Liberace (Władziu Valentino Liberace)



He was born Wladziu (Polish for Walter) Liberace in West Allis, Wisconsin to immigrant Italian and Polish parents one of four children. Both parents were musically talented. His Italian father played the french horn with the Milwaukee Philharmonic Orchestra and his Polish mother played the piano. When Polish pianist Paderwski visited the Liberaces, he recommended Wladziu receive a scholarship to the Wisconsin College of Music. He also studied privately and at age 14 made his debut with the Chicago Symphony. Liberace debuted on local Los Angeles television in 1951 leading to a network musical variety program followed by the Liberace Show/ABC and then again reappeared in his own CBS network series. He often played the song “I’ll Be Seeing You” as his closing number. He earned his nickname “Mr Showmanship” for his glittering wardrobes and a candelabrum placed on top of his piano which became his trademark. He made a few movies, but after his television career faded, he became a mainstay at Las Vegas Casinos where he played to sold-out performances for years. His last public appearance was on a Christmas telecast of The Oprah Winfrey Show. His health was deteriorating and he retreated to his Palm Spring home. He received the last rites of the Catholic Church and with a rosary in his hands died at the age of 68. He is interred with his mother and brother, a orchestra leader and violinist at Forest Lawn. A Memorial Mass was held at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Las Vegas. The Palm Springs City Hall flew their flag at half mast. In memory of the ever-smiling performer whose appeal spanned all age groups, The Liberace Museum, a popular Las Vegas tourist attraction, houses his collection of antiques, custom cars and elaborate costumes with proceeds funding a scholarship for aspiring musicians and artists.


  • May, 16, 1919
  • West Allis, Wisconsin


  • February, 04, 1987
  • Palm Springs, California

Cause of Death

  • died of cytomegalovirus pneumonia as a result of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park
  • Hollywood,California

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