May 16th Celebrates Liberace

A few days ago when I wrote about Stevie Wonder as child prodigy, another talented person by the name of Liberace appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 16. He later began giving concerts in flamboyant costumes with ornate pianos and candelabra, playing primarily popular music.

With his unique blend of classical training and over-the-top showmanship, Liberace was one of the most famous performers of the 20th century. Born Wladziu Valentino Liberace on May 16, 1919, in West Allis, Wisconsin, his middle name was taken from one of his mother’s favorite film stars Rudolph Valentino. Little did she know that her son would develop a devoted following of his own one day.

Both of Liberace’s parents were interested in music, and he began piano lessons very early on in his life. A child prodigy, he began his studies at the Wisconsin College of Music when he was only seven years old. Liberace started performing with orchestras in his early teens, to make a living, Liberace played in movie theaters and night clubs. He even adopted the stage name “Walter Busterkeys” for a time. Before long Liberace found some success in mixing his love of classical music with more contemporary tunes. His real career breakthrough, however, came in 1951 with the premiere of The Liberace Show. The musical program first aired locally in Los Angeles before going national a few years later.

Today’s YouTube is clip from Liberace show in 1969, playing one of my favorite songs called “Boogie Woogie,” brought to you by user name Show Man Lee.

When Liberace died on February 4th 1987, before his death “Mr. Showmanship” created The Liberace Foundation for the Creative and Performing Arts, in 1976. In 2013 the actor Michael Douglas and Matt Damon portrayed the movie called, “Behind the Candelabra,” which I thought was well done.

Liberace Foundation

The licensing fees derived from Liberace intellectual property serve to support the foundation, which in turn has provided over $4 million in scholarships over the past decade. The mission of the Foundation is to manage the Liberace Museum Collection in such as manner as to garner brand licensing income and donations to provide students with artistic exposure and scholarships in the creative and performing arts, in Southern Nevada.

In lieu of today’s story there was quite of a lot drama in his life concealing his sexual preference, but as we remember the talent he has left behind for all of us to enjoy, is more important than any bad publicity.

What always drew me to the entertainer was his near death experience he had as a young child in 1963, having three near death experiences of my own. I’ve been fascinated with other people near death experiences, but today isn’t about me, but to wish Liberace a Happy Birthday!

Written and Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio


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