Wladziu Valentino Liberace, better known as Mr. Showmanship, has become known worldwide by entertaining audiences with his lavish performances. Even though he is mostly remembered for his love of material things, there is much more to this unique artist. With that in mind, here are some facts about Lee (as his friends used to call him) that you probably didn’t know before.
Liberace Was a Child Prodigy
Liberace was born in Wisconsin in 1919 and he showed a talent for the piano when he was only three years old. If there had been YouTube at the time, videos of little Liberace doing his thing on the piano would have gone viral in a matter of hours.
Luckily, his father was also a musician and recognized Liberace’s incredible talent when he started playing popular songs by ear. He decided to enroll him at the Wisconsin College of Music, and the rest is history.
He Frequently Played in Las Vegas
Due to his lavishness and the extravagance of his performances, he was always welcome in Las Vegas. He frequently played at popular casino resorts, hotels, restaurants, clubs, and bars, drawing a crowd of people each time.
It is believed that this has helped him a lot in creating the unique style he is remembered for today. Therefore, just as his performances were important for Vegas, Vegas was equally important for him.
His Teenage Stage Name Was Walter Busterkeys
As a teenager, before he moved further to the West Coast, Liberace had played at classical music competitions, in movie theaters, and symphonies around Wisconsin. As his full name did not really resonate well on the stage, he decided to create a stage name and call himself Walter Busterkeys.
He kept this name until the 1940s, when he realized that he wanted to be remembered by his real name. Therefore, inspired by his idol Ignacy Paderewski who had only used his last name, he decided to refer to himself as Liberace.
Critics Were Not Fond of Him
Liberace liked to describe his work as “classical music without all the boring stuff”. He loved incorporating elements of pop music into his classical pieces, which is something a lot of critics did not approve of.
Moreover, since he relied heavily on jokes, bling, costumes, and gimmicks during his piano shows, critics claimed that he lacked talent and wanted to make up for it by being a showman.
Laugh All the Way to the Bank
If you used this phrase before, you might want to know that it was created by Liberace. He wrote a letter to a critic after a poor review, telling him that he “laughed all the way to the bank”, meaning he is easily earning a lot of money.