One of Sherman Oaks' classic mid-century homes with a celebrity pedigree is the Liberace home on Valley Vista Boulevard, which still looks very much the same today as it did in 1953 when Liberace moved in there with his mother, Frances.
Liberace was the world's highest paid entertainer when this house was built, and yet it was not locked behind gates, as many celebrity homes were. A classic L-shaped, one-story home with four bedrooms and four bathrooms, it is most famous for its piano-shaped swimming pool in the backyard.
The swimming pool even had black and white keys embossed on the concrete and a classy black trim. The whole house has a musical theme to it. The glass area above the front door was designed to resemble musical staffs that you see on sheet music. There was a music-playing fountain in front of the house with cherubs, which was removed only a few years ago by the current owner.
The iron fence on the side leading to the back door on the east side of the home has musical notes on it and is still there! The house was the home of Liberace from 1953 until about 1957, when he migrated to Palm Springs. Liberace continued to visit the home that he owned throughout the 1960s, as his mother and brother George lived there.
in July 1957, Liberace's mother was attacked in the garage by two men in black hoods. At the time, Liberace was embroiled in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Confidential magazine, which had run an article alleging his homosexuality. It was widely believed that the attack on Frances was a result of Liberace having testified in the trial that very day. (Liberace was not home at the time of the attack. He was performing at the Moulin Rouge.)
Because Liberace was such a huge entertainer in the mid 1950s, the house was deemed too accessible by fans, who would often scale the fence to meet their idol or to catch a glimpse of the famed swimming pool. (It should be noted Frank Sinatra also had a piano-shaped swimming pool at his first Palm Springs estate, which was built in 1947 and is still there, gloriously restored.)
The Liberace home, at 15405 Valley Vista Blvd., was sold around 1967. I knew a family who lived there in the mid 1970s, and I got to see the famous pool myself for the first time then. It really is one cool pool!