The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas is a rhinestone-encrusted shrine to the beloved pianist, who died of AIDS at 67 in 1987. The gift shop stocks a few copies of Ray Mungo’s out-of-print Lives of Notable Gay Men and Lesbians with a cover photo of Liberace, who took his open secret to the grave. But nowhere else in this archive -- which draws more than 100,000 visitors a year -- will one find any hint that “Mr. Showmanship” was a gay HIVer.
“We don’t promote his homosexuality, but we don’t hide it,” says Jamie James, Liberace’s (openly gay) publicist since 1967. “If asked, we always say ”Yes, he was gay, and he did die of complications from HIV." The museums collections manager, Brian Alvarez, told Reuters that he would welcome an AIDS Exhibit but that board members who had been personal friends of the singer would object. Call the museum at 702.798.5595 to vote for a final facelift.