Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's a Liberace Christmas Special!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 
We celebrate this Christmas with a nostalgic look back at one of the most famous entertainers of the last century and his love for the Christmas season.   Liberace not only recorded numerous Christmas albums which became top sellers, he had TV Christmas shows watched by millions and became celebrated for his lavish holiday decorating (he owned over eight homes and decorated them all!).  Included below is his last appearance in public before he passed on, which was a Christmas TV show.  We also offer his 1954 Christmas show below!  
VGMH wishes you a peaceful holiday.  Steve.
Liberace debuted on local Los Angeles television in 1951, leading to a musical variety program which was then followed by the Liberace Show on ABC and then he starred on the CBS network with his own series again.  In the early days he was class and style in terms of his dress.   He often played the song "I'll Be Seeing You" as his closing number. Liberace 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.  He earned his nickname 'Mr Showmanship' for his glittering wardrobes.  A candelabrum placed on top of his piano became his trademark.

A self-proclaimed heterosexual, he spent the majority of his career fighting off rumours that he was gay.  His last public appearance (Liberace had AIDS but did not tell the public) in 1987 was on a Christmas telecast of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which it fitting since he loved Christmas so much for his entire life.    Oprah would later say that this was one of her most memorable moments in her own career (please see video of interview below).  TV Guide magazine also listed this, his last performance, as one of the most memorable in the history of television itself.
Back in 1958, Liberace’s Deep Well Estate home was chosen by the Palm Springs Villager magazine as the Home-of-the-Month for December.  No wonder, because already Liberace had developed a reputation as being a Christmas decorating celebrity.  Located at 1516 South Manzanita Avenue in Palm Springs, it was the famed pianist’s first Palm Springs home, which he bought new in 1957.  This 3 bedroom, 4 bath, 3,083sq ft home was built in 1956 on a 10,890sq ft  lot with a pool.  His home was located in the quiet elegance of the Deep Well neighborhood and was designed for work, relaxation, and of course privacy. The Deep Well area was becoming famous with Hollywood stars who wanted a quiet place to get away from Hollywood and also included Loretta Young, William Holden, and Jerry Lewis, among others.
His home included a large fireplace that dominated the black and white living room. That year, during the holidays, the entire living room was said to have been transformed into a winter wonderland with trees, snowmen and icicles hanging on eaves overlooking the pool. Liberace said of his home in the desert that it was the place he came to relax. In the article he said, “When one looks at beautiful mountains and a clear desert sky, the mind is more creative.” In 1968, Liberace purchased another home in Palm Springs (he owned many homes in many locations).  Formerly called The Cloisters, it was located in the old Las Palmas neighborhood. 

Above: Liberace puts up Christmas decorations outside his home in Sherman Oaks in December 1955.  Below, Liberace's holiday decorating once included a piano perched on top of his home.
And also here for your ears as well as your eyes to enjoy is Liberace's TV Christmas show from 1954

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