Liberace — Behind The Candelabra

Steven Soder­bergh is in the midst of his final jaunt behind the cam­era, in pro­duc­tion on the Lib­er­ace biopic “Behind The Can­de­labra”, with Michael Dou­glas as the famed per­former and Matt Damon as his young lover. Lib­er­ace was famed for being the world’s highest-paid enter­tainer at one point, and enjoyed his for­tune with an extrav­a­gant lifestyle. Soder­bergh revealed that while plans are still com­ing together for the movie, which is set up at HBO, he hopes to take it to Cannes on May 2013.

The movie is based on the book “Behind the Can­de­labra: My Life With Lib­er­ace” writ­ten by Liberace’s lover Scott Thor­son who met him when when he was sev­en­teen in 1976. Lib­er­ace had promised Thor­son, who was raised in fos­ter homes, that he would adopt and care for him and even­tu­ally the per­former incor­po­rated his lover into his lav­ish Las Vegas stage performances.

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Liberace’s story is tragic and his rela­tion­ship with Scott Thor­son was not less extrav­a­gant than some of his out­fits. Lib­er­ace always pub­licly denied that he was homo­sex­ual and insisted that Thor­son was never his lover. He went to great lengths until his dead from AIDS to cover his sex­u­al­ity. To get an idea of how eccen­tric their life was, read the fol­low­ing excerpt from an inter­view with Scott Thor­sonon on Larry King Live that aired on August 12, 2002:

Thor­son: Well, he brought the sur­geons in. I picked him up in my Rolls-Royce. I drove. They were in Las Vegas. I picked him up and brought him to a Las Vegas man­sion on Shirley Street. And Lee was intro­duced to the doc­tor and he says, “I want you to come with me.” And Lee walked him through — went into the — you know, into the bed­room and said — there was a pic­ture of Lib­er­ace. Oh, I guess he was prob­a­bly in his 30s, Larry. He says, “I want you to cre­ate Scott to look like me when he was younger; so he looks like my son.” He wanted me as his son. But at the same time, he wanted me as his lover.

The romance ended due to the pianist’s sex­ual promis­cu­ity and Thorson’s drug addic­tion, which led him to con­tract Hepati­tis C. In 1982, Thor­son filed a $113 mil­lion law­suit against Lib­er­ace, with the pal­imony suit being the more famous part. But in 1986, the pair report­edly set­tled out of court for $95,000, two cars, and two pet dogs.

Scott rec­on­ciled with Lib­er­ace on his death bed, and a year later pub­lished the book Behind the Can­de­labra: My Life With Lib­er­ace on which the film is based.

Watch below a short clip of Liberace’s Entrance to a las vegas show, fea­tur­ing all the glam­our and glit­ter only Lee Him­self could pull off.… Frea­tur­ing Scott Thor­son as the lim­ou­sine Driver.