This Sunday May 26th, Steven Sorderbergh’s newest biopic “Behind the Candelabra” will premiere on HBO. The biopic chronicles the life of the famous pianist and vocalist Władziu Valentino Liberace, better known as just Liberace, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
Liberace appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 6 times between 1954 and 1970. Among his most memorable performances on the show was his first appearance on May 30th, 1954, where Liberace did a comical intro with Ed Sullivan and joked about his flashy outfit and his recent show at Madison Square Garden. He then dedicated his performance to his mom who he said was watching the show and began by playing one of her favorite compositions “Warsaw Concerto.” Later that night he performed a funny number with Patti Page, where they sang to Ed about his lack of smiling. Another remarkable performance took place on November 6th 1955, where he taught Ed how to play the piano and performed a silly duet “Cement Mixer” with Opera singer Rise Stevens.
In all of Liberace’s performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, he not only played the piano, but also sang, danced and joked during his acts. He also included his trademark candelabra placed on the edges of his piano and was accompanied by his brother George Liberace.
Liberace was given many awards during his lifetime including: Instrumentalist of the Year, Best Dressed Entertainer, Entertainer of the Year, two Emmy Awards, six gold albums, and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In The Guinness Book of World Records, he has been listed as the world’s highest paid musician and pianist. Liberace was an extremely talented musician and versatile man. His extravagant onstage and offstage style influenced music idols like Elvis Presley, Elton John and David Bowie to name a few.
Liberace’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show of December 16th 1962, where he performed “Moon River” is available for download on iTunes.