LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Extravagant concert pianist Liberace and Las Vegas share a history that goes back decades, and now a local street will bear his name.
The Clark County Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to change the name of Karen Avenue between Maryland Parkway and Joe W. Brown Drive to Liberace Avenue to honor the man who made his first appearance in Las Vegas in 1944.
By the mid-50s, he was performing weekly at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, doing public appearances and television shows. By 1972, his popularity exploded and he was getting paid $300,000 weekly, the top salary at the time, to perform at the Las Vegas Hilton.
The commission said it will do the name change in two phases. The second phase may extend Liberace Avenue from Joe W. Brown to Paradise Road.
“It’s been 35 years since Liberace passed away,” noted County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, in whose district the street is located. “This recognition is long past due. Liberace was an incredible pianist and a spectacular showman. He ruled the Las Vegas Strip for four-plus decades and at the height of his fame was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. His impact on Las Vegas and the entertainment industry generally is unquestionable and this is just one small way to acknowledge his contributions.”
Commissioners hope the name change will give the Commercial Center and The Historic Commercial Center District, which is along the street, an economic boost.