February 4 – Liberace Day

Posted on February 4, 2017

The people we know by just one name generally have the normal number of names. Singer Adele was born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, and rapper Usher was born Usher Terry Raymond IV. Dearly departed Prince went by just his first name, too; his full name was Prince Rogers Nelson. Some people make up a one-name stage name – like rockstar Bono (whose real name is Paul David Hewson) and singer Pink (whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore).

Today is named for an entertainer who went by one name—in this case, just his last name. He was born Władziu Valentino Liberace, which sounds foreign, but he was born in Wisconsin and died on this date in 1987 in California.

Liberace was the son of working-class immigrants from Italy (his dad) and Poland (his mom). Liberace's dad played the French horn for pay, but he more often worked in factories or did hard manual labor. His dad loved music and wanted to make sure his kids learned about music – but his mother thought that music lessons, concerts, and even a record player were luxuries the family just couldn't afford.

Somehow, Liberace's dad managed to get piano lessons anyway. And, it turned out, Liberace was a child prodigy!

By age seven Liberace was mastering really difficult pieces, and he worked to become more like his idol, a concert pianist from Poland.

His talent didn't save him from teasing and bullying. Liberace was not much like most of the neighborhood boys. He avoided sports, and he loved to cook and paint, and of course he especially loved music. Liberace suffered from a speech impediment, and he became interested in fashion and dressing up – and all of these differences meant that he had a steady diet of mockery and ridicule from other kids.

But Liberace stuck with who he was. Soon he was making pretty good money by playing music in theaters, on the radio, for dancing classes and clubs and weddings and school and even cabarets. This was during the Depression, and it wasn't easy to earn money...but Liberace was skilled enough to do so.

Liberace even turned his oddnesses into attention-getting “schtick” – and he earned some popularity (at long last) to go along with the ridicule.

There's a saying:
"Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing."
But Liberace embraced actress Mae West's version:
"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

Above, too much cape?
Below, too many cars? Too many rings?

Too much...everything?
As an adult, Liberace's entertainment career included concerts, recordings, TV, movies, and endorsements (ads and commercials). He became Mr. Showmanship, with a crazy, flamboyant lifestyle off stage to match his flamboyant clothing on stage. And, at the height of his fame, Liberace was the highest paid entertainer in the world!

Liberace's first love was piano, and he had a piano-themed kitchen,
a piano-themed pool, and several grand pianos!

Also on this date:

Facebook's birthday 

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

Composer Johann Ludwig Bach's birthday

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