In some ways, they could hardly have seemed more different: the hip-swiveling rocker who terrified teenagers’ parents and the flamboyant pop classical pianist who won over everybody’s grandmother. But Elvis Presley and Liberace had a lot more in common than you might think.
“The connection between them is something very few people know about and fans would be surprised to learn,” Richard Zoglin, author of the new book Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show, exclusively tells Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue. When Elvis first played Vegas in 1956, audiences didn’t know what to make of the snarling kid from Tupelo, Mississippi, so manager Col. Tom Parker arranged a meeting with the candelabra-loving showman.
“Liberace was very supportive of Elvis, who learned something from him,” says Richard. “Liberace had this over-the-top showmanship Elvis responded to. He started wearing gaudy gold suits the way Liberace did. Liberace said, ‘You need more glitz in your act,’ and that led to what Elvis became.”
There may have been an even deeper bond between the two. “Elvis had a twin brother who died at birth, and it’s very odd that Liberace had a twin who died at birth, too,” Richard reveals. “There was a bit of a mystical connection between them.” The musical superstars “were both driven, original performers and were friendly all through Elvis’ life,” the author adds.
“Elvis’ friends told me they liked each other. Elvis would send Liberace a bouquet of flowers when he opened in Vegas,” Richard adds. No doubt Liberace never marked it “Return to Sender.” Richard’s book will be published on July 23.
This isn’t the first time that nothing but kind words have been said about the incredible musician — his close friends recall him being a very humble and generous figure. “He treated us like family. He shared his home with us because he didn’t want my mom to be away from her kids,” Zola Luckie, the daughter of Liberace’s longtime personal chef and house manager Gladys Luckie, once exclusively told Closer Weekly. “He was rich but you wouldn’t know it. He’d always say thank you, and he was real humble. Around the house, he’d just have on shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt.” What a guy!
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