Liberace Home a Longtime Landmark
Wladziu Valentino Liberace, known to the world solely by his last name, lived in the Valley for only a few years in the 1950s but left behind one of the area’s best-known landmarks.
Reports about when the oft-sequined entertainer--who died in 1987 at age 67 of AIDS-related causes--actually moved to the Valley are conflicting. But in his 1986 book, “The Wonderful Private World of Liberace,” there is a picture of him and his mother breaking ground for what was to be his famous house in Sherman Oaks.
He was already a star at the time, due not only to his concerts but also to his successful syndicated television show (he’s recognized as a pioneer of syndication). But Liberace had not yet entered his outrageously flamboyant period marked by stage appearances in outlandish costumes.
The Sherman Oaks house he wrote about in his book was to be “very push-button, very modern. . . . My taste was very sleek, up to the minute and, I guess, ‘safe.’ ”
But what made the house on Valley Vista Boulevard famous was its swimming pool in the shape of a grand piano, including a depiction of keys in the decking.
When Liberace “stupidly mentioned the house,” as he later wrote, on television, he was besieged with tourists, some of whom scaled the wall to see the pool.
Liberace, who at one point was honorary mayor of Sherman Oaks, sold the house in 1958 and moved to an apartment in Hollywood. He later built several more houses in various locales.
But the Sherman Oaks house and the pool still exist and indeed have been on the market since 1995. A real estate agent who has shown the property recently said, “The most amazing thing is that every little kid who goes there dances on the keyboard.”