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Famed classical pianist Van Cliburn dies at 78; Times reports he lived 'a discreet homosexual life'

Famed American classical pianist Van Cliburn died Wednesday at age 78, at the home he shared with Thomas L. Smith, according to The New York Times.

From The Times obit:

As a young man, Mr. Cliburn was briefly linked romantically with a soprano classmate from Juilliard. But even then he was living a discreet homosexual life. His discreetness was relaxed considerably in 1966 when, at 32, he met Thomas E. Zaremba, who was 19.

The Times then reports how in 1995 Zaremba sued Cliburn for millions of dollars in palimony. The suit was dismissed because the former couple had nothing in writing to support their domestic partnership, according to
The Times.

The Associated Press obituary doesn't mention Cliburn's sexual orientation or his partners:


FORT WORTH, Texas -- Van Cliburn, the internationally celebrated pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock-star status, died Wednesday after a fight with bone cancer. He was 78.

Cliburn died at his home in Fort Worth surrounded by loved ones, said his publicist and longtime friend Mary Lou Falcone.

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