Liberace Day is celebrated annually on February 4th to honor the life and contribution of Liberace.
History of Liberace Day
Władziu Valentino Liberace, or simply Liberace, is a flamboyant pianist and great entertainer. He is probably well known for his personality as well as his musical talent. Between the 1950s and 1970s, at the height of his fame, he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. Liberace Day is celebrated on February 4 every year, on the anniversary of his death.
Liberace was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, on May 16, 1919, to Polish and Italian descent. When he was 4 years old, he learned to play the piano. Before becoming a star, he played in theatres, clubs, on local radio, for dance classes and weddings. While he usually plays solo, he sometimes plays with groups, such as with a school jazz group called "The Mixers" in the mid-1930s. Then, with the Great Depression still raging, he made money playing in strip clubs and pubs, where he came as Walter Busterkeys.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Liberace toured the Midwest. At that time, he switched from playing serious classical music to playing classical pop music. By the mid-1940s, when he started calling himself Liberace, he was performing in nightclubs in major cities across the United States, and his personality grew and he became an artist. His use of schmaltz, interacting with the audience and paying attention to the presentation earned him the name "Mr. Showmanship". His stage performances are enhanced with overly flashy costumes and lavish pianos, on which an ornate lampstand can be found. His fanfare and efficiency led people to believe that he was gay, but he never admitted it in public.
For most of his career, Las Vegas was the home of the show; he first took the stage there in 1944 and began his residency at the Riviera hotel in 1955. His performances there contributed to the mystique of the city. But Liberace's outsized performances could not be limited to one city or even one country, and he began touring internationally in 1956. A television show, The Liberace Show, also debuted in 1952, helping to bring him to the pinnacle of his career. Filmed in front of a live audience, it was released in 1953 and quickly became one of the most watched television shows in the country, with more than 30 million viewers regularly watching. Over the years, Liberace has also appeared in a number of films and published several cookbooks.
Liberace was diagnosed with HIV in August 1985, however, this information was kept secret and he did not seek medical care. His last live performance was on November 2, 1986, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and his last television appearance was in an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired on Christmas Day. He was hospitalized with pneumonia in January 1987 and died of pneumonia as a result of AIDS on February 4, 1987. Liberace's legacy continued after his death. The Liberace Museum opened in Las Vegas in 1979 but closed in 2010. However, items from the museum's collection in Las Vegas can still be seen today at the Liberace Garage and Thriller Mansion. Liberace's legacy also lives on through Liberace Day we observe on February 4th every year.
How to celebrate Liberace Day
There are many ways to celebrate Liberace Day. Below are some ideas for you to celebrate:
- Watch videos of Liberace early performances of "Tiger Rag" and "Twelfth Street Rag", recorded as Soundies.
- Listen to some Liberace.
- Watch a Liberace concert movie.
- Watch Behind the Candle, Liberace, or Liberace behind the Music.
- Prepare yourself for an ostentatious outfit, put a lampstand on your piano, and sit down to play.
- View items from the Liberace Museum Collection at Liberace Garage or Thriller Mansion.
- Come and visit the Mansion or grave.
- Take part in the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts.
ObservedLiberace Day has been observed annually on February 4th.
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020
Thursday, February 4th, 2021
Friday, February 4th, 2022
Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Sunday, February 4th, 2024