Born: May 16, 1919; West Allis, WI
Died: February 4, 1987; Palm Springs, CA
Liberace (born Wladziu Valention Liberace) was the most flamboyant, popular easy listening pianist of the '60s and '70s by a wide margin. His campy, theatrical appearance and performances often disguised his prodigious talent. When he was 11, he debuted as a concert soloist. When he was in his teens, he was performing with symphony orchestras. Instead of following the accepted path of classical recitals and university courses, Liberace chose toRead more be a showman. At encores at his concerts, he began playing novelty songs like "Mairzy Doats." In the late '40s, he signed with Columbia Records and, under the direction of producer Mitch Miller, recorded an over-the-top rendition of "September Song." Along with a live concert album, the single helped bring Liberace to a national audience. Liberace became a star in the '50s, both through his records and assorted television and film appearances. His appearance and repertoire was becoming increasingly campy, as he dressed himself in rhinestone, gold lame, furs, and sequins while playing everything from Gershwin and show tunes to lounge jazz and light classical pieces, with a candelabra placed on his piano. Liberace's star rose rapidly in the early '50s, as he had his own television show, appropriately titled The Liberace Show. His celebrity reached a peak in the mid-'50s. Liberace remained a celebrity and a popular performer until his death in 1987. Read less
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