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Liberace Rites Today Will Be Open to Public

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United Press International

What had been planned as a private memorial Mass here for Liberace’s family and friends today will be open to the public after a crush of the flamboyant showman’s fans expressed a desire to show their last respects.

“The family has decided, after such an overwhelming response from the public, that the service will be open,” the pianist’s spokeswoman, Denise Collier, said Thursday. “In fact, members of the family are contacting the local media and telling people to come.”

The services will be held at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Solitude Catholic Church, she said, adding that the first eight rows will be reserved for family and friends.

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A second memorial service is tentatively scheduled for next Thursday at St. Ann’s Church in Las Vegas.

Liberace, 67, remembered as a child prodigy of the classical piano who became the outrageous “Mr. Showmanship” of the candelabra, jewels and furs, died at his Palm Springs home Wednesday.

Liberace was to be entombed at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Hollywood Hills, beside the bodies of his brother and former band leader, George, and their mother, Frances, mortuary spokesman Dick Fisher said. A burial date was pending.

The family asked that contributions in lieu of flowers be made to the Liberace Foundation for the Creative and Performing Arts in Las Vegas.

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