Lights, Camera, Liberace!

Liberace Movie Gets Rolling in Palm Springs

Tamara Damante, KESQ News Channel 3 News Reporter, tdamante@kesq.com
POSTED: 05:43 PM PDT Aug 20, 2012 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

The streets of Palm Springs are reflecting the life and times of Liberace, as filming of the new HBO movie, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon gets underway, at various locations around our town.
"Behind the Candelabra" is shooting in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood on Monday, going back in time 25 years, to when the legendary singer and pianist called Palm Springs home and the city couldn't be happier. City Council Member, Paul Lewin says, "While we're proud to be Hollywood's playground, we really want to be its stage, because that's where the jobs are and that's where the money is."
Six months ago, the city passed an initiative to make Palm Springs a film friendly city and waived all film permit fees. Now, places like Temple Isaiah are full of star wagons and trucks from the studios, hauling everything needed to create Hollywood magic, including an elaborate Rolls Royce and vintage news vans. 1980's prop cars are lining the streets of palm springs and an old coroner's van is in a parking lot across the street from Liberace's original house. The home will not be used in the film. It was recently purchased and is being remodeled as a bed and breakfast. A vacation rental down the block is being made over as Casa de Liberace, with harps and L's adorning the gates. Crews are busy around Our Lady of Solitude Catholic Church for Tuesday's funeral scene. Lewin says, " I believe several-hundred people are going to be extras in this and they used the convention center for auditions and I understand some people are even playing tv reporters."
Brad Dyson of San Diego says there's one way to get ready to play an on-air reporter, in the 1980's. Dyson says, "Lots of blow drying the hair!"
Extras being shuttled from the Desert Fashion Plaza parking garage, to their film locations, couldn't be more excited about bringing the HBO production home. Dyson says, "Everybody that will be a part of this, will bring a local flavor to it."
Extra, Dolores Vinci says, "Liberace means Palm Springs to so many people and they know he lived here and loved being here in the sun and fun."
Jeanette Kaplan of Rancho Mirage was Liberace's dry cleaner back in the day and remembers him fondly. She says, "He was a very sweet, kind human being and he asked to be remembered as a wonderful performer and he was."
Now, Hollywood and the |Coachella Valley are coming together, to make that wish come true and make sure that the candelabra continues to shine.