Musician and Entertainer
Born May 16, 1919

Wladziu Valentino Liberace, best known simply as Liberace, was a famous American pianist and vocalist. In a career that spanned four decades of concerts, recordings, motion pictures, television and endorsements, Liberace became world-renowned. During the 1950s–1970s he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world and embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off the stage.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Liberace.


1919 Birth Born on May 16, 1919.


1934 15 Years Old In 1934, he played jazz piano with a school group called "The Mixers" and later with other groups. … Read More
1937 18 Years Old A participant in a formal classical music competition in 1937, Liberace was praised for his "flair and showmanship".


1939 20 Years Old At the end of a traditional classical concert in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1939, Liberace played his first requested encore, the popular comedy song "Three Little Fishies". … Read More
1942 23 Years Old Between 1942 and 1944, Liberace moved away from straight classical performance and reinvented his act to one featuring "pop with a bit of classics" or as he also called it "classical music with the boring parts left out". … Read More
1943 24 Years Old In 1943, he began to appear in Soundies (the 1940s precursor to music videos). … Read More
1944 25 Years Old In 1944, he made his first appearances in Las Vegas, which later became his principal venue.
1945 26 Years Old 1 More Event
He was playing at the best clubs, finally appearing at the celebrated Persian Room in 1945, with Variety proclaiming, "Liberace looks like a cross between Cary Grant and Robert Alda. … Read More
1947 28 Years Old 1 More Event
By 1947, he was billing himself as "Liberace—the most amazing piano virtuoso of the present day".


1950 31 Years Old Liberace created a very successful publicity machine which helped rocket him to stardom. In 1950 he performed for music-loving President Harry S. Truman in the East Room of the White House. … Read More
1954 35 Years Old 1 More Event
His New York City performance at Madison Square Garden in 1954, which earned him a record $138,000 for one performance, was more successful than the great triumph his idol Paderewski had made twenty years earlier.
1955 36 Years Old By 1955, he was making $50,000 per week at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and had over 200 official fan clubs with a quarter of a million member fans. … Read More
1956 37 Years Old 1 More Event
Liberace appeared on the 8 March 1956 episode of the TV quiz program You Bet Your Life hosted by Groucho Marx. … Read More
1957 38 Years Old On July 19, 1957, hours after Liberace gave a deposition in his $25 million libel suit against Confidential magazine, two masked intruders attacked his mother in the garage of Liberace's home in Sherman Oaks. … Read More
1958 39 Years Old …  A new Liberace Show premiered on ABC's daytime schedule in 1958, featuring a less flamboyant, less glamorous persona, but it failed in six months, as his popularity began slumping.


1960 41 Years Old Liberace received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for his contributions to the television industry. … Read More
1966 47 Years Old In 1966, Liberace appeared in the highly popular TV show Batman with Adam West and Burt Ward, playing a dual role as concert pianist Chandell and his gangster-like twin Harry, who was extorting Chandell into a life of crime as "Fingers", in the episodes "The Devil's Fingers" and "The Dead Ringers", both written by Lorenzo Semple Jr., who had developed Batman for television. … Read More


1970 51 Years Old In 1970, Liberace appeared on an episode of Here's Lucy, in which Craig (Desi Arnaz, Jr.) borrows a candelabra for a high school club initiation. … Read More
1978 59 Years Old Television specials were made from Liberace's show at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1978-79 which were broadcast on CBS. … Read More


1982 63 Years Old In 1982, Scott Thorson, Liberace's 22-year old former chauffeur and live-in lover of five years, sued the pianist for $113 million in palimony after he was let go by Liberace. … Read More
1986 67 Years Old 1 More Event
In late 1986, during one of his last interviews, Liberace indirectly acknowledged his illness with AIDS by remarking to the press: "How can you enjoy life if you don't have your health?" … Read More
1987 68 Years Old 1 More Event
Liberace died of cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia as a result of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) on February 4, 1987, at his winter home in Palm Springs, California. … Read More
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