I rarely dine out these days and especially after the past two years of health scares. Then by chance I was invited out two lunchtimes in a row last week and if someone else is paying who am I to deprive them of my company?

I went with two old friends for the first time since the 1960s down memory lane by visiting Wimpy cafe in Borehamwood high street, which seems to have become the eating capital of Hertfordshire. It was a lovely experience and rare these days as apparently there are only 66 remaining Wimpy cafes left in the UK. The brand came over from America in the 1950s and it was our first taste of hamburgers back in the day.

My other nostalgic visit was to The Three Horseshoes, which has just reopened as both a bar but with a great restaurant. It is located in the sleepy village of Letchmore Heath, which gained movie immortality as the location of the 1960 cult classic Village Of The Damned, starring George Sanders and Barbara Shelley.

Read more: The village that hasn't changed a bit since it was Village of the Damned

Well enough of my culinary outings and this week I focus on that famous showman Liberace, who was a massive success during the 1950s through to the 1980s.

This may come as a big surprise but he was actually gay, not that you might have surmised that from his flamboyant costumes and act. Now very sadly being a big showbiz star and being gay was not a recipe for success back in those years. I suspect famous football players have sadly the same problem even today.

Back in the 1950s a famous newspaper columnist for a bestselling UK newspaper 'outed' Liberace, but knowing it could ruin his career he took the paper to court for libel. Amazingly, he won the case and was awarded damages but in the process had committed perjury, which is a serious offence. He risked coming to Borehamwood in 1969 to star in nine episodes of The Liberace Show for ATV which is now the BBC Elstree Centre with guest stars such as Jack Benny, Terry Thomas, Dusty Springfield and Cliff Richard. He returned to the same studio a decade later for a couple of days to guest star in The Muppet Show.

Surprisingly, no legal action was taken against him and the media was nowhere near as cutthroat as it is today. Liberace continued to enjoy a great career and had a large female fan base. He was taken ill in the 1980s and rumours abounded about the cause of his death. To protect his legacy it was said he had died from a heart attack but the local health authority declined to accept the death certificate and intercepted his body on the way for burial and an autopsy proved he had died from Aids complications. It is equally sad that such an illness was then considered a stigma even after death.

I think Liberace was a great piano player and certainly a first-class showman but I doubt the media would have been so kind to him today in their search for the truth about celebrities. Personally it can be a two-edged sword so if you seek fame remember always be careful of what you wish for. Meanwhile I need to burn off my Wimpy calories but then again tomorrow is another day.

Paul Welsh MBE is a Borehamwood writer and historian of Elstree Studios