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Thursday, 28 February 2008

Liberace: the King of Pianos- A Short Biography

Liberace is simply known as the king of pianos because of his excellent skill in that musical instrument. He came from a humble background and was born to an Italian father and a Polish mother in West Allis, Wisconsin. He is blessed to have a music oriented family background as his father Salvatore Liberace playing the French horn in the Milwaukee Philharmonic and his mother, Frances Liberace playing the piano. His two other siblings also had musical talent. Walter Valentino Liberace is keen to watch his parents excel in musical instruments, but he has a great affection towards the instrument Piano.

At that time a friend of his family offered young Liberace a scholarship to the College of Music in Wisconsin.He was classically trained as a pianist and gained wide experience playing popular music. Liberace followed the advice of famous Polish pianist and family friend Paderewski, and billed himself under his last name only.

As his classical career developed, he found that his whimsical encores, in which he played pop songs and marches, went over better with audiences than his renditions of classical pieces, so he changed his act to "pop with a bit of classics".

In his early career days he used the stage name Walter Busterkeys. He joined the Hollywood in 1950’s and started being part of the movie production. He started the a network television program, The Liberace Show, beginning on July 1, 1952. Producer Duke Goldstone mounted a filmed version for syndication in 1955, and sold it to scores of local stations. The widespread exposure of the syndicated Liberace series made the pianist more popular and prosperous than ever. Liberace signed off each broadcast with the song "I'll Be Seeing You". This show was also one of the first to be shown on UK commercial television in the 1950s.

He also performed in Australia and Europe and visited many countried in the 1960s and 1970s Liberace became known for his extravagant costumes, personal charm, and self-deprecating wit. In 1966 he appeared in two highly-rated episodes of the U.S. television series Batman

He was at the height of his career in 1955 when he starred in the Warner Brothers feature Sincerely Yours with Dorothy Malone, playing 31 songs. The film (about a concert pianist who loses his hearing) was a commercial and critical failure, which was attributed in part to his having been overexposed on television

Liberace's final stage performance was at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on November 2, 1986. He died at the age of 67 on February 4, 1987 at his winter house in Palm Springs, California due to complications from AIDS.

The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas contains many of his stage costumes, cars, jewelry, and lavishly-decorated pianos, along with numerous citations for philanthropic acts.

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