Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Behind the Candelabra: The Real Story of Liberace and Scott Thorson

posted by Nell Minow

Behind the Candelabra premieres this weekend on HBO.  It is based on the hard to believe but true story of one of the most popular and flamboyant stars of the 1950’s and 60’s, who went by just one name: Liberace.

YouTube Preview Image

Wladziu Valentino Liberace was an American of Polish/Italian heritage, a gifted classical pianist, a masterful showman, and a pioneer in the art of celebrity branding and marketing.  He was multi-platform before the term was invented For decades he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world.  He had record albums, endorsements, and movie and television appearances and his own series, but it was his live stage show that was what people loved most.  He never tried for a career as a serious classical musician, performing with orchestras in concert halls.  He liked to play what he called “classical music with the boring parts left out.”  And the show was as important as the music, from the flashy pianos to costumes Lady Gaga would envy.  Ermine capes.  Crystal-encrusted tuxes.  Feather boas.  Chandeliers and of course candelabras.  Excess was not enough.

Advertisement

YouTube Preview Image

It was a different era.  Liberace was not openly gay.  On the contrary, when a British newspaper called him “a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love,” he sued under their notoriously strict libel laws. testified under oath that he was not a homosexual, and won.

liberace THORSENIn the late 70’s, Liberace met a handsome teenager named Scott Thorson.  They were together for five years, and after they broke up (and Thorson was “fired” as Liberace’s chauffeur), Thorson sued him for “palimony.”  It was settled out of court.  Thorson is now in jail, charged with identity theft.  He has had removed the plastic surgery prosthetic Liberace paid for so that Thorson would look more like an idealized version of himself when young.  Thorson’s book, Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace, tells the story of their love affair and the unimaginable excesses of their life together and is the inspiration for this film.  It is in competition at Cannes and will be released theatrically overseas, but in the US no studio would back it, so it is on HBO.

Advertisement

Steven Soderbergh (“Oceans 11,” “Traffic,” “Erin Brockovich”) directed and it stars Michael Douglas as Liberace, Matt Damon as Thorson, and Debbie Reynolds, who knew Liberace, as his mother.

YouTube Preview Image

  • Liane Layman

    Its sad that Scott is back in jail and can’t get his life together. People like Oprah and Tyler Perry also had bad childhoods and made something good out of their lives, it’s too bad Scott can’t, even though not everybody can be like Oprah or Tyler.

    • Nell Minow

      It is sad, Liane. Not everyone has the talent and fortitude of Oprah and Tyler Perry. Thanks for your comment.

Previous Posts

Interview: "Mike and Molly's" Billy Gardell on "Dancer and the Dame"
Billy Gardell, star of television's Mike & Molly, talked to me about his new film, Dancer & The Dame. He plays Rick Dancer. "He was once like a ...

posted 3:31:07pm May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: The Search for Freedom
[iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/121174641" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"] This new documentary tells the stories of the athletes who seek the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes us feel the ...

posted 12:19:02pm May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Win a Daniel Tiger Book and DVD!
Daniel Tiger loves being outside and spending time with his family and friends. In these eight stories, he learns about swimming ...

posted 8:00:48am May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Behind the Scenes: Jurassic World
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EEmOyR33-Uk" frameborder="0"] Here's a great sneak peek inside "Jurassic World," coming to theaters on June 12, 2015. ...

posted 4:10:08pm May. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Tribute: Anne Meara
Today we mourn the loss of actress/comedian Anne Meara, wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of actor/director Ben Stiller. Stiller and Meara were a comedy team who appeared frequently on the Ed Sullivan show. Their humor often focused on their ...

posted 1:25:55pm May. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.