“Anyone that dares begrudge what I have today, just better get off their duff and do something about it” says a feisty Liberace in this 1968 interview with reporter Jay Kent Hackelman. “I fell I have a perfect right to spend my money the way I damn please.” It’s from the latest installment of PBS’s increasingly wonderful video series Blank on Blank (which combines old interviews with famous people and new animations.)
He talks about his fabulous wardrobe, growing up poor, and the value of being an entertainer:
I don’t profess to be a healer, a minister, a priest. I feel as an entertainer I can do more good for the world than I would if I were a soapbox orator or a self-made politician. I was, some years ago, privileged to have an audience with Pope Pius XII and later with Cardinal Cushing, and both of these men likened my work, dealing with the public in all parts of the world, to the work that they were trying to do from the pulpit. So I feel that if entertainment is that important, the media, then it’s my duty, not only to mankind but to God, to fulfill the promise that I carry on this work. If someone, for instance, can forget their pains and their ills and their strife by watching any performer then I think this work is worthwhile, yes.
It’s the must-see video of the day.
See also this post featuring episodes with Bette Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Meryl Streep.