Skip to comments.Liberace: He's Far More Important And Influential Than You Think
Posted on 05/31/2013 8:19:35 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
A tepid, superficial and unsatisfying movie by HBO has brought the spectacle of Wladziu Valentino Liberace -- better known to the world simply as pianist-showman extraordinaire Liberace back into America's living rooms and consciousness more than 25 years after his death from AIDS complications.
Liberace led as fascinating and tragic a life as you could imagine, one that deserved a deeper, more comprehensive treatment than what director Steven Soderbergh served up Sunday night.
Aside from the absurdities of casting the very homely Michael Douglas as the superstar pianist (and the 42-year-old Matt Damon as his teenaged lover, Scott Thorson), the HBO offering utterly failed to explore just what made Liberace such a compelling and, yes, highly influential, figure in American pop culture history.
(Excerpt) Read more at ibtimes.com ...
Liberace was a fantastic musician. The youtube videos of his performances are all we need. I don’t care about anything else.
He was an old school homosexual who didn’t think it was anybody’s business. One of the guys I grew up with is the same way. He calls the militants “Self hating ideological faggots”
I’d be willing to live and let live on this issue, only the other side doesn’t want to.
I remember those days. Apart from Liberace, who was indeed obviously gay but never said so, I knew several other people personally who were gay. You knew that they were gay, but they never rubbed your nose in it, or insisted that you worship gaydom, the way they do now.
And I knew a couple of genuinely conservative gays. Not just libertarians who claimed to be conservative. In fact, one of them came and gave a talk at NYU about why it was NOT a good idea for gays to become political activists trying to force everyone out of the closet and naming everything else a hate crime.
Regrettably, he lost the argument.
Of course she would immediately hop to attention...and order us to change it back.
Life was hard...
Sure as hell beat Lawrence Welk that I was forced to watch. LOL!
Grandma loved him! I had another guitar player in my band who could do Lee’s voice perfectly. I’d get him to sing stuff like “Friends in Low Places” as Liberace. Hilarious!
Liberace coined the phrase “laughing all the way to the bank”.
I read one time, that Liberace had gone to sleep in his dressing room. The rug had just been cleaned with Carbon Tet and this caused him to pass out.
He was awakened when someone brought him the news that John Kennedy had just been shot and this is what prevented Liberace from dieing.
Brings back memories of the Mike Douglas show.
I like Michael Douglas (the actor) but it is sad when a biopic actor can’t possibly duplicate the charisma of the original. Liberace was a much more lively and fun character than depicted, it wasn’t just a lisp and fancy sets.
I watched Liberace numerous times and was always entertained immensely. He was the consummate entertainer and spared no expense in putting on a show. The fact that he was a homosexual did not matter....he neither endorsed nor condemned it!!!
It’s so stupid and transparent. As if nobody knows that there’s been gay people in the entertainment world. Like we all need to be reminded and told about it...becuase of course it was THE most important thing about them.
But it wasn’t. Burgess Meridith was gay. So what. I loved his acting. The guys from the Wizard of OZ were gay. So what. I loved their acting. Rock Hudson, the dad from the Brady Bunch and on and on. I don’t care that they were gay. It was a personal aspect of their lives that is none of my business and that I care nothing about. But I know it and it makes no difference, because if I didn’t know it, it would make no difference.
I can respect Liberace’s desire to keep it private. And that way he didn’t have to try to force others to accept it as normal. I assume I don’t have to explain what “it” was.
He was also one of the early TV celebrities. Part of the reason his stage glitz was so elaborate on television was that it had to be communicated through a black and white medium. He may not have been Paderewski but he certainly had a real insight into stage presence.
My sympathies...That was worse. I can see the beat in my head. God help us to forget...(but not everything).
I had to watch both Liberace AND Welk but at some point we stopped watching Liberace. I think my Dad figured it out and stopped it. My grandmother loved them both but she also loved Marlin Perkins, Billy Graham, and Fulton Sheen.
I had a friend and working colleague who turned out to be gay. He showed no overt signs of it. He was old school and was married to a German “war bride.” He “came out” after his wife died. We remained friends until I left the area. He knew my attitude toward “gayness” but it was something we just put aside.
Ironically, I think very square Lawrence Welk probably had much the same audience as Liberace.
Wasn't it: crying all the way to the bank?
I remember seeing his programs on sometimes when I was a kid. What interests me is that he was a devout Catholic. I also remember reading somewhere that Andy Warhol was also a devout Catholic. Considering their lifestyles, that is an interesting fact, if true.
Could be. I’m going by memory. Either way, that was his retort to his critics.
My GM loved Katheryn Khulman. She was a strange one.
I had no idea Burgess Meridith was gay. I wonder if any of his four wives including his last wife with whom he had two children and was married to for 46 years had any idea.
“As part of his subterfuge, he espoused politically conservative views.....”
You can call it subterfuge if you want to, but it is more likely quite a bit more complex than that.
Also, the idea that he had to “conceal” it for the sake of
his middle-aged “housewife” audience, is patently absurd on the face of it: every single one of them no doubt picked up on “what made him “different”, and they were okay with that.
It should be common knowledge by now the female of the species, whatever their age, are infinitely more amenable to
“accepting” someone like Liberace than the male of the species, whatever THEIR age.This leads me to the obvious conclusion that in areas like this, the male of the species has something to learn from the female of the species.
I have a friend in Las Vegas, who I emailed a few days ago, urging him to see the HBO movie.He was an Army buddy of mine
from Basic Training in 1966. He was a drummer and moved to Vegas in the 70s, and worked with EVERYBODY for more than 25 years. I knew he’d have some Liberace stories and he did:
he in fact worked with Liberace, who wanted him to tour with him in the 80s. But Libby was, uh, a little ‘thrifty’ with his musicians, and he couldn’t get together with Libby’s manager on pay and benefits, so it didn’t work out. However, he still called him one of a kind, a great entertainer, and remembered that the last time he saw him, he didn’t look well, with his face drawn tight (from those surgeries?),
He even got invited to his house once, and all he could say was WOW! As far as comparisons to this author (or was it you? I can’t go back and check) makes to the WHO and Jimi Hendrix, I think they’re absurd.....a much more obvious comparison could’ve been made to Elton John, a first rate musician, who “came out” with the most flamboyant , jokey costuming than any performer of his generation would’ve dared to. There is no “hiding” of true identity there, just the opposite.
Having said all that , I though Michael Douglas’s performance was great, even though I only saw part of the HBO movie....it will surely get him an Emmy nomination.
And if that quote is true , that Liberace had no use for the
“self-hating ideological faggots” he saw appearing on the scene, it only boosts him in my estimation, as a musician, a public figure, and yes, AS A MAN.
The critics had a field day with his gimmicky act, his showy but careful piano playing, his non-stop promotions, and his gaudy display of success, but he always had the last laugh, as preserved by the famous quotation, first recorded in a letter to a critic, "Thank you for your very amusing review. After reading it, in fact, my brother George and I laughed all the way to the bank". He used a similar response to subsequent poor reviews, famously modifying it to "I cried all the way to the bank." In an appearance on The Tonight Show some years later, Liberace re-ran the anecdote to Johnny Carson, and finished it by saying, "I don't cry all the way to the bank any more I bought the bank!"
and ohhhhh, the bubbles.....the bubbles......
and Bobby Burgess! help!!!!
I was never a fan but I did visit his museum in a Vegas strip mall after he passed away and I now believe is closed. He tended to creep me out when he was alive and I think I just went to the museum as something to do while in Vegas and look at his over the top memorabilia.
Well that’s what I read in a Jimmy Stewart book.
I remember those days when even in Texas the two nice guys with the neat yard and garden were left to their own, it was like gambling or other vices, when kept away from the kids and the public space, they were mostly left alone, some laws were mostly intended to keep some things in the shadows, restrained, limited to the out of sight corners of the adult world.
I didn't realize Paul Lynde was gay until after he died (I was young & naive when Hollywood Squares was on) but going back to read the one-liners are much funnier now knowing that he was. ;)
Ha! Hey, my friends and I would fight over who the cutest “Village People” dude was. Like I said, young and naive. ;)
“Sin is a monster of such awful mein
that to be hated needs but to be seen
but seen to oft familiar of face
we first endure,then pity,then embrace.”
Seems our society destroyed itself through tolerance. When it comes to sodomy, we should never have been complacent or “tolerant” in the sense of acceptance. There are only two acceptable ways to respond: law or grace. Grace is for the humble. Law is for the obstinate.
Today, militant and evangelistic homosexuality has been spread around the globe. It is a prelude to the end-of-the-world judgment which Christ taught would be in days resembling the time of Noah and of Sodom.
He taught to pray to be found worthy to escape all of these things and stand before the Son of man. He also warned to “remember Lot’s wife” — an allusion to her being turned into a pillar of salt when angels allowed their family to escape before the judgment of the wicked cities began.
I can’t imagine anyone thinking Liberace was straight. And the idea that American housewives would have been scandalized by finding out he was gay is absurd. American housewives circa 1950 were pretty savvy and pragmatic people. Living through war and economic depression gives you some perspective.
I tried watching this gay porn movie last night.
Too much homo erotica and I found myself turning my eyes away so many times, I just deleted it.
That kinda dispaly doesn’t happen in even good hetero movies and if it did, the movie would quickly become uninteresting.
I prefer allusions to things in my movies.
What about Sing-Along-with-Mitch? My grandma loved that show.
The guys from the Wizard of Oz were GAY????!!!!!! Who?
Back when it was "the love that dare not speak its name." I miss that era.
I imagine Liberace had to wrestle between the gay showman that he was and the “good Catholic” he wanted to be.
A lot of the flamboyance and camp was perfect for his time and it didn’t have to be homosexual in nature, just attention-getting. He still allowed middle-aged and elderly women to see him as a “good boy” which is what many gays aspire to - the approval of mother figures.
For any entertainer whose fame is based on living on the edge, the problem is that you have to keep topping yourself. It’s what I call the “Madonna Effect”. Talent got them by for awhile but after that they could only keep their names in the news by being more outrageous than they were the last time.
That eventually catches up with all of them. It’s a curse to have less talent than the appetite that craves fame and fortune.
Mrs. jimfree visited the Liberace museum in Vegas I believe Wednesday afternoon. She and the others in her group are costume professionals and enthusiasts.
The faggotry, the candelabras and costumes were not Wladziu’s biggest sins. It was bringing classical music to the level of a county fair, so that the culturally ignorant can say with a straight face without embarassment that this pretentious hack was a “fantastic musician”.
RE: Back when it was “the love that dare not speak its name.”
Now it’s “the love that won’t shut the F up.” :(
That saying has now morphed into ‘the love that won’t shut up’.
“I also remember reading somewhere that Andy Warhol was also a devout Catholic.”
I do remember reading that Warhol went to Mass every Sunday, at like St. Patrick’s Cathedral even I think.
One thing that was kind of cool (maybe that’s not exactly the right word) when he died was that his brothers all came to NY from PA (I think) and took his remains home for a simple, family funeral. They were all dressed in black suits and were about as far from Studio 54 as one could be. One of the NY tabloids had some pix. It seemed that he remained very close to his family all through those crazy years. Well, so maybe cool is a good enough word.
I actually recorded this, I think we’ll watch it tomorrow. Of course I remember Liberace, but not well. I think he’s a little before my time. And my father was a complete classical music devote, so we had no Liberace, no Welk, none of that.
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