Before there was, , Prince, and Bono; there was a flamboyant piano virtuoso who was known as much for his outlandish attire and candelabra adorned piano as he was for his playing ability. The piano virtuoso could play anything he heard at age four and appeared with the Chicago Symphony at age 14.
The museum that carries his name was founded in 1979 by the entertainer himself and houses cars, pianos, costumes, antiques, and jewelry that belonged to the man known as Mr Showmanship. After the museum closes, the museum plans on taking some of the pieces on a national tour.
On October 18 that museum is set to close due to lack of interest from Las Vegas locals and visitors to the area. The museum is located off the famous Las Vegas strip and has seen a decline from 150,000 visitors to 50,000.
Born Wladziu Valentino Liberace to an Italian father and a Polish mother on May 16, 1919 in Wisconsin, Liberace was one of four siblings all of whom were musically inclined. Liberace’s father played French horn with the John Phillip Sousa marching Band. In an age when coming out was unheard of, Liberace was as conscientious about his sexuality as he was going bald – he wore a toupee even to bed – and staunchly denied being homosexual his entire life; even though he had a number of lovers.
Liberace died February 4, 1987 as a result of complications from AIDS.