Liberace, Las Vegas and Me - JazzWax

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September 21, 2010


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Joel Lewis

last thing I'd expect to see in a jazz blog, but pretty great article in WSJ. Liberace is one of those pop stars who were already out-of-sync with the culture during his fame -- if I recall, he appealed to everyone's grandmother in my youth and had pull in the same group that dug lawrence Welk. Sounds like the museum badly mismanaged itself &, maybe if they had the funds,might have expanded the scope of the operation as Liberace's star dimmed into, perhaps, a museum of vegas performing culture or something along those lines

Marty Jourard

The guy was there first, period.


There's a very funny clip of Jack Benny with Liberace here:
Jack warms up with a bit of Fritz Kreisler.

Ian Carey

And thus ends the only remaining reason to go to Vegas. Bummer. The most amazing thing about the Liberace museum to me was seeing in great detail how astonishingly "fabulous" his public persona was, and yet mainstream America unquestioningly accepted the idea of him as "Hollywood's most eligible bachelor" and so on. I mean, c'mon--those American flag hot pants?! That guy had chutzpah for miles.

Larry Kart

I went out to Vegas to do a piece about Liberace in the late 1970s or early '80s. Scott Thorson's family -- Mom, Dad, younger brothers and sisters (Scott was an adopted child) -- were there to pay him a visit. They were totally Orange Co., made the Brady Bunch look like hipsters. One wondered what (if anything) they made of Liberace's relationship to their son.

Liberace was exceptionally nice, said some amusingly barbed things about how schlumpy Streisand was when she first played Vegas (he gave her some wardrobe advice), seemed quite at ease inside his own skin. I visited the museum, which was fascinating. I recall, in particular, a life-size replica of a grand piano that a prison inmate had fashioned out of toothpicks and sent to Lee.

Larry Kart

Sorry -- misspelled Scott Thorson's last name.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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