61°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Liberace Mansion opens doors to fans

“Aah!” “This is gorgeous!” “I can’t believe I’m actually here!”

These were the expressions of Liberace Facebook fan club members passing by the grandiose curved staircase of the Liberace Mansion last week. The nearly 30 visitors who traveled from far and near share a deep appreciation for iconic piano virtuoso Liberace and were excited to tour the first floor of his part-time, 14,393-square-foot residence at 4982 Shirley St.

Wladziu Valentino Liberace (1919-1987) created this home south of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in the mid-1970s by connecting two smaller homes into the biggest one on the block and designing an interior reflective of his glitzy, opulent persona.

For most fan club members, it was their first time walking into their beloved entertainer’s former home. Most had only seen photographs and news reports of its glory days of glitz and glamour when Liberace was alive, its deterioration when it went into foreclosure in 2013, and then its extensive renovation and restoration by current owner Martyn Ravenhill.

Ravenhill greeted the busload of fans one-by-one with his English accent. Many knew Ravenhill’s story. He is the U.K. businessman and Liberace fan who bought the mansion for $500,000 in summer 2013 after seeing the dilapidated home on YouTube. He invested well over three times that amount in making the home structurally sound, filling in sinkholes and restoring and renovating its unique interior and exterior.

In March 2016, the Liberace Mansion received the first Clark County Historical Designation by the Clark County commissioners. The historical designation brings accessory uses to the single-family residence like private fan club tours, charity fundraisers and private events.

The fan gathering was not happenstance.

“We started planning this a year ago, and it’s been years since we have all gotten together,” said Gerald White from North Carolina, who organized the three-day get-together with Hilde Lindstrom from Pennsylvania and Karen Libby of Las Vegas.

“This is a perfect way to pay tribute to Liberace, his music and his legacy. We hope that Liberace’s legacy will continue to live with the mansion. He was a strong pillar in the entertainment industry of Las Vegas. … We are here to celebrate the showmanship and his music,” White said. “This is also a way to pay respect to one of our friends, Pauline Lachance (an archivist with the closed Liberace Museum), who passed away and would have loved to have been here.”

Some in attendance had known Liberace, like Lindstrom. Lindstrom first saw Liberace perform when she was 11 years old and met him after “chasing him down at a parade for an autograph” when she was 15 years old. They later became friends.

Cameras were aimed in all directions when Ravenhill directed attention to Ryan How, a Liberace fan from the U.K. who helped lead the tour. How led the group from the front living room surrounded by decoratively etched mirrors in the style of Aubrey Beardsley and sparkling chandeliers, past a decorative mirrored bar with etchings of Liberace’s name and music notes, and to a formal dining room.

They then walked past pillars imported from Greece, down a white marble floor and mirrored hallway lit by ornamental sconces, and into master suite wing, under which were the sinkholes Ravenhill inherited with the home purchase.

An intricate ceiling mural painted by a descendant of Michelangelo depicting the Sistine Chapel is featured in the master bedroom with a mirrored fireplace and bar.

The adjacent master bath features a ceiling mural of Liberace’s face and cherubs surrounded by clouds and a marble tub with 14-carat gold swan fixtures and a decorative fountain.

The group then headed to a large meeting room that an owner who bought the home after Liberace’s death had built on top of what was once a swimming pool. The home had exchanged hands a few times before Ravenhill’s purchase and had been used for events including high school proms.

Standing out in the crowd taking photos was Michael Orsini from Orlando, Florida, who was wearing something that Liberace might have liked — a sequined green, gold and black jacket. As perhaps the youngest in the group, Orsini said that he became a Liberace fan through videos.

“There’s just something about Liberace that I like. He’s classy, and he’s talented. He brings a certain entertainment factor and style. We need to carry on his legacy as a great entertainer.”

The group settled back to the living room to enjoy conversation, champagne and water and piano music performed by Gary Sanders. Fuchsia-and-black sequined jacket pianist Bryant Olender from Vancouver then took over the grand piano to play Liberace’s famed arrangement of “Chop Sticks” and a fancy version of “Beer Barrel Polka.”

After the performances, Ravenhill answered questions about the mansion’s past, present and future. He described the restoration process as a “magic carpet ride” filled with “so many highs and not so many lows.” A journey well worth it. A journey that is continuing.

“At the moment we are restoring the Moroccan Room and repairing the tile walls,” Ravenhill said of the second-floor atrium nicknamed for its copper tiles imported from Africa. This room is where Liberace reportedly entertained celebrities after performing on the Strip.

Some memorabilia featured in the home were donated by Liberace fans — pianos, jewelry, ashtrays, furniture and even a television. Items have been acquired through auctions.

According to Ravenhill, Friends for Liberace Mansion has gained nonprofit status.

Soon after, the group headed back to the bus with other “Liberace things” on their agenda. These included a meal at the Peppermill Restaurant where Liberace used to eat after shows on the Strip and a visit to the Liberace Garage, a museum that houses vehicles driven by Liberace, plus a gift shop at 5115 Dean Martin Drive.

Also, fan club members attended a private dinner at Thriller Villa: Michael Jackson’s former rental home, where they saw some items from the closed Liberace Museum and on private display by the Liberace Foundation in its basement.

Thriller Villa is not open to the public. But the 16,122-square-foot residence at 2710 Palomino Lane is for sale for $9.5 million and listed by Kristen Routh Silberman of Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty.

The Liberace Mansion is a private residence, and private tours like that of the fan club are by arrangement only.

“I was excited when I saw this fabulous piece of Las Vegas history was for sale. I hope to share Liberace’s legacy with others,” Ravenhill said.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Real Estate Millions Videos
Real Estate Million: 27 Shadow Canyon Court - VIDEO
27 Shadow Canyon is a $5.5 million dollar home is 9,825 square-feet with six bedrooms and 7 baths. Shadow Canyon is equipped with an assortment of Tesla Amenities including power walls, solar panels, and an electric car.
Real Estate Millions: 2019 New American Remodel
Real Estate Millions: Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort - VIDEO
Various RV owners living in the community of the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resorts gives the crew a tour of their motor homes.
Real Estate Millions: Brett Raymer's Tanked Home - VIDEO
Brett Raymer from the TV show "Tanked" gives us a look into his 4 story home on the edge of Lone mountain. What would a tanked home be without a 700-gallon custom aquarium in the kitchen and a 6,000-gallon Koi pond in its resort-style backyard.
Real Estate Millions: 460 Probst Way
460 Probst Way is listed for $4.5 million and has 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, 4 car garage and is 6,738 square feet. The home is in a gated compound with an outdoor pool, deck, and kitchen with near 360 degree of the las vegas valley. The house will be auctioned on April 26-29th.
Real Estate Millions: Home + History Tour - VIDEO
A 1963 Paradise Palms home. Originally called the Monterey, the open floor plan features a living, dining and kitchen area in main living area, original hardwood flooring, original central vac system, both master bathrooms have original starburst tile and vanities, fully renovated kitchen with quartz counters and new appliances, waterfall edge island with counter seating, ‘Cosmos,’ a Soviet-inspired lounge with fog machine, laser lights, sound system and full bar, fresh paint, retro furnishings, new carpet, pool, pool deck with seating and covered bar, lifetime block and steel construction.
Real Estate Millions: Jim Rhodes Home Most Expensive In Las Vegas - VIDEO
Jim Rhodes has created the most expensive home on the market in Las Vegas. The home is listed at $29,995,000, 9,798 sq. ft., 8 Bedrooms, 8 Full Baths, 2 Half Baths and has 360-degree views of the Las Vegas Strip.
Pawn Stars Rick Harrison Real Estate Millions - VIDEO
Reality TV star Rick Harrison from Pawn Stars shows his eccentric home off in the Red Rock Country Club. The house is 8,845 square feet. It has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three additional rooms. It is listed at $3,999,999.
Real Estate Millions: Boulder City Home (613 Lido Dr) - VIDEO
Sitting on top of a mountain overlooking the Lake Mead recreation area, Scott Baranoff gives a tour of his 4,655 square feet Frank Lloyd-Wright inspired home in Boulder City.
Real Estate Millions: Hard Luck Mine Castle
Real Estate Millions: Flip or Flop Vegas
Real Estate Millions: Myron Martin
Real Estate Millions: $15M Palms Place Penthouse
Phil Maloof’s Palms Place Penthouse, which takes up the entire 59th-floor, is for sale for $15 million. (Samia DeCubas/Real Estate Millions)
Real Estate Millions: The New American Home 2019
Real Estate Millions: The highest-priced condos sold in Las Vegas in 2018
Real Estate Millions: One Queensridge Place
Real Estate Millions: 1210 Macdonald Ranch
Real Estate Millions: Jonathan Marchessault
Vegas Golden Knight Jonathan Marchessault, shows off his Summerlin home.
Real Estate Millions: Say Yes To The Nest
Camila and Brent Lincowski have planted roots in the Las Vegas area with a $1.5 million home in Henderson.
Real Estate Millions: KB Smart Home
KB Homes and Google have teamed up to create a smart home.
Marc-Andre Fleury selling Las Vegas home for $2.5M - VIDEO
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has put his custom Southern Highlands home on the market for $2.5 million. The single-story home, built on a .63-acre lot in 2015, measures 5,285 square feet and has a 717-square-foot casita and three-car garage. It has five bedrooms and six baths. Fleury bought the home from former NHL player and fellow Canadian Sheldon Souray, according to public records. When he signed his three-year, $25M contract extension over the summer, Fleury told the media he and his family love Las Vegas and cited its great schools and neighborhoods with a lot of things for kids to do. Fleury said he and his family love their home in Southern Highlands, but wanted to be “closer to the Summerlin area." Home photos courtesy of Ivan Sher Group
Marc-Andre Fleury selling Las Vegas home for $2.5M - VIDEO
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has put his custom Southern Highlands home on the market for $2.5 million. The single-story home, built on a .63-acre lot in 2015, measures 5,285 square feet and has a 717-square-foot casita and three-car garage. It has five bedrooms and six baths. Fleury bought the home from former NHL player and fellow Canadian Sheldon Souray, according to public records. When he signed his three-year, $25M contract extension over the summer, Fleury told the media he and his family love Las Vegas and cited its great schools and neighborhoods with a lot of things for kids to do. Fleury said he and his family love their home in Southern Highlands, but wanted to be “closer to the Summerlin area." Home photos courtesy of Ivan Sher Group
Real Estate Millions: Waldorf Astoria penthouses
Real Estate Millions: Cold Creek Log House
Real Estate Millions: Brett Torino Christmas
Real Estate Millions: Pia Zadora
Real Estate Millions: Lake Las Vegas
Real Estate Millions: 27 Burning Tree Court in Spanish Trail
LEED home
Real Estate Millions: Top 10 Most Expensive Homes Sold In 2018
Real Estate Millions: Operation Halloween
Realtor and owner of Operation Halloween, Nicole Tomlinson, shares high-end luxury 'tricks of the trade' for Halloween decorating.
Real Estate Millions: Ascaya Pool Home
$15.5M Ascaya home has 5,900-square-foot pool.
Home builder Toll Brothers has plans in Summerlin
Toll Brothers purchased of 128 acres of property near Mesa Park Drive and Town Center Drive will be used for a housing development. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
 
The Tesla comes with the house

GLH is collaborating with Tesla Inc. and other new technology vendors to create “superluxury homes of the future.” The company’s goalis to showcase intelligent, elegant, automated and eco-friendly homes within an integrated smart community that includes transportationas part of the residents’ lifestyle amenities.

 
New American Remodel built for energy efficiency — VIDEO

In seeking a Las Vegas home to turn into a state-of-the-art, high-end luxury remodel, architect Michael Gardner chose what he referred to as a “poorly built” 1950s single-story downtown ranch home on a property with well and water rights in an agriculturally designated area.

 
Las Vegas motorcoach resort offers luxury amenities

The Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort has elevated the RV lifestyle to a fine art, with amenities like a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, a 24-hour guard gate and concierge services.

 
‘Tanked’ star Brett Raymer lists home for $3.2M

You haven’t seen or heard the last of Brett Raymer. The quick-talking and energetic former co-star of the Animal Planet reality television show “Tanked” can only been seen on reruns for now. The show recently announced its cancellation after 15 seasons and more than 150 episodes.

Luxury master-planned communities continue to thrive

The Las Vegas luxury real estate market had its strongest year since the Great Recession and shows no signs of slowing in 2019.

 
Hilltop resort has room for limo: Auction is this weekend

Sunsets are spectacular from inside the 7,400 square feet of glam and palatial splendor known as Sapphire Oasis at the eastern edge of the valley.

Home + History Tour set for April 26-28

Many of these historic homes and neighborhoods are on display during the fifth annual Nevada Preservation Foundation’s Home + History event April 26-28.

 
Gearing up for midcentury modern week

Retro to the last detail, David Ibarra and his husband, Jeff Andrews’s, 1963 rancher has a cool, hip, space-age vibe.