What's My Line?

Season 7 Episode 40

EPISODE #313

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Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jun 03, 1956 on CBS

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  • Notes

    • Mr. Showmanship: As an artist and public figure, Lee Liberace - as his friends called him - always seemed to be over the top, with his fur coats, feather boas and elaborate candelabra. He was arguably one of the greatest popular pianists of all time. His long-running radio and television shows garnered an immense audience as he presented show tunes and popular music that flowed with syrupy sentimentality. Many of his most beautiful performances he dedicated to his mother. His effeminate presentation was often mimicked and mocked, and he himself became adept at poking fun at his own persona in later years. Many pictures here reveal both his flamboyant sequined appearance (he could have given lessons to Elvis Presley), and also the candelabra that was ever-present on his piano during his TV shows and concerts. As he always did for his WML appearances, Liberace drew a quick sketch of his trademark grand piano and candelabra during his sign-in tonight.

      Liberace's brother, George Liberace, was an accomplished violinist who often provided obbligato accompaniment to Liberace's arrangements. During George's WML cameo, John requested, "Say something, George." On Liberace's shows, George's ONLY role was to play the violin. There was never any on-camera verbal interaction between George and his younger brother, and some viewers wondered, after watching this odd arrangement, whether or not George could in fact speak.

      Liberace's sexuality was a major, albeit unacknowledged, part of his public image. Though many men despised Lee's fey persona, women adored him, precisely because, in the words of one starlet, "he was a desirable, attractive man ... purged of masculine loutishness." Liberace died of AIDS at age 67, just over a week before Valentine's day, 1987. - Lee McIntyre (2005)

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