Public Services Planned For Liberace
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Liberace, the showman who loved audiences and glamour, will be remembered by fans and colleagues at public memorial services in Palm Springs and Las Vegas, Nev.
Denise Collier, spokeswoman for the family, said two public memorial services will be held for Liberace, including a service Friday in Palm Springs at Our Lady of Solitude Roman Catholic Church, and one Feb. 12 at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Las Vegas.
Our Lady of Solitude is across the street from Casa de Liberace, the desert home where the entertainer spent his final days with family and friends. He died Wednesday at age 67.
Meanwhile, Riverside County officials Thursday rejected Liberace’s death certificate pending an investigation into allegations he had AIDS.
State law requires county coroners to investigate deaths suspected of being caused by contagious disease, and it is county policy to investigate deaths that occur in the home or without a physician present.
″This is a case that should have been reported to the coroner’s office,″ said Coroner Raymond Carrillo. The county health department refused to accept the death certificate when officials there learned the coroner’s office had not been contacted.
Dr. Ronald Daniels said the cause of death was cardiac arrest due to congestive heart failure brought on by subacute encephalopathy, an inflammation of the brain. Spokesmen had denied a published report that he had AIDS.
Carrillo said that if there still is blood in the body, tests would look for evidence of AIDS. If the body has already been embalmed, tissues could be used for the test, he said.
″Assuming if it tests positive for the AIDS virus, it doesn’t mean he had AIDS. He could be a carrier,″ Carrillo said.
The rejection of the death certificate will delay burial, Carrillo said.
Ms. Collier said late Thursday the family originally wanted to keep the Palm Springs memorial private but ″just got so many calls from people saying ‘We want to be there, we want to be part of it’ they decided that Lee would have wanted it that way, and decided to open it up.″
Dick Fisher, a spokesman at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, said Liberace will be entombed alongside his mother and brother, but would not say when. Miss Collier refused to say whether there would be a funeral service.
Fans who stood vigil outside the home for the last few days had departed by Thursday morning, along with the dozens of reporters and photographers.
On Thursday, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce put a wreath on Liberace’s star on the ″Walk of Fame″ without a ceremony.
Liberace’s publicist, Jamie James, said the entertainer, known for his rhinestone-studded costumes and extravagant jewelry, had slipped into a coma on Tuesday.
″He had the rosary wrapped around his right hand. There was no jewelry. The rosary beads were his jewelry,″ said James.