Line Renaud and Liberace
The Parisian star who introduced Liberace to France also became an institution on the Las Vegas Strip
Liberace made his first trip to Europe in 1955. He was in Paris at the behest of Jack Warner, to promote his upcoming film, called "Sincerely Yours." But he was an unknown in France. So Warner asked Line Renaud to introduce Liberace to the press.
Line was a tremendous star in Paris at that time. Showgirl, actress, sex symbol, the darling of Paris, everyone was following Line Renaud. She told the press that Liberace had been the key to the her great success of the year before, at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. She said Liberace had made all the introductions and made sure it was successful, and that he was the greatest entertainer and everyone simply MUST meet him. In reality, she had never even met him, herself!
Line Renaud arrived with Jack Warner at the airport in Paris to greet Liberace, and quickly realized she was a victim of her own success. Over 100 members of the press were there, as the plane arrived. Line realized Liberace would not know who she was, and her fib to the press would be discovered. So she asked Mr. Warner to go into the plane before the star exited, and brief Liberace on what she had done. Warner disappeared into the plane. Line was unsure if he had even found Liberace, when the entertainer emerged from the plane at the top of the stairs, looked down to her, amid all the reporters and exclaimed to her, with his arms open wide, "Line, my darling! Hollywood misses you terribly!" He put on quite the show, rushing to the bottom of the stairs and greeting her as an old friend would. The press had bought it, and the photo of her straightening Liberace's bow tie was shot.
That, is how Line Renaud and Liberace met. But no one ever knew, because she never told that story, until 2017. Line Renaud moved to Las Vegas in 1963, to be a headliner in Casino de Paris, at the Dunes Hotel.
The entertainment for which Las Vegas became famous, originated in Paris. That's why our city is known for the showgirl. The showgirls themselves had even come from France. Casino de Paree, Lido de Paree, Folies Bergere, Crazy Girls, and more, all came from the original City of Light. Line Renaud was the greatest of those French names in lights.
In 1986, as the famed Casino de Paris show at the Dunes Hotel was fading, Mr. Renaud returned to produce new version, "Paris - Line," which played until 1990 to great acclaim. Casino mogul Steve Wynn imploded the Dunes in 1993, to build the Bellagio Hotel in its place. In 1999, Line Renaud returned to Las Vegas, to cut the opening Ribbon across the street from the Bellagio, at the Paris Hotel. She is the official representative of Paris Las Vegas to it's namesake, Paris France. In 2017 I had the pleasure to dine with her at her home, as we prepared for an exhibit the following day of Liberace's famous jewels. They became the first Las Vegas artifacts to ever go on exhibit at the Paris Museum of Modern Art. 62 years after she first welcomed him to her city, Line Renaud herself opened that exhibit as it's honorary chairperson, welcoming Liberace back to Paris, one more time. There, she finally told this story.
In 2018, Line returned again to Las Vegas, for the unveiling of the signage of a street, named here in her honor. And, in 2019, I was with her when she initiated the newly installed light show, on the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. Line Renaud remains loyal to her old friend, and an invaluable asset to the foundation he left behind.
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