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Liberace was a flamboyant pianist who twice had his own TV show and frequently performed in Las Vegas.
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Watch a short video about Liberace and learn how this flashy pianist outdid himself during every performance.
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His hands showcased a number of ornate, piano-shaped rings, and he draped himself in long, heavy fur capes. He even drove to his piano on stage in one of his many luxury automobiles. In the mid-1970s, Liberace decided to give the public a peek into his lavish lifestyle. He transformed his Hollywood home into a museum. He later displayed his collection of costumes, cars and other treasures at his own museum in Las Vegas.
Once again, Liberace found himself in a legal struggle. He was sued by his former bodyguard and chauffer Scott Thorson in 1982. Thorson claimed that he had been in a relationship with Liberace and that Liberace had promised to take care of him and support him. The case was later settled out of court.
Shortly before his death, stories circulated that Liberace had AIDS. He and his staff, however, vehemently denied that the entertainer had the disease. Liberace passed away on February 4, 1987, at his home in Palm Springs, California. Initially, his doctor reported that the showman died of cardiac arrest. Later, an autopsy by the Riverside County coroner concluded that Liberace had actually died of AIDS-related pneumonia.
While some critics have dismissed him for being overly sentimental, Liberace has left a lasting impact on the world of entertainment. His elaborate and sometimes garish style has influenced the likes of Elvis Presley, Elton John and David Bowie to name a few. An HBO film celebrating Liberace's life is slated to be released in 2013, with Michael Douglas playing the legendary showman.
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