Posted on September 13, 2019
There were many entertainers that have called Las Vegas home for many years. Many of those that have graced the stage of Vegas were even fixtures of Sin City long after they were gone. While Elvis might be associated with Vegas, there was only one other entertainer that defined what Vegas was truly about — showmanship, grandeur, and flamboyance. That was what made Liberace a great performer for nearly three decades of his life. Today, his legacy lives on in the Liberace Museum on Eastern Tropicana Drive.
Not only will we be taking a look at the museum itself, but we will also take a close look at a restaurant he once owned up until the final years of his life. Not to be outdone, there may be some stories that you’ll want to hear about the legend himself (stories of the paranormal kind that will leave you speechless). First, let’s take a look at some of the notable exhibits inside the place where at one point was Liberace’s home.
Who Was Liberace?
Liberace was not only his stage name but his last name. He was born Wladziu Valentino Liberace. Though he was of Polish and Italian descent, Liberace was known as Walter by much of his family and nicknamed “Lee” by his friends. He rose to fame as a musician in the 1950s and made various television appearances. He also had his show in 1952 known as The Liberace Show. He also did some acting on the side aside from his musical performances. He would eventually make appearances on various programs including The Ed Sullivan Show. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Liberace was a fixture within the Las Vegas entertainment scene and was performing regularly at the Las Vegas Hilton and resorts in Lake Tahoe. It was in Las Vegas where he brought his colorful and flamboyance to life wearing the outfits that he was famous for sporting on stage.
Liberace was also the subject of rumors regarding his lifestyle, most of it being kept secret for quite some time. Though he had quite the following, his life was tragically cut short on February 4, 1987. Even today, Liberace’s legacy lives on through his fans and even some performers that have channeled his style and showmanship on stage.
The Liberace Museum
The Liberace Museum holds many artifacts and items belonging to one of the most flamboyant entertainers of all time. You would be disappointed if you didn’t see every single costume that he wore with pride on stage during his many performances in Vegas and all over the world. This was Liberace’s home for most of his life. Even after his passing, it was only fitting to honor a man with such a charismatic and entertaining personality that was admired and adored by fans the world over.
For the entertainer known as Liberace, style was his thing. And everything he owned was glitzy and glamorous in their own unique special way. From his outfits to his many cars that he owned, he stood out in a way that would turn heads at every corner.
The Liberace Garage is located away from the grounds of the museum itself. However, it is enough space for the Liberace Foundation to display more of the things that belonged to him. Most of these cars were not just the ones that Liberace drove himself on the roads of Vegas. He actually used these cars as a performance prop while he was on stage. It didn’t matter if it was Las Vegas or Radio City Music Hall in New York City, there was bound to be a glitzy and glittery set of wheels that Liberace rolled onto the stage with during each and every show.
One of the most important cars that Liberace called his own was a Rolls Royce. It was all decked out and can be seen almost just about anywhere and any place where Liberace was sure to go. Whether it was picking up friends at the airport or just a night on the town, he rolled out in style and turned a lot of heads.
Of course, no museum that paid tribute to Liberace would be complete without displaying his collection of robes and outfits that he wore on stage while performing across the world. Pick the color and the designs and you’ll know that he wore it as part of his act. No other performer on the face of the earth could ever top the larger than life, over the top style that Liberace had. Even if any musician tried, they would fall short according to many fans. Most of these outfits are usually displayed throughout the museum. Yes, there are even some more outfits on display in Liberace’s personal dressing room as well.
Located not far from the Liberace Museum was a place known as Tivoli Gardens. At one point, this restaurant was owned by Liberace himself. He purchased the eatery back in 1982 and had frequently visited there up until his final days in public. It was he who designed the place and helped make it a reality. After his death, it was renamed Carluccio’s Tivoli Gardens. Even after Liberace had passed, the new owners made sure that Liberace’s style and design lived on through the restaurant.
Inside The Restaurant
As expected, the inside of the restaurant is all decked out like Liberace on stage. A lot of lights are on display to make the interior of this restaurant look eye catching and as glamourous as possible. Since Liberace was an accomplished pianist, it wouldn’t be Liberace without including a huge grand piano as the centerpiece of the restaurant itself.
What was on the menu here at Tivoli Gardens? Well, if you guessed Italian, you are absolutely right. One of the most popular dishes that were served at the Tivoli Gardens was the Seafood Diablo. Another was stuffed mushrooms. Not only was most of the food Italian, but there were others that had a lot of European flair added to them. Whether it was for lunch, dinner, or dessert many diners were leaving there happy, entertained, and stuffed to not eat another bite.
Sightings of Liberace
Patrons and workers of the museum may have seen Liberace’s ghost somewhere in the parking lot (or at least a shadowy figure of someone who might be a spitting image of him). One account was from an employee who was doing some cleaning in and around the restaurant. At one point, he noticed a reflection of a cape coming from the piano. The problem was that no one or nothing was in the immediate area resembling the cape that he saw in the reflection.
Other than reflections, noises like silverware and glasses clanking on some not so busy days and nights can be heard. But it would appear that Liberace himself still oversees the operations of the restaurant long after his death. However, Liberace might still not take criticism lightly even after death. Don’t believe it? Here is a story about what happened right in front of a patron who might have had a few choice words about Liberace.
Liberace And The Mystery Of The Fallen Tree
One night, a patron apparently had some choice words about Liberace (specifically regarding his flamboyant lifestyle and way of life). It was then when a large tree mysteriously fell near the person near the parking area. The tree was so large that it had to take a five-man crew to make sure the tree was replanted and stayed rooted to the ground. Even today, it seems that Liberace might still be a fan favorite among many people. But if you say something negative about him, there’s a good chance that you might feel his wrath one way or another.
Liberace had a presence on stage that was hard to match. While his lifestyle might have been the subject of sensational rumors and conversation these days, he continues to live on forever by way of his fans and the items on display at this museum in Las Vegas. Even in Sin City, you may even get to visit Liberace himself on the grounds of his old home or even the place where his beloved restaurant stood. Don’t be surprised if he is a bit more unusual than some of the other spirits. But if you talk bad about him, you might get an unexpected surprise that might happen out of nowhere.