Not every garage has a chandelier the size of a Honda hanging from the ceiling but, of course, not every garage is the Liberace Garage.
Liberace’s 1961 Rolls Royce Sedanca Deville Limousine sits in the center of the room, the thousands of tiny mirrors covering its exterior glittering. Flanking it are his sparkling crystal-encrusted roadster and his gold-sequined Bradley GT, along with glass cases containing several stage costumes. “The cars were just an extension of the costumes, really,” says Jonathan Warren, chairman of the Liberace Foundation for the Creative and Performing Arts.
The Liberace Garage is set to open April 7, in a space attached to Hollywood Cars Museum (5115 Dean Martin Dr., Liberace.org). The museum’s owner, real estate tycoon Michael Dezer, donated use of the space to the Liberace Foundation, where Mr. Showmanship’s fantastic cars will reside near the equally astonishing vehicles of Batman and James Bond. “That’s going to be kind of our grand finale when people go through,” says Steve Levesque, director of Hollywood Cars Museum. “The chandeliers, the whole ambiance—it’ll be pretty mind-blowing.”
Unlike many organizations, the Liberace Foundation isn’t seeking a single home for its (growing) collection. “It’d be way too much. Crated up and boxed up, it’s about 15,000 cubic feet—it rivals a major wing in the Smithsonian,” says Warren, noting that they’ve got 18 pianos and dozens of chandeliers, among thousands of other artifacts. “We’re looking for more places—not one place, but lots of places.”
Those places won’t just be museums, either. “The other key element is we welcome the commercial interaction. We expect to license in the near future several different businesses that are Liberace brand,” he continues, “One in particular is a restaurant chain that we will put Liberace artifacts in a la the Hard Rock or Planet Hollywood.”
On the wall, a larger-than-life, full-color promo portrait of Liberace beams down at all of his shiny toys. “It’s hard to find a photo where he is not smiling, even in candid shots,” Warren says. “We think he would like it. These cars were created to be on display.”