Uh…wow…thanks, it’s on order.
While the Murrow See It Now interview is nearly verbatim in the movie, don’t assume that that was typical. It was included because it’s ironic, and Liberace said that he thought Princess Margaret was “waiting for her dream mate too,” which isn’t so suggestive.
In fact, what’s most remembered about that interview is that Liberace created a minor controversy by implying that he might have a chance with the princess. Murrow followed up that question with “Have you ever met Princess Margaret?” and Lee answered, “No, but I hope to meet her when I go to England next year – we have a lot of the same tastes, and besides… she’s pretty and single.” Considerable huffing and puffing over the perceived impropriety of that, as you can imagine. Altogether, it didn’t come across as “I’m just like Princess Margaret, we’re both waiting for our Prince Charming,” – it was more like “I’m not going to get married unless it’s really special. I’ve got my eye on a princess.”
At the time, Liberace was a sex symbol – for women. That “lots of wavy hair like Liberace” in Mr. Sandman is dead serious.
And Lee had his share of beards to support a carefully-cultivated reputation as a ladies’ man. In other interviews he often gave advice to any interested men about how to attract women, and answered questions about what he looked for in a woman without any coy hints.
Sorry, but Liberace was pretty closeted back then. (Which allowed him to be interviewed on CBS, I guess.)
Remembe, Liberace sued someone for slander for writing that he was gay… AND WON! :eek:
Back in the late 60s/early 70s, my late Grandmom loved his show. A few years ago, I asked Mom “Did Grandmom have any idea?” to which Mom replied “Well, a lot of people just didn’t even think about things that way back then.”
Being a fop or a dandy wasn’t instantly seen as gay. Wimpy, sure. But you may not have been automatically labelled a “nancy boy.”
Also, remember that for the past 25-30 years, any male sex symbol has been almost automatically rumored to be gay.
More on Liberace’s libel suit against the London Daily Mirror in 1959:
Ages ago, as a joke a friend gave me a book by Liberace for a Christmas gift…I think it was on page 2 or 3 that he said the same thing - basically waiting for the right girl to come along to get married. My friend and I laughed, saying he was indeed waiting for the “right girl” - as long as she was well hung and named Chuck.
The amazing thing was he had an audience made up of adoring grandmothers - and I don’t know whether they were all clueless, or just didn’t care - but I guess he assumed coming out might damage his career. Not that anybody today would think like that…coughcoughCruisecoughcough…
I helped my BIL and sister clean out my BIL’s mother’s apt. when she moved to a nursing home – my payment was an eight-track of “Liberace Sends You Love.”
As soon as I find an eight-track player, I’ll be happy to report on what it’s like.
Aww crap, and I just left a perfectly good component 8-track player out on the curb for trash pickup a couple of weeks ago. I was tired of it taking up space in the garage. If I had known you needed it, I would have sent it to you – no charge for shipping.
Eight-track?! That is so gay!
As I remember it, Liberace never came out publicly. It was a well-known secret, but he never came right out and declared his sexuality.
In one biography I read of Liberace (yes, I’ve actually read more than one Liberace biography- I’m that weird in my interests) the biographer says that Liberace was probably telling the truth when he said he had not engaged in homosexual activity at the time of that lawsuit. He lived with his mother (or she with him rather) and she even travelled with him on the road much of the time.
The biographer’s evidence and interviews suggested that he did not become sexually active until middle age, and then he made up for lost time (unfortunately, since he picked the really wrong time to enter gay promiscuity circuit). He was engaged twice, but it’s generally believed one was a publicity gimmick set up by his PR person and another was something he was semi-serious on but either he or she one finally said “Who are we kidding?”.
One of the many ex- Mrs. George Liberace’s said in an interview that George once sent a particularly beautiful high class call girl to his brother’s hotel room with their mother’s encouragement because even his beloved Mama was concerned about him. Liberace through the girl out and went into a rage towards his brother and mother.
By the time he denied ever having had gay sex in the Scott Thorson lawsuit he was lying his rhinestone studded butt off. The 70s was a time he experimented with drugs (cocaine especially- I don’t believe he ever had an addiction problem) and sex clubs and rent boys and just generally went into a delayed mid-life crisis. It’s thought he contracted HIV from rentboys and groupies he slept with after Scott.
The man was a major facade, not just on the “looking for the right girl” front. He was a heavy smoker (with a diamond studded cigarette case on display at his museum who, while not a lush, definitely drank, but claimed to be a non-smoking teetotaller. He wore a hairpiece but claimed his hair was natural. Even much of the image of him at home in those godawful de Medici whorehouse decorations was largely put on- his real bedroom (i.e. the one he actually slept on rather than the one with the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling and the gilded toilet) was almost monastic and his closest of the close friends (such as fag hags extraordinaire Debbie Reynolds and Liza Minnelli) recall that when there were no cameras and no visitors he would walk around bald (he kept his remaining hair very close cropped so that the very expensive wigs would fit better) in a loose old bathrobe that he loved and stay mainly in the more sedate rooms of the house. (He had many homes, but for the last few years he stayed mostly in Palm Springs and Vegas.)
Like Roy Cohn he denied having AIDS even on his deathbed. I suppose you can take the boy out of the early 20th century immigrant Catholic family but…
PS- If you have a flaming queen with pianist envy on your Christmas list and haven’t decided what to get them, check this out from the Liberace store.
Trivia: Liberace’s mother, Frances, was such a Valentino fan that she named two of her sons for him (Liberace’s full name was Wladziu Valentino Liberace, and one of his brothers was Rudy).
Like Elvis (who he supposedly introduced to bling bling), Liberace was born with a stillborn twin that he sometimes talked to.
Liberace’s niece, Ina Liberace, was the longterm girlfriend of Kristi MacNichol.
I had a band director in high school, whom everyone suspected of being closeted (he was in his 40s and still lived with his mother), and he saw Liberace in concert, and according to him, Liberace was such the show man that him being gay (and I don’t remember if this was before Liberace died or not, but certainly when it was a given that he was gay) never entered your mind.
The Liberace museum that Sampiro mentions is one of the best little places in Las Vegas, for tourists who don’t go there just to gamble. The website doesn’t do it any justice.
I’m going to go ahead and assume your band director saw Liberace in concert before he died…
Well, I meant that I don’t remember if we were talking about it before Lib died or not,but what with all the animitronics they have, you could probably wire up ole Lib’s corpse so that it’d be hard to tell!
Liberace sued the British Daily Mirror newspaper in 1956 following an article by a columnist called Cassandra who accused him of being a “deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love… Without doubt, he is the biggest sentimental vomit of all time. Slobbering over his mother, winking at his brother, and counting the cash at every second… a sugary mountain of jingling claptrap wrapped in such a preposterous clown.”
Bizarrely, the Daily Mirror lost the action and had to pay Liberace £8,000 in damages. God bless the British legal system!
The Daily Mirror suit jury found in Liberace’s favor on only “one imputation” of the article. “The other statements in the article including Cassadra’s long string of colorful adjectives, were ‘fair comment’ it decided.”
The $22K was the largest libel award in memory in that court.
An early Mad Magazine puzzle page featured a series of ‘What’s Wrong with This Picture’ puzzles.
One of these showed people watching a radio, listening to a TV, etc. – everything was backwards.
In plain view was a sports page headline reading: Liberace Wins by KO in the 5th.
IIRC, ‘effeminate’ and ‘not tough’ were pretty widely accepted code for ‘gay’ in that era.