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.

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.

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

Great News About Now You See Me 2
You didn't think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, and Woody Harrelson, are back, alo

posted 8:00:59am Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

In the Footsteps of St. Peter
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4c7qh9hMVY[/youtube] David Suchet (PBS' Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.

posted 3:55:57pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wrong About Critics, Wrong About Movies, Wrong About Faith
I am not going to give the people behind the idiotic and offensive press release I recently received the recognition of identifying them by name, but the claim that they make is one I have heard often enough I need to respond. The headline: Film Critics Don't Get Faith Films. This shows no understan

posted 2:36:30pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Disney Announced a New Animated Film for 2016: Moana
Entertainment Weekly reports that Disney has announced a new animated feature to be released in 2016: "Moana," with a Polynesian heroine in search of a fabled island. With Disney greats Ron Clements

posted 1:59:28pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Manners at the Movie Theater
Here's a cute reminder on movie theater manners. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Dz5Qwd93VpE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:38am Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.