By Guest Blogger Real Estate Expert, Michael Sanders
Why is it that Liberace – the flamboyant pianist and showman who was the highest-paid entertainer in the world for three decades – has been inexplicably relegated to obscurity while Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and others continue to be larger than life years after their death? The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas closed in 2010, the Liberace Foundation is in bankruptcy, and his Las Vegas mansion recently sold for $500,000, a fraction of its $3.7 million purchase price at the height of the market in 2006. Liberace owned many homes, but with his connection to Las Vegas (he had regular gigs at the Riviera Hotel and Las Vegas Hilton), we had to experience the nostalgia of Liberace’s Vegas digs.
What is perhaps most striking about Liberace’s mansion is its location – an unremarkable neighborhood of modest homes, apartments and commercial uses just south of UNLV. Certainly not where you’d expect Mr. Showmanship to flaunt his extravagant lifestyle.
The house sits on two lots totaling about a half acre, owned by Liberace from 1974 until his death in 1987. It has been reported that the existing 15,000-square foot dwelling with two bedrooms and 10 baths was actually a combination of two original homes. The exterior screams 1970’s, and the property has clearly seen better days, having had at least two owners since Liberace – not including the bank who foreclosed in 2010 – purchased by a longtime Liberace fan to celebrate his 50th birthday in 2013, who reportedly plans to restore the property to its former glory.
The grandiose interior includes such features as a mirrored bar with Liberace’s signature, ancient Greek pillars and crystal chandeliers, a spiral staircase imported from France, ceiling fresco a la Sistine Chapel, and a room with piano keys on the floor. The link below shows some photos of the interior:
There is renewed interest in Liberace after recent release of the critically-acclaimed film Behind the Candelabra, and a possible reopening of a smaller version of the Liberace Museum at Neonopolis in Downtown Las Vegas sometime next year. And the Liberace Foundation that was started in 1976 continues to accept donations to support the careers of aspiring artists, something Liberace was passionate about during his lifetime. As an ex-keyboard player, I’ll admit that I have more admiration for Liberace now than I did when he was alive, but the burning question in mind has always been . . . how did he play with all those damn rings?