Archives for category: Liberace

A classic piece from 20/20 about Liberace.

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What a classic!!!! Liberace’s comedic timing with a good natured Lou Ferrigno!

Lou Ferrigno is still around you can learn more about him at his official website. 

Lee would be thrilled to know there are ways to incorporate his fabulous legacy into every holiday.

Check out: Do It Yourself Liberace Pumpkins! 

Now excuse me while I slip into something more fabulous and warm up my glue gun!

If the Liberace Museum ever opens I think it would be awesome to have decorating contests themed after Lee’s decorating prowess!

 

This just popped up onto YouTube.  It is the opening of the Liberace show as it appeared in Las Vegas.  Liberace was one of the first performers to combine a video presentation with his stage show.

This includes appearance by Scott Thorsen so I wonder if it will be reenacted in the upcoming Behind the Candelabra film.

The Liberace Show 1981

 

I learned an interesting factoid while watching the Bob Einstein episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee that he was the hilarious cop officer Judy who pulled over Liberace on the Smothers Brothers show.

Check out the interview with Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Einstein on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  

I hope that Jerry Seinfeld on one of his Vegas trips goes for a spin in one of Liberace’s autos! That would be great comedy!

I loved and had to share this video which focuses on Lee’s stage persona!

Ray Carrillo the elected Riverside County Coroner at the time of Liberace’s death has died. So outrageous was his conduct during the investigation of Lee’s passing the estate filed complaint with the county board of supervisors.  

Read coverage from the Desert Sun

As suspected by Lee’s loved ones this is all famously Ray Carrillo became known for as his legacy was ensuring that Liberace did not get to retain his privacy in death as he wished protected while he was alive.

Carrillo’s handling of Liberace’s death was so outrageous that it led the American Medical Association to make a national plea for confidentiality!

AMA issued a plea that it serves no public interest to release the details concerning Liberace’s death. – Click on image to read the full article

There is a difference between that a person was exposed to the AIDS virus and it having been the cause of death. – Click on image above to read article

Liberace’s was not the only case for which Carrillo received notoriety including attacks on a cryonic laboratory, the accidental cremation of a murder victim and multiple administrative issues.   His office also had deputy coroners who left behind body parts from autopsies in a house to the surprise of its new owners. 

Carrillo famously ordered the Riverside Sheriff to pull over the hearse containing Liberace’s body on its way to the funeral home to divert it to the county coroner’s office. Liberace’s personal physician had signed the original death certificate as heart failure.  Close personal friends including Mr. Steve Garey of Palm Springs California contend to this day it was heart failure and advanced emphysema which led to his death as primary factors rather than AIDS.

News Story about the diverting of Liberace’s body from Forest Lawn Cemetery to Riverside County for autopsy with Ray Carrillo

Liberace desired to be remembered as fabulous! talented! entertaining! brilliant! and a performance genius! Not as the victim of a stigmatized disease.

Ray Carrillo’s witch hunt into the cause of Lee’s death which even the original autopsy did not determine was caused by AIDS gave him temporary notoriety and is recognized as the achievement of his life.

Thankfully the spirit of Liberace has transcended even the labeling of his death by means he never wanted out to the world. Instead the world continues to love him for the character he was in life. So in the end it was the evolution of our society and the enduring genius of Liberace who won at the end of the day.

Liberace’s doctor denies cover up as to the cause of his death. Click on image to read full article

Thank you so much to Mimi Avocado for sharing her lovely pictures of the Hands on Pianos Project of  Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College to celebrate its 50th anniversary by placing public pianos all over Vermont and New Hampshire.

Mimi Avocado’s blog reports that the Liberace tribute piano is located at the King Arthur Flour Campus in Norwich Vermont.  It seems fitting that Liberace would be featured at a place of fine baking and cooking just check out his sable recipe.  You can pay tribute to Lee while the pianos stand at the center. Click here to learn more. 

Another Liberace Fan pays tribute to Mr. Showmanship!

Of course there is a piano in tribute to Liberace and Mimi Avocado featured it on her blog! Click on the images below to see full size on her blog.

Exclusive from Steve Garey Liberace’s Living Protege! 

Steve Garey wants the world to know that if the Liberace Museum of Las Vegas has been placed in a position of selling priceless artifacts to please call him! No one else will ever- and he emphasizes ever – appreciate items from the collection as much as he does. While working on the Liberace Event center of Hollywood he heard rumors from out of Vegas that items from the Liberace collection had been sold.

Steve’s anxiety is only worsened by that he has left phone messages for the foundation only to never receive a return phone call. He is passionate about continuing Liberace’s passion and sole reason for creating a non-profit foundation: supporting young musicians through scholarships.

 

Steve Garey’s primary goal is to keep the memory of his dear friend alive while promoting his legacy of friendship toward others. He hopes that the Liberace Foundation of Las Vegas will work as partners with him in tribute to Lee.

Exclusive update from Liberace’s Living Protege Steve Garey! 

Steve Garey now serves as the Senior Vice President and resident curator of the Liberace Penthouse Event Center and Museum in Hollywood. HBO is currently filming Behind the Candlelabra at the penthouse right now. Once the production is complete the property will be put back in order ready to operate by fall 2012. 

When the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas closed three heart broken friends: Steve Garey, Bahman Sedighan, and an un-named private benefactor came together with the goal to ensure that the legacy of their dear friend Lee would live on for the next 500 years!

Steve has personally reached out to every performer still alive who worked with Liberace over his life to contribute more items for their display cases. Kay Ballard, Phyllis Diller, Debbie Reynolds, Shecky Greene, Joanne Wurley, and many others have come through to show their support by loaning items from the collection. The estate of the Queen of England has provided gifts Liberace had personally given to her. The Reagan Museum Foundation has further supported the project with items from Liberace’s friendship with the former President.

The tragic untimely death of business partner Bahman Sedighan in July 2012 has only strengthened Steve’s resolve to see his dream realized of an events center with a private museum that would pay tribute to their friend. Mr. Sedighan’s family is in full support of the project. Mr. Sedighan purchased the home for $2.55 million shortly after Liberace’s death. 

The penthouse is 5500 square feet of living space.  It features the only rooftop private pool on the west coast.  The 360 degree view is only as Liberace could do it. This venue can hold up to 200 people.  In fact it has been used in past years as a gifting suite before awards shows for celebrities to pick up gift bags featuring extraordinary products.

Check out this program from 2007 when it was used as an Oscars gift suite.

You should also check out the tour provided online from Bob’s Liberace World – Hollywood Penthouse Tour. 

Do yourself a favor and become a fan now of the Liberace Penthouse Event Center and Museum on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. 

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I had a chance to catch this show in Las Vegas. It was wonderful!!! A real treat for any Liberace fan. This is going to be crowd who knows their Liberace music.  I hear that Steve Garey Liberace’s protege may be in attendance.

Even better this is a fundraiser for Gilda’s Club a support community for those surviving cancer in memory of one of my favorite ladies ever Gilda Radner.

Wayland Pickard will perform a one-man show, “The Wonderful World of Liberace,” at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday in the Sierra Ballroom at Sun City Palm Desert.

The show will bring back the golden age of television and the innocence of the 1950s through the music of Liberace.

Tickets are $25 per person and include a complimentary musical CD. Reservations are required.

A portion of the proceeds benefit Gilda’s Club Desert Cities.

Sun City Palm Desert is at 38-180 Del Webb Blvd., Palm Desert.

Information: (760) 772-0296

On PBS Liberace’s legacy lives on through the program Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook.

It appears that Michael has a better opinion of Lee than his cat. 

Check out this episode online.

Watch Saloon Singers on PBS. See more from Michael Feinsteins American Songbook.

Liberace inspired performers here is your chance. Get cast in a musical about Mr. Showmanship!!!

‘ALL THAT GLITTERS’

Casting Call Details!

AX Productions (prod.) is casting a workshop of All That Glitters, a new musical about Liberace. Synopsis: “The mythic story of a boy in overalls from West Allis, Wisconsin; a Depression-era kid from America’s heartland who had dreams—big dreams; a boy who, despite his superstar struggle against the dark side of his sequined world of glitz and glamour, would become the most popular entertainer of his time.” Alexander DeJong, score-dir.-choreo.; A. DeJong & James A. Walsh, book; Tom Nelson, additional music; Jack Lee, music dir.; Steven Freeman, assoc. music dir.; Isabel Glasser, asst. dir.; Karen Sieber & Tim Foster, asst. choreos.; Stephanie Klapper Casting, casting. Rehearsals begin April 2; presentations run May 8-11, 2012 in NYC.

Seeking—Boy Liberace: boy, 10 years old, a boy in a million who struggles to please both his fervently Catholic mother and his abusive father, a piano prodigy, actor need not play piano;

Young Liberace/Scott: male, 20s-early 30s, two-character track includes

Young Liberace, very charismatic, charming entertainer with great comedic timing, becomes television’s first matinee idol, in order to protect his career and live out his passion, he had to hide his personal life,

Scott, a lost boy, the love of older Liberace’s life, loses himself in their relationship, actor must have a great presence and personality, actor need not play piano;

Older Liberace/Father: male, 60s, two-character track includes

Older Liberace, the consummate showman in his 60s, at the top of his game professionally, while his private life is one of struggle, heartache, and chaos,

Father, very proud Italian immigrant with a thick accent and an explosive temper, equal parts machismo and bohemian self-indulgence, a classical musician, frustrated both in his career and in his marriage, actor must have a great presence and personality, actor need not play any instrument;

Mother Judge: female, two-character track includes Mother, of Polish descent, headstrong, dogmatic, conservative, Catholic, very judgmental, and Judge, judge in the Liberace/Scott palimony suit;

Lil’ Lil/Miss Bea Haven/Lucille: female, African-American, multi-character track includes Lil’ Lil, burlesque queen of considerable stature, larger than life, with a big presence, Miss Bea Haven, a sassy Broadway star, and Lucille, Liberace’s secretary;

Martin Sherwoodson/Paderewski/Doctor: male, 50-65, multi-character track includesSherwoodson, Liberace’s pushy manager, willing to all the necessary dirty work to protect his meal ticket, Paderewski, Polish, world-famous, majestic, classical pianist, thick accent, and Doctor, Liberace’s long-time family physician, actor need not play piano; Eugene: male, late 30-40s, Liberace’s flamboyant, openly gay choreographer, later becomes his stage manager;

 George/Lawyer: male, early 40s, two-character track includes George, Liberace’s older brother, violinist/orchestra leader who lives and works in Liberace’s shadow, and Lawyer, argues the Liberace/Scott palimony suit, actor need not play violin;

Carlucci/TV Repairman:, male, 30-40s, two-character track includes Carlucci, once Liberace’s lover, now demoted to the role of houseboy, thick Hispanic accent, an over-the-top mother hen, and TV Repairman, blue-collar and disgruntled;

Randi/Mabel Krauss: two-character track includes Randi, 1940s nightclub performer of questionable gender, and Mabel, working-class German woman.

Equity principal auditions will be held Feb. 27, Feb. 29 & March 2, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. & 2-5:30 p.m. (all three days) at Pearl Studios NYC “500,” 500 Eighth Ave., 4th fl., NYC. Prepare a brief song that shows you off. Bring sheet music in the correct key; an accompanist will be provided, but may not transpose. Bring pix & résumés, stapled together. $736 min./wk., plus pension and health. Equity Workshop Contract.

Click here to view the entire casting notice! 

What a fitting tribute 25 years after the world lost Liberace.

Check out the Liberace Master Class and perhaps even those most devoted fans among us will learn a thing or two!

Thank you to Dave Frank  Director, Dave Frank School of Jazz, NYC for this great presentation. He keeps it swinging from 52nd street for our New York readers.

Here a great new classic video posted of Lee at the 1957 Chrysler Festival from Canadian television. Even his brother George was there!

Liberace always made sure that he got paid! Today I was looking through the Nevada unclaimed property reports and nearly fell off my chair when I saw that a royalty check for Lee is just sitting out there unclaimed!  The address is for the back of the Shirley Street home he had in Las Vegas and had combined into two properties.

We all know Lee would be saying "get my money to the bank!"

I hope someone from the foundation gets right on it so that Lee’s money can continue promoting his legacy!

Property ID: 9900414284
Report Year: 2007
Name: LIBERACE LEE
Address: 4993 WILBUR ST
Address:
City: LAS VEGAS
State: NV
Zip: 89119-0000
Reporting Institution: WARNER/CHAPPELL MUSIC INC
Property Description: ROYALTIES
Amount: $1446.15

I love this new sweet video with such a sweet nod to Liberace by Cee Lo Green.

Thank you Chris Vargas for being the first to share it with me! 

I have had several web searches onto the blog asking if Cee Lo Green purchased Liberace’s piano. I don’t know.

The brief Twitter post states that the museum loaned artifacts to the shoot. Wouldn’t it be a hoot to have contest to see how many the most devoted Liberace fan can spot?

The bath tub is NOT the same one as Liberace. It is still a great nod to his love of the tub and iconic bubble blowing pictures.

I would LOVE to see a VH1 Pop-up video about this video and what items are connected to Lee. (Pop-Up video is back so it could happen.) 

The piano CeeLo played in the video while resembling one that Liberace owned is not the same piano as Lady Gaga posed upon for Harpers Bazaar.   It does however look like the one played at Billboard music awards in Las Vegas.   The Liberace Foundation is secretive about what items from the collection have actually been sold to third parties. You can still dine in Las Vegas at Carluccios where they have the original piano from when Liberace owned the restaurant autographed by the legend himself. Get there soon before one day a huge celebrity like CeeLo makes the local restaurant an offer they can’t refuse for such an awesome piece of Liberace history.

Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the passing of Liberace so we can only wait for the next great tributes to come.

Lee had a plan to live to 100. Sadly 24 years ago he fell short of that goal. All who knew him wish he was still around today counting down those last 8 years. This year sadly the museum is gone so there will be no cake to celebrate both his special day combined with Mothers Day.

The clip below is Liberace’s birthday gift to Las Vegas:

Here are my suggestions of how you can celebrate Lee’s day in his honor:

  • Be nice to animals especially dogs – Lee loved his pets.
  • Support a young musician in your life
  • Be a good neighbor
  • Cook up a great meal with friends and family

Check out this post by Greg in Hollywood about Betty White’s appearance on the Joy Behar show.   Like all who knew Lee, Betty has nothing but lovely things to say about him.

No wonder Lee was such a big fan of the Golden Girls! He was watching the success of a dear friend. Lee was the type of person who was happy to see his friends do well in their careers.

Click on the link below to view the whole interview on the Joy Behar show:


http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=bestoftv/2011/05/04/exp.Behar.Betty.White.hln

Check out the Jay Leno show clip here. 

Lee’s international legacy lives on!

This week in South Africa:

RHUMBELOW THEATRE: Presents Liberocco on May 6, 7, 8 and 13. Popular pianist Rocco de Villiers pays tribute to pianist Liberace with the new music in the updated performance coming from Rocco’s new album, including most of Liberace’s later interpretations. The new music line-up includes Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina, Music of the Night, Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago, Music Box Dancer, Ballade for Adeline and Sleepy Shores. R100.

THE RHUMBELOW THEATRE – PRESENTS
Cunningham Ave Off Bartle Rd

LIBEROCCO: a Liberace tribute
Starring : Rocco de Villiers
Musical arrangements: Rocco de Villiers
Direction: Tobie Cronje
Costumes: Simon Rademan
Photography : Robert Hamblin

FRIDAY 06 MAY 2011 Show starts 8.00 pm
SATURDAY 07 MAY 2011 Show starts 8.00 pm
SUNDAY 08 MAY 2011 Show starts 2.00 pm
SUNDAY 08 MAY 2011 Show starts 6.30 pm

FRIDAY 13 MAY 2011 Show starts 8.00 pm
SATURDAY 14 MAY 2011 Show starts 8.00 pm
SUNDAY 15 MAY 2011 Show starts 6.30 pm

(Venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner)

Showy, flashy, ostentatious, garish, sensational, vivid. These are all words that apply to piano maestro Liberace, the original ‘King of Bling’ and arguably the most flamboyant entertainer of the century.

It is time to shine! Popular pianist Rocco de Villiers pays tribute to the “king of bling”, the most flamboyant entertainer ever: pianist Liberace.

Just before his death 20 years ago in 1987, on February 4 Liberace stated that he wants to be remembered for 3 things : his shows, music and costumes.

After Rocco’s sell out seasons at the Rhumbelow and the rest of the country, Rocco is back with this very popular over the top production celebrating the glamour and outrageous nous of Liberace, the most over the top performer after Lady Gaga.

The show has, however a few new additions. New and bigger candelabra, all the costumes, the quirkiness.

But most importantly all new music in the updated performance from Rocco’s new album, including most of Liberace later interpretations. The new music include, Don’t cry for me Argentina, Music of the night, Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago, Music Box Dancer, Ballade for Adeline and Sleepy Shores.

The perfect show for the perfect night. Come and listen and see all the bling, the balls, the sequince, furs and feathers – and the piano excellence of Liberocco.

Rocco’s cd’s, cocktails books, aprons and t-shirts available at the door.

R 100-00 (BOOKING & BANKING ESSENTIAL)
Bring food picnic baskets.
(Braais will be available should you wish to cook some meat)
Limited secure parking available Booking is essential.
Bar Available (Please note Alcohol may not be brought on to the premises)

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET OR
Phone or email Roland and get that money rolling in.
H 0312057602 Cell 0824998636 email roland@stansell.za.net

BLOCK BOOKING DISCOUNT (8 OR MORE LESS 25 % 1ST WEEKEND ONLY )

PLEASE HELP AND SUPPORT AS THIS IS A GREAT LITTLE VENUE

This year the Liberace Museum is closed so we won’t have the annual family trip to visit Lee’s treasures with my children indulging my love of Lee.

This year in Vegas you can see Wes Winters at ENVY the Steakhouse for the Mothers Day brunch. Reservations are strongly suggested.

If you are in Los Angeles you can always go to OutFest to see on the big screen Liberace’s Mothers Day episode of his television series.

Maybe your mother needs the Liberace Mothers Day Episode for her personal collection. It is available on Amazon. 

For your reading pleasure GoogleBooks has Liberace: An American Boy uploaded to view online. Check out the chapter about Lee and his mother. 

I get this question as a joke all the time from friends since I have been volunteering in the local Las Vegas mayor election.

So as the self proclaimed preeminent Liberace history hobbyist of Las Vegas in my expert opinion Lee would have voted for:

No One 

Not as a “none of the above” or as a slight to either candidate Liberace just simply did not vote.

Lee was also never one to be a political advocate for any cause.

The only politician he publicly supported was Ronald Reagan out of deep friendship which would have remained had he never been elected Governor of California or President.  When Lee was dying it was the Reagans who personally called to check on his condition throughout his last week. The deep affection the Reagans had for Lee can be seen in the letters featured on this site. (My FOIA is pending clearance for the telegrams the Reagans sent Lee over the years.)

Do not mistake the fact that Lee never voted for that he did not love his country. He often said “only in America….Could a boy from Milwaukee….”

In 1953 the New York Herald Tribune brought Liberace’s name into the discussion about why women should be allowed to vote. Just another episode where critics helped Lee cry all the way to the bank!  Bob’s Liberace World – has a great story about it! 

Lee had a brilliant mind for business, but never postured upon it politically because as the highest paid performer of his time he never felt the need. Capitalism made him.

Throughout his life he went to great lengths to conceal his private life so he never voted or acted in any public way to support equality. Thank goodness our world has evolved since the time of Liberace where his government kept a file on his sexual orientation, he was investigated for petty bets,  anonymously accused of being a communist, and his mother was beaten outside his Sherman Oaks home during a dispute with a tabloid.

As tempting as it could be to say he would vote for my favorite candidate the facts and legacy of his life are such that on election day Lee would have stayed home.

An odd note:

Who knows what Lee would have thought about the Mayor of North Las Vegas keeping a cardboard cut out of his body with Oscar Goodman’s head attached to it. 

Today we have forgotten how terribly devastating blacklisting and accusations of communism were to the careers of performers in the 1950s. Your life could be ruined in a moment by someone who dared not to come forward publicly.

Liberace was the victim of such an attack. Take a look at this letter reporting his activities to the FBI not signed by anyone, mailed from Chicago about activities he was supposedly doing in California, and taken seriously by our government.

Lee was not a communist. One of his closest friends was Ronald Reagan. Everyone who knew Lee could tell you that Lee believed in capitalism.

Fortunately for Liberace that due to the frequency of the letters with no specific information about his activities no further action was taken by the FBI other than observing his activities to see if they were of a communist nature until closing the file in 1966.

Letter sent to FBI with no return address, no name, from Chicago about activities in California. Letters just like these devastated the careers of many performers in the 1950s.

Lee sure faced a lot of public and official scrutiny in his lifetime. An interesting gem from the investigation as to if he was being extorted for being gay is this piece:

Liberace was being observed under the guise of protecting him because our government suspected he was gay. Putting together a plan to subpoena him over small horse bets  had absolutely nothing to do with protecting him from extortionists.

When critics seek to bash Liberace for never being “out” to the world remember that the world he lived in, he was guilty in the eyes of his own government for being himself.

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