On October 18, the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas is slated to close its doors. Apparently, interest in Liberace is down these days. According to the museum’s president, in the good old days the museum would host about 450,000 visitors per year. Now they are struggling to reach 50,000 per year. However, there are no plans to auction off any of Liberace’s belongings – beautiful costumes, his collection of pianos (some encrusted with sequins and mirrors) and his car collection, with every car in pairs -Â and there is some hope that the museum will reopen at some point.
Liberace was known as “Mr. Showmanship” and was also known for his eccentricities. A penchant for gold, sequins, candelabra, etc. But he had enormous talent as well and could play anything – from Beethoven to polka to, probably, “Mustang Sally” with panache.
Now we have Lady Gaga. I wish I could say that Lady Gaga is Liberace reincarnated. Alas, she was born in 1986 and he died in 1987.
Facts about Liberace:
Bugs Bunny always made fun of him on Looney Tunes cartoons.
During the 1950sâ€“1970s he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. In 1955, he was making $50,000 per week.
He was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.
For a while he adopted the stage name “Walter Busterkeys.”
He denied being homosexual his entire life, fought several libel suits with magazines and won. However, if he were alive today, it’s safe to say he would probably not feel so compelled to lead such a closeted life.
Liberace died from complications due to AIDS in 1987.
A biopic is in the works – with Steven Soderbergh directed, Michael Douglas (!) playing Liberace and Matt Damon playing his supposed live-in lover/personal assistant (who sued him for palimony in the 80s and got a settlement). Now with Michael Douglas battling throat cancer, it’s unclear whether the show will go on, although I hope so.
I don’t think you can watch and not feel happy afterward.