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Birth name: Wladziu Valentino Liberace.
Also known as:
-Walter Busterkeys.
-Walter Liberace.
-Lee Liberace.
-Liberace Chefroach.
-The Glitter Man.
Born: May 16, 1919 West Allis, WI, United States.
Died: February 4, 1987 (aged 67).

Liberace biography (bio):
Wladziu Valentino Liberace better known by only his last name Liberace was an American entertainer.

Early life and stage name:
Liberace, known as "Lee" to his friends, was born in West Allis, Wisconsin to Frances Zuchowski, a Polish American, and Salvatore ("Sam") Liberace, an immigrant from Formia, Italy. He grew up in a musical family. He had a twin who died at birth. He was classically trained as a pianist and gained wide experience playing popular music. Lee followed the advice of famous Polish pianist and family friend Paderewski and billed himself under his last name only. As his classical career developed he found that his whimsical encores, in which he played pop songs and marches, went over better with audiences than his renditions of classical pieces, so he changed his act to "pop with a bit of classics". At other times, he referred to his act as "classical music with the boring parts left out." During the mid- and late 1940s he performed in dinner clubs and night clubs in major cities around the United States.
In his early career days he used the stage name Walter Busterkeys.
In 1943, he appeared in a couple of Soundies (the 1940s precursor to music videos). He re-created two flashy numbers from his nightclub act, "Tiger Rag" and "Twelfth Street Rag." In these films he was billed as Walter Liberace. Both Soundies were later released to the home-movie market by Castle Films.

He had a network television program, The Liberace Show, beginning on July 1, 1952. Producer Duke Goldstone mounted a filmed version for syndication in 1955, and sold it to scores of local stations. The widespread exposure of the syndicated Liberace series made the pianist more popular and prosperous than ever. His brother George often appeared as guest violinist. Liberace signed off each broadcast with the song "I'll Be Seeing You." This show was also one of the first to be shown on UK commercial television in the 1950's where it was broadcast on Sunday afternoon's by Lew Grade's ATV company. This exposure gave Liberace a dedicated following in the UK.
Liberace became known for his extravagant costumes, personal charm, and self-deprecating wit. His public image became linked with one ever-present stage prop, a silver candelabrum perched on his piano. By 1955 he was making $50,000 per week at the Riviera nightclub in Las Vegas and had over 160 official fan clubs with a quarter of a million member fans (who throughout his career were mostly middle-aged women). He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for his contributions to the television industry.
In 1966 he appeared in two highly-rated episodes of the U.S. television series Batman. During the 1970s his appearances included guest roles on episodes of Here's Lucy and Kojak. In a cameo on The Monkees he appeared at an avant-garde art gallery as himself, gleefully smashing a grand piano with a sledgehammer as Mike Nesmith looked on and cringed in mock-agony.
Liberace was also the guest star in an episode of The Muppet Show. His performances included a "Concerto for the Birds" and an amusing rendition of "Chopsticks." In the 1980s he guest starred on television shows such as Saturday Night Live (on a 10th-season episode hosted by Hulk Hogan and Mr. T), The Tonight Show and the 1984 film Special People.

He released several recordings through Columbia Records (later on Dot and through direct television advertising) and sold over 2,000,000 records in 1953 alone. Liberace's highly colored style of piano playing was characterized by some critics as fluid and lyrical but technically careless.

Liberace appeared as a guest star in two compilation features for RKO Radio Pictures. Footlight Varieties was an imitation-vaudeville hour released in 1951; a little-known sequel, Merry Mirthquakes (1953), featured Liberace as master of ceremonies.
He was at the height of his career in 1955 when he starred in the Warner Brothers feature Sincerely Yours with Dorothy Malone, playing 31 songs. The film (about a concert pianist who loses his hearing) was a commercial and critical failure, which was attributed in part to his having been overexposed on television.
In 1965, he had a small part in the movie When the Boys Meet the Girls starring Connie Francis, essentially playing himself.
In 1966, Liberace received kudos for his brief role as a casket salesman in the film adaptation of The Loved One, Evelyn Waugh's satire of the funeral business and movie industry in Southern California. It was the only film Liberace made in which he did not play the piano.

His fame in the U.S. was paralleled for a time in the UK. In 1957 an article in The Daily Mirror by veteran columnist Cassandra (William Connor) mentioned that Liberace was "...the summit of sex--the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Everything that he, she, and it can ever want... a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love," a description which did everything it could to imply he was homosexual without saying so. Liberace sued the newspaper for libel, testified in a London court that he was not a homosexual, had never taken part in homosexual acts, and won the suit. But he did acknowlege his homosexual orientation and told his lifetime partner to keep it a secret until he died.
For years Liberace had joked, "I don't mind the bad reviews, but George (his brother and business partner) cries all the way to the bank." The 8,000 ($22,400) damages he received from The Daily Mirror led Liberace to alter this catchphrase to "I cried all the way to the bank!"
In 1982, Liberace's live-in boyfriend of some five years, Scott Thorson, sued the pianist for $113 million in palimony after an acrimonious split-up. Liberace continued to publicly deny that he was homosexual. In 1984, most of Thorson's claim was dismissed although he received a $95,000 settlement. Later in the decade Thorson emerged as a pivotal witness in the prosecution of reputed gangster Eddie Nash in the 1981 quadruple murders of the Wonderland Gang.

Later career:
In 1960 Liberace performed at the London Palladium with Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr. (this was the first televised "command performance", now known as "The Royal Variety Show" for Queen Elizabeth II). His career then went into a slump but he skillfully built it back up by appealing directly to his fan base through live appearances in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Liberace was a favorite subject of tabloid magazines throughout his life and he published an autobiography in 1973. Liberace owned an antique store for some years in Beverly Hills, California. In 1982 he guest starred on one of his own favorite television programs, "Lives...of the curious" on the renowned two parted, "The Mystery of Mother's Murder." He had a keen interest in cooking, often preparing meals for friends and associates. In addition, he owned a restaurant in Las Vegas for many years and even published cookbooks, the most famous of these being Liberace Cooks, with co-author cookbook guru Carol Truax. The book features recipes "from his seven dining rooms" (of his Hollywood home).
Throughout the 1970s Liberace's live shows were major box office attractions in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton and Lake Tahoe where he would earn $300,000 a week. These glitzy shows were a continued success for over a decade, helped along by infrequent but flamboyant television appearances and the opening of a promotional museum of his extravagant jewelry and stage costumes in 1979.

Liberace's final stage performance was at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on November 2, 1986. He died of complications related to AIDS at the age of 67 on February 4, 1987 at his winter house in Palm Springs, California. His obvious weight loss in the months prior to his death was attributed to a "watermelon diet" by his longtime and steadfast manager Seymour Heller. But he had been in ill health since 1985 with other health problems including emphysema from his daily smoking off-stage, as well as heart and liver troubles. How and exactly when he became HIV+ has never been determined, as Liberace vehemently denied that he had AIDS or that he was homosexual. At the end of his life, still convinced that his fans were unaware of his sexuality or the disease he was battling, he confided in Heller his belief that if his fans knew, "that's all they'll remember about me." He is entombed in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas contains many of his stage costumes, cars, jewelry, and lavishly-decorated pianos, along with numerous citations for philanthropic acts.
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