Photos: The Lavish Real Estate Of Liberace
Liberace's real estate was just as flamboyant as any of his on-stage performances and costumes. Altogether he owned 11 homes in Malibu, Sherman Oaks, the Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, Lake Arrowhead, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs and New York.
We dug into the archives and were able to find some vintage shots of Liberace's real estate from photo shoots and also from a set that was taken in 1987 shortly after the performers' death. His style is just as glitzy as anything he ever wore on-stage—like Versailles with a midcentury twist.
Steve Garey, 55, a Palm Springs pianist and friend of Liberace’s in the final six years of his life explained to The Desert Sun part of why he had so many homes: "He had a group of friends from Las Vegas, he had a group of friends from Los Angeles, he had a group of friends from Palm Springs and they really didn’t mix."
We also found video of the home known as The Cloisters in Palm Springs—one of four properties he owned in the city. It was this home that was most dear to his heart, and it's where he chose to go when he knew that death was approaching. It's where fans held vigil outside when word that he was on his deathbed spread. It also happens to be where most of the "Behind the Candelabra," which premieres tonight on HBO, takes place.
Here's a tour of the property:
Palm Springs played a key role in Liberace's career. Palm Springs resident Maxine Lewis was entertainment director of the Last Frontier in Las Vegas and gave Liberace his first big break. This was at a time when Las Vegas only had two casinos. Palm Springs resident Don Fedderson produced Liberace's first TV series in 1952 after seeing him perform at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Palmer House in Chicago and the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. He bought his first home in Palm Springs shortly after his show was nationally syndicated.
Palm Springs was important to him professionally, but his biographer Bob Thomas said the city also a good place for him to discreetly indulge in gay relationships, such as the relationship depicted in the HBO movie with Scott Thorson.
Thomas wrote: "No one commented on the comings and goings at the Liberace house, nor his appearances in restaurants with blond young men. Palm Springs had long observed with tolerant eyes the peccadillos of Hollywood celebrities who enjoyed unwinding and sometimes misbehaving in the desert."