) was called “A paean to Garland’s professionalism and talents” by Liz Smith; The Los Angeles Times stated, “Scott Schechter’s book not only chronicles her difficult life, but also proves how hard she worked to overcome obstacles. . . . Exhaustively researched”; and Robert Osborne of the Hollywood Reporter devoted an entire column to the book, raving, “Almost overwhelming in its detail, Schechter’s research is as thorough as a Nobel scientist. . . . It’s the most complete retrospective yet published on a celebrity.”
Schechter consulted or was interviewed as a Liza Minnelli or Judy Garland authority on shows such as NBC’S Dateline, ABC’s 20/20, Good Morning America, AMC’s Behind the Screen, and E! Entertainment Television’s True Hollywood Story. The latter, of which Schechter was a consulting producer, was honored with a Gracie Award and nominated for a Prism Award for best TV documentary. E!’s 2002 tribute to Liza Minnelli was named “E!’s True Hollywood Story of the Year.” Scott also contributed to the 2004 A&E Biography on Minnelli.
Schechter’s much-praised liner notes, essays, and CD projects on Minnelli, Garland, and others include, Judy (four CD box set); Judy at Carnegie Hall (complete and uncut); Classic Judy Garland–The Capitol Years (1955-1965); Miss Show Business/Judy and Judy: That’s Entertainment/I could Go On Singing; Judy in Love/Alone; Engelbert Humperdinck: You Belong to My Heart; Liza Minnelli: Ultimate Collection; and The Judy Garland Show: The Show That Got Away.
In 1998 Schechter was one of the people instrumental in bringing Garland’s entire long-lost 1963-1964 TV series, The Judy Garland Show to DVD format.
Schechter’s tribute magazine, Garlands for Judy was begun in 1995 and many know of—and belong to–his Official Liza Minnelli yahoo group (which Liza and her people follow).
We love you Scott. May you rest in peace.