Liberace, Walter

Liberace, (Walter) (b. Wladziu Valentino)

(1919–86) pianist; born in Milwaukee, Wis. Self-avowed mama's boy and child prodigy, he was a consummate performer (1950–86), playing in flamboyant costumes on ornate pianos, sometimes with symphony orchestras, but more often at Las Vegas or on television. He ended his career somewhere between a cult figure and a parody of himself.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.