January 23, 1959 |
La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States
Relationship with Liberace
Thorson met Liberace in 1976, when he was 16 through his friendship with Hollywood film producer Ray Arnett. When Thorson was 16, Liberace hired him to act as his personal friend and companion, a position that allegedly included a five-year romantic relationship with lavish gifts, travel, and Liberace's promises that he would adopt and care for Thorson. Other sources, such as Thorson's own book Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, list Thorson's age at 18 when he met Liberace. Liberace also incorporated Thorson into his Las Vegas stage performances (e.g., Thorson drove Liberace's Rolls-Royce onstage, and was a dancer). According to Thorson, their committed relationship ended because of Liberace's promiscuous behavior and Thorson's drug addiction. Thorson stated that following his plastic surgery, the surgeon provided for him a cocktail of highly addictive drugs that included cocaine, quaaludes, biphetamines, and Demerol.
In 1982, Thorson filed a $113 million lawsuit against Liberace, part of which was a palimony suit. In 1986, Thorson and Liberace agreed to settle out of court for $95,000, three cars, and two pet dogs. He visited and reconciled with Liberace shortly before the entertainer's death in 1987. A year later, Thorson published a book about their relationship, Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, which was later adapted by Richard LaGravenese and Steven Soderbergh into the 2013 film Behind the Candelabra, in which Thorson was played by Matt Damon opposite Michael Douglas as Liberace.
In 1989, Thorson emerged as a pivotal witness in the prosecution of gangster Eddie Nash in the 1981 quadruple murders of the Wonderland Gang. For his testimony, he was placed in the federal witness protection program. In 1990, he was shot five times when drug dealers broke into his hotel room in Jacksonville, Florida.
In 2000, Thorson was among several people featured in the television documentary Liberace: Too Much of a Good Thing Is Wonderful. In 2002, he was interviewed by Larry King on Larry King Live. In the midst of his relationship with Liberace, Thorson confirmed he had undergone plastic surgery to look more like Liberace at the pianist's request. During the interview with King, Thorson revealed his chin implant had been removed earlier in 2002 and he had been living in a heterosexual relationship for 10 years.
In 2008, Thorson pleaded guilty to felony drug and burglary charges and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was subsequently released.
Following his release, Thorson gave a number of interviews about his relationship with Liberace. His most notable interview was with Howard Stern on Monday, June 17, 2013 on his Sirius XM radio show and was not shy about revealing everything about his famous, former lovers. Another interview was on Entertainment Tonight in May 2012, where he stated that memories of his time with Liberace were still difficult for him.
Previously diagnosed with hepatitis C, Thorson was diagnosed with stage II cancer in the autumn of 2012. Since his diagnosis, Thorson has made public pleas for money to continue his medical treatments. Recently, Thorson has been actively involved in writing a second book about his relationship with Liberace, a followup to Behind the Candelabra.
In February 2013, police investigating a lost wallet tracked the use of the victim's credit cards to a hotel in Reno, Nevada. Thorson was found to be using the credit cards, including renting a room at the Ponderosa Hotel in Reno, and was arrested. Thorson (who also uses the alias Jess Marlow, an alias he says occurred when he entered the federal witness protection program as the star witness in the 1989 prosecution of Eddie Nash) was booked on a variety of charges, including burglary, and using a credit card without consent. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years' probation.
Behind the Candelabra movie
An HBO original movie, Behind the Candelabra, based on Thorson's book Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, aired on HBO on May 26, 2013. The film features Matt Damon as Thorson and Michael Douglas as Liberace, and is the first movie on the Thorson–Liberace relationship and its aftermath since the Canada–US made-for-TV movie Liberace: Behind the Music (1988), where Thorson was portrayed by Michael Dolan. Behind the Candelabra is directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay by Richard LaGravenese, with music by Academy Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch.
- Behind the Candelabra — My Life with Liberace by Scott Thorson and Alex Thorliefson; pp. 47; Copyright 1988; E.P. Dutton Publishing; ISBN 0-525-24653-3
- "Interview with Scott Thorson (Transcript)". Larry King Live (CNN). Airdate 12 August 2002 - 21:00 ET. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- Rodger Jacobs (2009-05-29). "Depression 2.0: Sunday in Kerouac Alley". PopMatters.
- Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace: Scott Thorson and Alex Thorleifson, E.P. Dutton, New York, 1988
- Metro Digest (16 March 1988). "Local News in Brief: Liberace Companion Held". Los Angeles Times.
- David Segal (2013-05-10). "The Boy Toy’s Story". The New York Times.
- Celeblegalissues.com "Celebrity Alimony / Palimony". Celeb Legal Issues.
- "Liberace's Former Lover Details Secret Romance". ETonline.com. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
- "Press Express | Not Available". Cbspressexpress.com. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
- "Liberace's Ex-Lover Claims Gay Affair With Jackson". Contactmusic.com. 2004-04-15.
- ETonline staff (2012-10-25). "EXCLUSIVE: Inside Scott Thorson's Cancer Battle". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- Segal, David (May 10, 2013). "The Boy Toy's Story". The New York Times.
- "Liberace's Alleged Ex-Lover in Washoe County Jail". My News 4. KRNV-DT. 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
- "Liberace's Ex-Lover Scott Thorson Sentenced To 5 Years Probation After Using Stolen Credit Cards". Radaronline.com. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
- "Douglas, Damon starring in HBO's Liberace biopic". Content.usatoday.com. 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
- Katsilometes, John. "Matt Damon looking forward to playing Liberace’s lover in upcoming biopic". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
- "Director Steven Soderbergh on new Liberace film". Youtube.com. 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2013-06-02.