Liberace rockets to fame with the premiere of "The Liberace Show." More popular than "I Love Lucy", he becomes the first TV idol. But fame comes with a price and Liberace must pay by defending himself in court two times before the

 

1950

The decade begins with Wladziu "Walter" Valentino Liberace officially changing his name to simply Liberace.

Liberace was very popular on the dinner club circuit, playing at Hotels and popular restaurants throughout the country. Here's an interesting table card from the Empire Room in Chicago.

Did you ever wonder where Liberace got the inspiration for his trademark candelabra?
In 1944, after a tough crowd at a Manhattan show, he went to see the film "A Song to Remember" with Merle Oberon and Cornel Wilde, loosely based on the life of Chopin. Merle Oberon enters a room with a very large and grand candelabra to add light to a mysterious performance in progress. And the rest is history.

CLICK HERE for a clip

 

1952

The Liberace Show premieres on KLAC-TV in Los Angeles, this was the local version of the show. It was so successful that The Liberace Show went national in 1953 and continued through 1956. During this period Liberace appeared on the cover of TV-Guide a total of 5 times!

Liberace's engagement to Joanne Rio is announced!

During the summer hiatus from The Liberace Show Liberace made his first appearance at the Hollywood Bowl.

 

1953

 

"Ripley's Believe It Or Not" names Liberace "The Fastest Piano Player In The World", for playing 6,000 notes in 2 minutes.

September 25th, Liberace's boyhood dream comes true. Liberace plays Carnegie Hall in New York City.

By the years end, Liberace has sold 2 million records.

Liberace also had a wide range of Official Souvenirs

 

1954

Liberace performs at Madison Square Garden to record breaking crowds.

Liberace goes to CUBA!

The tabloid magazines of the 1950s had a field day with Liberace..

INSIDE Magazine tells us what men think of Liberace!

RAVE Magazine. August, 1954
"LIBERACE - Don't call him mister!"

 

1955

By the mid 50's Liberace had 162 certified Fan Clubs with a total of 230,000 fans. His fan mail totals 6 to 10 thousand letters a week. Many of his fans send gifts and jewelry which add up to almost $40,000 in the first half of the decade.

$$$$ Liberace opens at the new Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas becoming the highest paid entertainer in Las Vegas with a weekly salary of $50,000.

"Sincerely Yours", Liberace's first and last feature film, premieres in Los Angeles.

While in Rome Pope Pius XII holds a special audience with Liberace and his family.

 

1956

Liberace appears before Queen Elizabeth II for his first Royal Command Performance.

A scandalous article appears in the tabloid/gossip magazine called "On the QT."

"MAMA'S BOY IN CURLS"

 

1957

A sign of bad times to come - Liberace opens at the RKO Palace Theater in New York City for a four week run. The sales are so slow the show is closed after the second week.

 

CONFIDENTIAL, a Hollywood tabloid magazine, prints a story about Liberace titled "Why Liberace's Theme Song Should Be 'Mad About The Boy'".

"The sour note came when the Kandelabra Kid tried to turn public relations into private relations..."

1958

After growing tension between the two brothers, George Liberace leaves the act.

(That's George's little head on the RKO Palace card above!) Here's a better picture of George.

 

1959

 

 


They're at it again! The tabloids release another scandalous article about Liberace. This one is from TOP SECRET MAGAZINE

"The whole world mocked at Liberace's Momism. Here is a picture from a London paper that showed half of Lee and half of his mother in a striking composite set-up."


Liberace sues The London Daily Mirror over an article written about him during his 1956 tour of Europe. The famous "Liberace Vs. Cassandra" case.