on this day

October 16, 1983 – George Liberace died of leukemia at a hospital in Las Vegas

OCTOBER 16, 1983 – Violinist/conductor GEORGE LIBERACE (b. July 31, 1911 in Fox Crossing, Wisconsin as Wladziu Valentino Liberace) died of leukemia at a hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada at age 72, and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. He was survived by his wife, Eudora “Dora” Albrecht; a brother “Lee”; and a sister, Angelina Farrell of Davis, California.George was the elder brother and business partner of famed US entertainer Liberace (Władziu Valentino Liberace or “Lee” to his friends), both born to Frances Liberace and Salvatore Liberace. He was musically gifted, as were his parents and siblings, and learned the violin. He attended local schools and resided with his parents and siblings until his first marriage.George married five times. In 1934, George married a woman named Babe, a singer he’d met at Sam Pick’s Club Madrid, where he and his brother Walter worked as musicians.

George and Babe most likely divorced sometime before 1937, when he was back living with his parents. His second wife was named Lella. She was enumerated with him in the 1940 US Census, living in New York, aged 39 and born in Texas.George became the conductor of several Las Vegas hotel bands, including those at the Riviera Hotel and the Sans Souci Hotel, and he conducted for his brother’s musical variety program on television, appearing regularly on the syndicated show in the 1950s as violin accompanist and orchestral arranger. On occasions when he did not appear, Liberace would often say his catchphrase “I wish my brother George was here.” He later performed regularly with his brother when Liberace became a star on the Las Vegas Strip.Liberace played with several orchestras, conducted for his brother, then moved to Sacramento, California, in the 1960’s and toured the country with his own band.

October 16, 1983 –  George Liberace died of leukemia at a hospital in Las Vegas

His third wife was Catherine Jayne Shields, whom he married March 2, 1952 in Los Angeles. She died May 15, 1960. She and George were planning a divorce, but before the divorce was final, Jayne perished in a plane crash on May 15, 1960. His fourth wife was Joan Centers, whom he married August 22, 1960 in Los Angeles. They divorced October 1, 1964.In the late 1960’s, he headed up two short-lived fast food franchises, “Mr. Turkey,” specializing in turkey take-out dinners, and “Mr. Ed” restaurants. In the 1960s and 1970s, his name was licensed to George Liberace Songsmiths, Inc., a mail-order music publishing operation of somewhat dubious integrity. He was rather more successful as a music publisher, establishing the “Music by George” publishing house. His fifth wife was Eudora Vivian Markle, whom he married December 22, 1967 in Carson City, Nevada. Dora managed the Liberace Museum from its opening until 1990 and later became the spokesperson for the Liberace Foundation.

He retired from conducting in the late 1970’s and moved to Las Vegas to devote full time to the Liberace Museum. He took pride in showing visitors around the museum that includes everything from cars to pianos and flashy clothing worn by his famous brother.George visited Milwaukee in August 1981 to present a $10,000 scholarship to Marquette University for students studying the performing arts. It was his first visit there in more than 20 years and he said he was “amazed at all the changes in town –the massive freeways.” He also visited his family homestead in West Milwaukee. He lived most of his life in Palm Springs, California, in a house owned by his brother. Dora passed away March 17, 1996 in Las Vegas.









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