New movie sparks Liberace mania at Time Warner Center

Posted at 8:10 PM, May 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-24 20:23:56-04

Upper West Side, MANHATTAN (PIX11) — Liberace, the late showman known for his flamboyant wardrobe and lavish lifestyle, has come back to life in a really big way.

In an effort to promote the premiere Sunday night of the HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra,”  the Liberace Foundation in Las Vegas loaned the Time Warner Center in Manhattan some of the entertainer’s glitzy possessions for shoppers to look at.

The exhibit includes his famous crystallized Baldwin grand piano,  his sparkling rhinestone roadster, flashy rings and some of his outrageous costumes, one of them worn at his final performances at Radio City Music Hall in 1986.

Liberace fan Irene Rivera loved his red, so-called lasagna suit.

“How original can you get,” Rivera remarked.  “He wore that when he ate lasagna so he wouldn’t see the stains.”

Steven Soderbergh’s HBO biopic casts Michael Douglas as the campy icon and Matt Damon as his much younger lover Scott Thorson.  Thorson, now in jail for credit card fraud, sued Liberace for palimony after their five-year tumultuous relationship ended. Liberace — who liked to be called Lee —  kept the love affair secret, afraid his homosexuality would scare away his middle American audiences.

Liberace died of an AIDS-related illness in 1987.

MUST WATCH: Rare Liberace interview as the man ‘Behind the Candelabra’ talks about his love of New York on WPIX