Happy 100th birthday to the late, great Liberace

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Liberace sits at a lavishly decorated gold-leaf piano in the living room of his Hollywood mansion in 1961. Keystone Features/Getty Images

May 16, 2019, marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Liberace, the onetime piano prodigy who turned classical music into showy, prime-time entertainment.

He arguably alienated serious classical music fans and critics in the process, but few entertainers put on a show for the masses like the flashy Liberace, who wore incredible costumes and flaunted his love for a life of luxury — always accented by a dazzling candelabra.

Check out the entrance, including preproduced video, to his Las Vegas show:

As one commenter notes, Liberace "makes Elton John look like John Wayne."

But he sure could play, as seen in this vintage performance with the London Philharmonic:

Pop culture in the 1950s to '70s, the height of his fame, was filled with appearances by and references to Liberace. Our favorite tribute will always be the send-up in a Bugs Bunny cartoon:

Liberace lived until 1987, when he died at 67 due to complications from AIDS.

For more about the unforgettable man who was born on this date as Wladziu Valentino Liberace in a small town west of Milwaukee, check out Mental Floss' delightful 13 Fabulous Facts about Liberace.