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Liberace’s former lover, Scott Thorson, revealed shocking details of his relationship with the star.
According to TMZ, Scott Thorson is now back in jail “for an alleged probation violation and failing to appear in court”.
Prior to his arrest, Scott Thorson described the lavish lifestyle he enjoyed as Liberace’s lover in an interview with Oprah: Where Are They Now?.
“Although we had our differences, we had more good times than bad times. Well, I mean it was a wonderful life. I was 16 years old, I was walking around with all these jewels – you know, a million dollars worth of jewelry, 30 cars. I had more mink coats and diamonds than Elizabeth Taylor had.”
Scott Thorson received plastic surgery to resemble a young Liberace at his lover’s request
Scott Thorson also described how he received plastic surgery to resemble a young Liberace at his lover’s request.
“It was amazing, the resemblance afterwards – the same chin, it was just amazing,” he said.
Scott Thorson later sued Liberace for palimony and is believed to have received $95,000 in a settlement.
“The reason why I sued Liberace was because he threw me on the streets and I had nothing. He called me a disgruntled employee. That I was a street hustler, that I was liar.”
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Scott Thorson was arrested last week after failing a drug test.
The one-time boyfriend of musical legend Liberace found himself back in jail in Reno, Nevada after having tested positive for methamphetamine during a random parole drug test.
Scott Thorson – who now goes by the alias Jess Marlow – has consistently battled drug addiction, but it wasn’t until a book he wrote about his life with Liberace was turned into a movie that he received much attention.
He was played by Matt Damon opposite Michael Douglas’ Liberace in the HBO film Behind the Candelabra.
Scott Thorson found himself back in jail in Reno after having tested positive for methamphetamine during a random parole drug test
Scott Thorson and Liberace were together for five years, starting in 1976 when Thorson was just 16 years old.
But their relationship ended in a messy break-up. In 1982, Liberace kicked the job-less Scott Thorson, whose drug habits started getting worse, out of his house.
Eventually Scott Thorson sued Liberace for $113 million, and the pianist settled out of court for $75,000, giving up three cars and two pet dogs as well. Liberace died in 1987 after succumbing to an AIDS-related illness.
In July, Scott Thorson, 54, was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to burglary and identify theft charges.
He will have to deal with the consequences of breaking the terms of his probation in court this week.
However, Scott Thorson’s attorney David Houston feels that the drug testing was wrong.
Scott Thorson, who is currently in remission for anal cancer and had to have nasal surgery recently, asked not to be tested so he could take needed medication.
“I have not seen this much of a concerted effort of those in the system to have someone fail in all of my years of practice,” David Houston told the Reno Gazette-Journal .
David Houston believes that the results could be a false positive due to the drugs prescribed during his nasal surgery.
Liberace’s old Las Vegas mansion has been put up for sale for $529,900.
The expansive main living area contains two of Liberace’s favorite chandelier, with mirrored walls and fitted wardrobes.
Another room features a raised stage style area with bright red carpet and a small mirrored ceiling.
One room boasts tile piano keys decorating the floor, while a mirror bar is etched with Liberace’s signature and an image of a piano.
The home sits on almost half an acre of land, includes five fireplaces and “several large areas for entertaining” according to Las Vegas Inc.
A new owner can look forward to a bedroom ceiling adorned with a $1.6 million reproduction of Michelangelo’s painting at the Sistine Chapel, according to the publication.
Liberace’s former Las Vegas Mansion is owned by the JPMorgan Chase bank that seized the home from its last owner through foreclosure and is asking for cash-only offers
There is also one of Liberace’s signature “L” logos left on one of the outside gates of the home, which has changed hands twice since his foundation sold it in 1989.
Another outside shot shows an ornate front door decorated with gold and what looked to be brightly colored stained glass windows at either side of the house.
The two-storey, 14,939 square foot house is on sale for more than $3 million less than in its heyday.
The two bedroom, ten bathroom home, which was built in 1962, is owned by the JPMorgan Chase bank that seized the home from its last owner through foreclosure and is asking for cash-only offers.
Liberace, born Władziu Valentino Liberace, bought the house in 1974.
Liberace, who died of an AIDS related illness in 1987, has enjoyed some posthumous fame recently after Michael Douglas played him in HBO biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Starring Matt Damon as Liberace’s secret boyfriend Scott Thorson, the film follows the last ten years of Liberace’s life based on Thorson’s memoir, Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace.
Scott Thorson revealed his life as the toyboy lover of flamboyant pianist Liberace, describing it as a whirlwind of extravagance and excess.
Their outrageous lifestyle, captured in new film Behind The Candelabra, makes the latest breed of bling-loving celebrities look tasteful and understated.
But after five dazzling, rhinestone-encrusted years together, Scott Thorson claimed he was dumped like “a piece of trash”.
Scott Thorson lost it all and began a downward spiral into d**gs, crime and the odd spell behind bars.
The tattooed 54-year-old, who is battling colon cancer, was in jail in Reno, Nevada, for burglary when the acclaimed film – based on his book of the same name – was shown on US TV last month.
Director Steven Soderbergh revealed that the movie was rejected as “too gay” by every major American studio, before being snapped up by cable channel HBO – which is why it went straight to TV in the US and did not get a cinema release there.
Of casting Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, Steven Soderbergh joked: “I needed to see Jason Bourne on top of Gordon Gekko.”
Scott Thorson was just 17 when he met 58-year-old Liberace backstage after one of his Las Vegas shows in 1977.
He soon moved in with the musician in his lavish, custom-built Las Vegas palace.
On the bedroom ceiling was a reproduction of the fresco in Rome’s Sistine Chapel – but the cherubs all had Liberace’s face.
At the peak of his powers, Liberace was the world’s best-paid entertainer and owned 39 pianos, 32 cars and 26 dogs.
Scott Thorson says: “He built a 70,000 sq ft palace in Las Vegas for me, filled with the world’s most expensive treasure – $25million worth of antiques.
“A well-known artist spent a year painting the Sistine Chapel fresco on the ceiling.
“Even the Queen and the Queen Mother were big fans of his.
“When he played the London Palladium I went into the Royal Box to use the toilet, just so I could say I had used the Queen’s bathroom. They sent us lots of gifts – including a Welsh Corgi.”
Scott Thorson was even given a minor role in TV’s The Liberace Show, driving the pianist on stage in a jewel-encrusted Rolls-Royce while wearing a white chauffeur’s outfit.
His relationship with Liberace was bizarre to say the least.
Scott Thorson revealed his life as the toyboy lover of flamboyant pianist Liberace
The world-famous showman got a plastic surgeon to make Scott Thorson look more like his son, and put him on a cocktail of diet pills.
Scott Thorson reveals: “He had to throw the Press off, so he <<adopted>> me, changed my face so I looked more like him.
“He didn’t want people to realize I was his lover – he wanted them to think I was his son.
“I was given cheek implants and a new chin so I would resemble him.
“He took me to this plastic surgeon and he wanted me to lose weight. The doctor put me on the Hollywood diet. It contained pharmaceutical c***ine and Demerol to bring me down. Liberace agreed to all this.
“Then, when I became addicted and he was worried I was out of control and would tarnish his image, he threw me out like I was a piece of trash.
“In the movie it says he offered me rehab, but he didn’t.
“I was living in the penthouse in LA and they hired guards to throw all my personal belongings off the balcony and discard me.”
In 1982 Scott Thorson took Liberace to court in a bitter “palimony” suit. Later he settled for $93,000, some jewellery, custody of two dogs and a gold-plated Rolls-Royce he had been given as a 21st birthday gift.
But the split plunged him from the dizzy showbiz heights to the depths of despair.
Scott Thorson, who survived being shot five times during a robbery in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1991, even accuses the team behind the film – including its stars – of neglecting his cries for help during his most recent spell behind bars.
Instead Dennis Hof, who owns the infamous Bunny Ranch br***el, last week posted bail for Scott Thorson.
Scott Thorson says: “Hollywood turned its back on me. Matt Damon or Michael Douglas would not bail me out, even though I offered to talk to them about the film.
“I need to put money back into my pocket. I didn’t make much out of the movie. I own a small percentage of the film but Hollywood is notorious for padding the bill so it shows no profit.”
Biopic Behind the Candelabra was a big hit when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. It pulled in 2.4million viewers when it aired in the US on HBO – the largest audience for an original movie on the channel in almost a decade. It opens in cinemas across Europe today.
Scott Thorson says: “It has been a big success, all these European companies have picked it up. So for the filmmakers to say they haven’t made a dime would be a big mistake – especially with my mouth.
“I went after Liberace, so I’m not scared.
“I was whisked out of jail when Dennis Hof paid my bail. He turned up with five Bunny Girls to pick me up in this big limousine.
“The first night we went up to Dennis’s private residence in the ranch and I watched the film for the first time. I was blown away.
“Matt Damon did a great job playing me. And he did a great job in bed with Douglas, too.”
The film ends when the pair are reunited on Liberace’s deathbed just before he passed away from pneumonia caused by AIDS in 1987.
Scott Thorson’s life has had some twists and turns that are not in the film. For starters, he claims he had a romance with Michael Jackson.
He said: “Liberace introduced me and Michael in the late 1970s. It was right around the time Thriller was coming out and Michael and I became lovers.
“Our relationship went on for six or seven years. Michael was very generous too. He treated me well.
“Liberace and I had both undergone plastic surgery around the same time Michael underwent a nose job because he didn’t think he was handsome. We all healed together at the Liberace compound in Palm Springs.”
Also in his eventful life, Scott Thorson was put in witness protection after testifying against his d**g dealer Eddie Nash in 1981, changing his name to Jesse Marlow.
He said: “I’ve survived being shot five times, overdoses, and I’ve tried to commit suicide. But I’ve survived to tell my story.”
Life for Scott Thorson at the moment, at the Bunny Ranch, is the most exotic it has been for years.
He said: “There are 22 acres with stables, a gymnasium, a personal trainer, Jacuzzi, swimming pool and lots of beautiful people.
“They have built a great team around me and I am drug free for the first time in many years. It’s been about 110 days.
“There are so many beautiful women here. I’m having lots of Bunny Ranch therapy.
“These girls are so gorgeous I could end up turning straight.
“I haven’t lived the dream like this since I lived with Liberace.
“I feel right at home.”
Scott Thorson, who was Liberace’s one time toy-boy companion, claims he had an even more famous lover, in the shape of late superstar Michael Jackson.
Scott Thorson – whose memoir inspired HBO’s Behind the Candelabra starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon – now alleges he had a six to seven years relationship with Michael Jackson.
Liberace’s 54-year-old former partner claims Michael Jackson and the piano genius used to bond at his Palm Springs compound as they both recovered from plastic surgery.
“Liberace introduced me and Michael in the late 1970’s,” Scott Thorson told The Sun.
“It was right around the time Thriller was coming out and Michael and I became lovers.”
“Our relationship went on for six or seven years, Michael was very generous, too. He treated me well.”
Scott Thorson previously talked about his relationship with Michael Jackson after he gave an interview to The National Enquirer back in 2004 claiming their first s**ual encounter took place at the home of late female impersonator Danny La Rue.
Scott Thorson, who was Liberace’s one time toy-boy companion, claims he was the lover of late superstar Michael Jackson
“I was standing only a few feet away from Michael when he motioned with his hand to come over to him and join him on the bed,” Scott Thorson revealed.
“I climbed onto the bed – our lovemaking session lasted about an hour.”
Behind The Candelabra tells the story of the bizarre love affair between Scott Thorson, then 17, when he met Liberace, who was 57 at the time.
Liberace lavished his much younger lover with gifts but it came at a price as he demanded that he get plastic surgery so that he could look more like him.
After their break-up, Scott Thorson launched an unsuccessful $113 million lawsuit against Liberace who died of suspected AIDS in 1986.
Ironically, Scott Thorson has only just seen HBO’s mini-film about their relationship after he was jailed in Reno while awaiting sentencing for burglary charges.
Scott Thorson – who is currently living at The Bunny Ranch Br***el after the owner bailed him out – liked the way that Matt Damon portrayed him.
“Matt Damon did a great job playing me and he did a great job in bed with Michael Douglas too,” he revealed.
But he’s angry that he did not make more money out of the project and that the two stars did not come and bail him out recently.
“Hollywood turned its back on me. Matt Damon or Michael Douglas would not bail me out, even though I offered to talk to them about the film,” Scott Thorson complained.
Michael Douglas reportedly snubbed Scott Thorson, the terminally ill former lover of piano legend Liberace – even though he’s starring in a movie based on a book written by the dying man.
Scott Thorson, who was diagnosed with advanced anal cancer in August 2012, was Liberace’s lover from 1976 to 1982.
His book, Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, is the basis of the new HBO film that stars Michael Douglas as the flamboyant performer.
But even though Michael Douglas is a fellow cancer sufferer, sources say he rebuffed Scott Thorson’s request to visit him on the set before being jailed in February 2103.
“All I wanted do was meet Michael and talk to him about my cancer,” Scott Thorson, 54, explained to The National Enquirer.
“But I was bluntly told it would be impossible. That really hurt.”
Scott Thorson’s six-year romance with Liberace began when he was just 18 and the entertainer was 57.
He revealed he was showered with lavish gifts, expensive vacations and promises by Liberace to adopt and care for him.
But the relationship ended in 1982, when Scott Thorson says he was dumped for a teenager.
Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Da¬mon as Scott Thorson in Steven Soderbergh’s Behind The Candelabra
Although Behind the Candelabra was published in 1988, a year after Liberace died of AIDS, Scott Thorson says he didn’t find out until 2008 that producer Jerry Weintraub wanted to make a movie out of the book.
At the time, Scott Thorson was serving time behind bars on a drug-related robbery and desperately needed money. He admits he got “a little up-front money and a small percentage” of the film sales.
While Scott Thorson did his time, Jerry Weintraub assembled his team: Michael Douglas as Liberace, Matt Damon as Scott Thorson and director Steven Soderbergh.
In August 2010, Michael Douglas was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer and the movie was put on hold.
Thankfully, Michael Douglas beat the cancer, and production began in the summer of 2012 in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs. But Scott Thorson says he was left out in the cold.
“I thought it was very strange that I was never contacted,” he said.
“Then, about three months ago, I got one phone call from Jerry Weintraub when he found out that I had cancer. He said, <<I’m very sorry that you’re going through cancer>>. And that was it.”
Scott Thorson revealed he was immediately cut off when he asked if he could reach out to both Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. He said the indication was that Michael Douglas – whose son Cameron is also in jail on d**g charges – didn’t want him on the set, even as a consultant.
“It was clear that I wasn’t welcome,” Scott Thorson said.
“My heart sank. These people were portraying me but I was a persona non grata. I’m angry.”
Scott Thorson has undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatments, but the tumor remains.
“Right now, I’m very scared,” Scott Thorson admitted.
“I’ve already run through the money I got for the movie and I’ve got nothing left.
“I don’t know if I’ll make it to the premiere in May…or if I’m even invited.”
Scott Thorson, Liberace’s former lover, might not get to watch Behind the Candelabra – the new HBO flick about the flamboyant pianist – because he is back to jail again.
Scott Thorson, 54, who wrote the book on which the new biopic is based, was arrested on February 22 at the Ponderosa Hotel in Reno, Nevada, and charged with four counts of first-degree burglary.
Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Druckman told The National Enquirer magazine that Scott Thorson – who now goes by the name Jess Marlow – found a wallet containing credit cards and used them at several Reno businesses.
“After he purchased some things, he checked into the hotel and the victim was notified that somebody was suspiciously using his credit cards,” said Rebecca Druckman.
The cardholder went to the Ponderosa and informed them of the fraud, and the police were called.
Scott Thorson, Liberace’s former lover, is back behind the bars again
Scott Thorson was arrested, booked and held on $125,000 bail. A subsequent court hearing was scheduled for March 28. If convicted on the first-degree burglary charges, he could face several years in prison.
In 1988, a year after Liberace’s death from AIDS, Scott Thorson wrote the book Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace, which documented his six-year romantic relationship with the flamboyant entertainer.
Scott Thorson said he learned that producer Jerry Weintraub was interested in the work in 2008, when he was previously behind bars for a drug-related robbery.
Behind The Candelabra movie stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson.
Scott Thorson, who is suffering from anal cancer, claims he was not appreciated by the filmmakers. He said he was snubbed by the cast and crew when he visited the set and received just a small amount of money for the use of the book.
“Now, Scott probably won’t be out of jail before the show airs,” said a friend.
”And if he goes to prison, he could die behind bars.”
Michael Douglas’ casting as Liberace in biopic Behind The Candelabra divided opinion, with many doubting whether he was the right person to play the role of the flamboyant stage star.
However, Michael Douglas has certainly proved his critics wrong, judging by a world exclusive clip of new film Behind The Candelabra.
Michael Douglas’ Liberace and Matt Damon’s Scott Thorson in Behind The Candelabra
Michael Douglas, 68, is seen flirting up a storm with young stranger Scott Thorson, played by Matt Damon, after he walked into his dressing room after a show in the summer of 1977.
A clearly naive Scott Thorson tells Liberace after watching the show: “What, you’re going to do that all over again? I don’t know how you do it.”
Wearing a silver sequinned waistcoat over his white shirt, Liberace is then seen joking with Scott Thorson: “Oh aren’t you sweet, it’s not bad for an old bag, huh?”
Liberace then pokes fun at his age, by telling Scott Thorson: “When I was working saloons back in Milwaukee they called them saloons – that’s how old I am.”
And when Scott Thorson replies that he is also from Wisconsin as well, Liberace replied: “No, you are? Well this must be fate!”
The TV premiere of Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas as flamboyant pianist Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, was seen by 2.4 million people in the US.
The Nielsen Company said it was the HBO network’s biggest audience for one of its original movies since medical drama Something the Lord Made in 2004.
A further 1.1 million people tuned in for a repeat of the film that aired immediately after Sunday’s premiere.
The TV premiere of Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas as flamboyant pianist Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, was seen by 2.4 million people in the US
Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s film, will be released in UK cinemas on June 7.
Based on Scott Thorson’s memoir Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, the film charts the life of the American pianist and the secret affair he had with the author, played by Matt Damon.
The drama received its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month.
ABC’s Dancing With the Stars remains the most-watched programme on US television with around 15 million viewers last week.
Scott Thorson moved to Liberace’s Las Vegas mansion in 1977, when he was a teenage hunk in the foster care system, learning that the jewel-smitten showman could love just as extravagantly as he decorated.
Touring the premises before their relationship began, Liberace pointed out some decorative highlights, which included 17 pianos, a casino, a quarry’s worth of marble and a canopied bed with an ermine spread. On the ceiling was a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel with Liberace’s face painted among the cherubs.
When Liberace and Scott Thorson became a couple, the showman, who was 40 years older, was just as excessive.
“We were at a hotel in Florida, and Liberace had the manager give us another suite, with windows that faced the beach,” said Scott Thorson, now 54.
“He knew I’d be near the water and he wanted to be able to look at me.”
Liberace even wanted Scott Thorson nearby when he worked. So for years, Scott Thorson would don a chauffeur’s costume covered in rhinestones and drive “Mr. Showmanship” on stage in a bejewelled Rolls-Royce. Scott Thorson would stop the car, then open the door for Liberace, who would emerge in a fur coat with a 16ft train.
This routine, which ran for years at the Las Vegas Hilton, is recreated in a forthcoming movie, Behind the Candelabra, which is based on Scott Thorson’s autobiography of the same name and stars Matt Damon as Thorson and Michael Douglas as Liberace.
Behind the Candelabra debuted this week in the US on HBO and opens in cinemas in the UK on June 7.
One person who might miss the movie’s debut is Scott Thorson. He is an inmate at the Washoe county jail in Reno, Nevada, and while the place has its share of amenities – including television – HBO isn’t one of them.
Scott Thorson has been held there since February, when he was charged with burglary and identity theft, after buying about $1,300 worth of computer and mobile-phone merchandise, using a credit card and license that weren’t his. He was arrested at the Ponderosa hotel, where he and a man he had just met rented a room for $33.90 a night.
“We get a lot of the dregs of Reno, a lot of prostitutes, d**g dealers,” said Eric Pyzel, a clerk at the Ponderosa, where a nearby bumper sticker reads: “Welcome To Our Country. Just Do It Legally.”
“The cops are by pretty often. So when they got here it was kind of like, OK, what is it this time?”
On a recent Friday morning at the jail, Scott Thorson was sitting in a small room of white cinder blocks, empty but for a sink and a wall-mounted dispenser of disinfectants. Two officers hovered. Not for the first time in his troubled life, he vowed to clean up.
“This experience has scared me straight,” he said, in a slightly nasal tone that sounds vaguely like Liberace.
“There comes a time when you’ve got to take responsibility. You’ve got to stop lying and face your mistakes.”
It’s hard to connect this tired and anxious man in a blue prison shirt to the beefcake grinning in photographs in the late 70s. Time, an on-off m**h addiction, several stints in prison and what he describes as stage 3 colon cancer have taken their toll. Another reason he looks different: the chin implant is gone. Scott Thorson had it removed in an attempt to reverse one of the creepier episodes in the history of plastic surgery. Early in their relationship, Liberace plucked an oil painting of himself from a room in his Las Vegas mansion and asked a visiting doctor to reshape Scott Thorson’s face to look like Liberace’s as a young man.
Liberace wanted a toy boy and a son. With s** and fatherhood disturbingly entwined, Scott Thorson wound up with a new chin, a nose job and enhanced cheekbones.
“I was 17 years old,” he said, explaining why he went along with a plan that sounds so lunatic.
“Liberace had taken me out of a situation with a father who was very abusive, a mother who was mentally ill. I did everything I possibly could to please this man.”
The two went on shopping sprees, travelled first-class and spent a lot of quality time with Liberace’s shar-peis. Scott Thorson was showered with gifts, including mink coats, an assortment of baubles and a Chevrolet Camaro. They entertained celebrities such as Debbie Reynolds and Michael Jackson.
However, it all ended abruptly in 1982. That year, Liberace had members of his retinue forcibly eject Scott Thorson from his penthouse in Los Angeles. It was a break-up caused, in part, by Scott Thorson’s d**g habit, which he says he developed trying to slim down, at Liberace’s urging, on what was called the “Hollywood diet”, a cocktail of doctor-prescribed drugs that included pharmaceutical co***ne.
Scott Thorson later sued for $113 million in palimony, ultimately losing a highly public battle fought both in court and in the tabloids. He settled in 1986 for $95,000, according to reports at the time.
There was a deathbed reconciliation before Liberace died of a disease caused by AIDS in 1987. And that is where Behind the Candelabra ends. But Scott Thorson’s life went on, and as he explained in a series of interviews, both in person and via a jail-monitored version of Skype, many of the events that followed are as strange as the ones that came before.
The trick is separating the strange from the unbelievable.
“His approach to communicating with people is always to play it in a manner that reflects best on him,” said Oliver Mading, the man Scott Thorson calls his adoptive father as well as his manager. One evening recently, Oliver Mading was sitting in the living room of his home a few miles from Reno’s downtown. Sitting nearby was his stepson, Tony Pelicone, who met Scott Thorson through a mutual friend a decade ago in Palm Springs, California.
Scott Thorson had the chin implant removed in an attempt to reverse one of the creepier episodes in the history of plastic surgery
At best, these men sounded deeply ambivalent about being enmeshed in Scott Thorson’s life.
“He’s not a bad person,” said Tony Pelicone, who has a swirl of brown-blond hair and a cigarette habit.
“He’s just twisted and kind of cutthroat.”
Oliver Mading said: “He’d sell his mother – “
“Then he gives you that smile,” said Tony Pelicone, interrupting.
The two admit that much of what they know about Scott Thorson’s biography they learned from Thorson and that, at the very least, he has an aversion to telling his life story as a coherent, easy-to-follow chronology. During interviews at the Washoe county jail, Scott Thorson was often evasive and moody, deflecting questions about his past to rage against the people who have declined to put up the $15,000 in bail he says he needs to get out of jail.
“All these people are getting rich from my story,” he fumed.
“And here I sit.”
Earlier this month, Scott Thorson pleaded guilty and asked to enter a rehabilitation programme. He could face as little as probation with a suspended prison sentence to two to 30 years and combined fines of up to $110,000.
What’s indisputable is that Scott Thorson is no longer named Scott Thorson. He is now known as Jess Marlow, a change he says occurred when he entered the federal witness protection program as the star witness in the 1989 prosecution of an infamous Los Angeles character named Eddie Nash.
Eddie Nash shows up in the book and movie as Mr. Y, described as a d**g dealer with ties to organized crime who made headlines for allegedly ordering the so-called Wonderland murders, a grisly quadruple homicide that took place two days after Nash’s home was robbed of money and drugs in 1981. (The crime is named after 8763 Wonderland Avenue, where the killings took place.)
Eddie Nash purportedly learned who had committed the robbery after his underlings beat up p**n star John Holmes, an acquaintance of Nash’s who later admitted to helping the robbers enter Nash’s home.
A fictionalized version of these events turns up in Boogie Nights, with an Eddie Nash-inspired figure played by a Speedo- and robe-wearing Alfred Molina.
Scott Thorson says that Eddie Nash became a drug source for him in the early 80s and that he later became a partner in Nash’s club business. At some point, the two fell out and, by 1988, Scott Thorson was reportedly in a Los Angeles jail for an assortment of charges. There, he says, he was offered leniency by the district attorney’s office in exchange for testifying that he happened to be at Eddie Nash’s home when thugs pummelled John Holmes – which, if true, would make Scott Thorson a kind of Zelig of the Awful. Eleven members of the jury voted to convict. One held out. Eddie Nash later admitted to bribing that lone juror, and in 2001, he struck a plea bargain in which he was sentenced to 37 months in prison for racketeering.
Now, in his early 80s, Eddie Nash is a free man. And he would like to make it clear that he and Scott Thorson were never partners.
“No, no, he worked for me,” Eddie Nash said.
“When Liberace dumped him, he had nothing. He was on the streets. So I took him in, and he worked at the house. He was good for cleaning. Because I lived with eight girls at the time. Beautiful girls. College girls. It was safe to have Thorson around because he is g*y. I had a g*y cook, too.”
Scott Thorson claims that after the trial, marshals in the federal witness protection programme moved him to Florida and gave him a new name.
“They had to keep me safe because there was a contract placed on my life by Eddie Nash,” he said during one interview.
“It started with the marshals taking me to different locations around the country for seven to 10 days, to make sure no one was following,” he said.
“Texas, Alaska, Seattle.”
It’s an intriguing narrative plot point – man forced to get a new face is later forced to take on a new identity. But the story sounds highly improbable to Bill Keefer, a former federal marshal in the witness protection programme. He has doubts because of where Scott Thorson eventually landed: at a Christian-based homeless shelter in Tallahassee, Florida, called the Haven of Rest.
“How much protection could the marshals provide a guy at a homeless shelter?” Bill Keefer asked.
At the Haven of Rest, Scott Thorson found religion. And, instead of striving for invisibility, he shared his life story in front of church congregations. He says that he became a popular evangelizer, even appearing on a Pat Robertson TV show.
“He would share his testimony about his life with Liberace,” said Danny Heaberlin, who ran Haven of Rest at the time.
“We had pictures of him with Liberace, because the story was so out there, nobody would believe it otherwise.”
Scott Thorson says an east coast mafia don gave him assurances that he needn’t worry about Eddie Nash. True or not, Scott Thorson was unable to stay on the side of the angels for long. After three years at the Haven of Rest, he says, he started using d**gs again, and in 1991, was shot in a room at a Howard Johnson hotel in Jacksonville. Local reports described the crime as a robbery committed by a crack dealer.
“They thought he was going to die,” Danny Heaberlin said, “but he kept living and living.”
While he was recovering, a life-changing event occurred: a woman from Maine named Georgianna Morrill came to visit. Scott Thorson would later claim she had seen him on TV, spreading the gospel, but that is not how Georgianna Morrill remembers it.
“I read Behind the Candelabra, and I saw the photo on the back of the book and I heard the Lord tell me to pray for this g*y,” she said, speaking from her apartment in South Portland, Maine.
“I thought, I don’t even know this man. But I’m a Christian, and, when God tells you to pray for someone, you do.”
Georgianna Morrill found Scott Thorson through a Pentecostal friend and soon after the two met, she invited him to live with her in a tiny two-storey red house in Falmouth, Maine. Scott Thorson accepted. He stayed for the next 12 years.
It was the second time that he found refuge in someone else’s life, but Falmouth was a long way from Vegas, and Georgianna Morrill was no Liberace. There were periods of domestic calm, with Scott Thorson cleaning up around the house and collecting disability payments that he was eligible for after the shooting. But Georgianna Morrill wanted to get married, despite all the evidence that the match was a terrible idea. The couple had s** once, she recalls.
“That was enough,” she said with a giggle.
He also drank a lot, and when he did he would sometimes “get stupid”, in Georgianna Morrill’s words, prompting her to call the police. Still, she held out hope that one day he would propose. And one day, he did, but with a ring with a pearl on top that she somehow knew he had purchased with a stolen credit card.
“I said to him, <<I’m looking for a diamond ring and one that you paid for yourself>>,” she said, laughing.
“He got pretty mad that I didn’t want it.”
Georgianna Morrill speaks with a note of nostalgia about those strife-ridden years. It’s a note you won’t hear when you discuss the subject with Scott Thorson.
“Horrible!” he said of his Maine phase.
“It was so boring. I hated the weather. Five feet of snow. It was too quiet. I had to get the hell out of there.”
Scott Thorson moved to Palm Springs, where he would be arrested a handful of times for stealing groceries and drug possession, among many other charges. Early in this era, he met Tony Pelicone.
“I recently learned that he came by our house to meet someone I was dating,” Tony Pelicone said.
“Later his house burned and nobody was there to pick him up. So I did, thinking he’d stay for a few days. That turned into 10 years.”
Initially, Tony Pelicone was thrilled to meet Liberace’s ex, and he introduced Scott Thorson to his mother and stepfather, Oliver Mading.
Oliver Mading, a businessman with a background in packaged foods, says he negotiated the Behind the Candelabra movie deal with the producer Jerry Weintraub while Scott Thorson was in prison on d**g charges. After his release, Scott Thorson spent his cut of the movie earnings – just under $100,000 – in about two months, mostly on cars and jewellery.
“We always knew Jess without money,” Oliver Mading said, referring to Scott Thorson by his assumed name.
“Not that $100,000 is King Midas’s trove, but Jess burned through it like a complete idiot.”
Scott Thorson says he’s now penniless because of outlays for cancer treatment. The truth is almost beside the point. An assortment of siblings and half-siblings want nothing to do with him, Oliver Mading says. His only real assets today are the intangibles that Liberace bequeathed him, most notably, a peculiar place in showbiz history as the kid that Liberace once adored and tried to remake in his image.
“There’s always been a love-hate relationship,” Scott Thorson said when asked to describe his feelings about Liberace today.
“At that time, I was so honored to be in his presence. And I didn’t want to go back to my lifestyle in the foster homes, which was pure hell.”
Their years together scarred him, he says, and partly explain the troubles that followed. But those years were also the happiest of his life. So although he removed the chin implant, he also had a tribute to Liberace tattooed on his forearm. He rolls up the sleeve of a grey thermal undershirt to reveal an inky cluster of curlicued letters and symbols. In the middle is Liberace’s name, surrounded by floating musical notes, plus the years that Liberace lived and a yellow rose.
“His favourite flower,” Scott Thorson said matter-of-factly, rolling his sleeve back down.
Steven Soderbergh’s new HBO movie Behind the Candelabra stars Michael Douglas as Liberace, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, whose memoir Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace is the film’s source material.
The film suggests a focus on Scott Thorson, not Liberace.
Scott Thorson was a 16-year-old trainee veterinarian when he met Liberace. One of Liberace’s pet dogs was suffering from an eye infection, and Scott Thorson was called out to attend. Scott Thorson had been installed as live-in houseboy and not only commanded the Liberace estate by day, but featured nightly in Liberace’s Vegas stage act, driving the star on stage in a rhinestone encrusted limousine, tidying the train of Liberace’s fur gown, and being introduced to the audience by name.
Scott Thorson and Liberace lived together for five years, a period which demands a new word for “decadence”. When Scott Thorson said he loved Liberace’s gold-plated Rolls Royce, for example, Liberace wrapped the car in an enormous red bow and gave it to him, and Thorson was never seen without his ghastly gold-plated Zippo lighter, another gift from Lee, on a gold chain around his neck.
Scott Thorson claims he had plastic surgery to look more like Liberace, including a nose job and a chin implant. In a 2002 interview with Larry King, Scott Thorson said that after he put on weight during a trip with Liberace to Paris, Liberace introduced him to Priscilla Presley’s plastic surgeon. Scott Thorson said that Liberace accompanied him to his first consultation, instructing the surgeon to “make him look like my son”. But, the operations weren’t satisfactory, and Scott Thorson later had the chin implant removed.
Scott Thorson claims he had plastic surgery to look more like Liberace, including a nose job and a chin implant
Apparently, Liberace and his plastic surgeon drank bottles of vodka together before general anaesthetic was administered and cosmetic procedures were carried out at Liberace’s home. Robert Goulet, Charo, Phyllis Diller and Debbie Reynolds were routine houseguests. While Scott Thorson confessed to a daily diet of “co***ne, quaaludes, Biphetamine, demerol”, Lee only drank, and snorted amyl nitrate like a demon.
In 1982, after they’d broken up, Scott Thorson’s lawyers launched a $100 million palimony lawsuit. They finally settled in 1986 for $95,000, two dogs (including the one that originally had the infected eye) and the gold Rolls Royce. It was a smaller settlement than what the London tabloid the Daily Mirror demanded in 1987 once it was revealed that Liberace’s sudden weight loss was not in fact due to what his people had told everyone was the result of a watermelon diet – a refund of the half a million pounds it had been forced to pay him 30 years earlier when he sued them for implying he was homos***al without any proof when one of their journalists said this about him: “They say that this deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love has had the biggest reception and impact on London since Charlie Chaplin arrived at the same station, Waterloo, on September 12,1921.
“This appalling man – and I use the word appalling in no other than its true sense of terrifying – has hit this country in a way that is as violent as Churchill receiving the cheers on V-E Day.
“He reeks with emetic language that can only make grown men long for a quiet corner, an aspidistra, a handkerchief, and the old heave-ho. Without doubt, he is the biggest sentimental vomit of all time. Slobbering over his mother, winking at his brother, and counting the cash at every second, this superb piece of calculating candy-floss has an answer for every situation.
“There must be something wrong with us that our teenagers longing for s** and our middle-aged matrons fed up with s** alike should fall for such a sugary mountain of jingling claptrap wrapped up in such a preposterous clown.”
Around that time, Scott Thorson allegedly made statements like this to the world’s press: “I know three young men now that are dead because of AIDS because of him.”
But other reports are that when Liberace was on his deathbed, Scott Thorson was there, at Liberace’s request. After Liberace died, Scott Thorson stated that the conflicts between he and Lee had been exaggerated, and that it was his lawyers who were out for the money and he personally was primarily concerned about who was going to take care of the dogs.
Then, allegedly, Scott Thorson had an affair with Michael Jackson.
All that would be enough adventure for most people and it covers the action in Behind the Candelabra it’s just the beginning of Scott Thorson’s story.
The Wonderland murders, otherwise known as the Lauren Canyon killings, occurred on the night of 1 July 1981, while Scott Thorson was still living with Liberace. A few days later, John Holmes broke into the home of Eddie Nash, owner of West Hollywood clubs such as the Kit Kat and the Starwood. John Holmes was casing the joint for the Wonderland gang, who lived at 8763 Wonderland Avenue and traded drugs. The gang broke in the next day, tying up Eddie Nash and his bodyguard and stealing a bunch of stuff.
Later, Scott Thorson was over at Eddie Nash’s house picking up some deals when right in front of his eyes, Nash’s heavies dragged John Holmes in and knocked him around with knuckle dusters until he coughed up the address of the Wonderland gang, who were all soon shot dead. Scott Thorson agreed to testify against Eddie Nash, on the proviso he go straight into witness protection.
After several years in Alaska, Scott Thorson was transferred to Jacksonville, Florida and exited from the witness protection program due to his ongoing use of dr**s. According to his memoirs, he was watching a Pat Boone documentary on TV one night when d**g dealers broke into his motel room and shot him five times. Scott Thorson insists he had no prior dealings with his assailants and that the attack was not ordered by Eddie Nash who, incidentally, now owns the gold Rolls Royce after Thorson exchanged it for co***ne.
In 2008 Scott Thorson was sentenced to four years in prison on d**g and burglary offences and now lives with his wife in New England.
Matt Damon’s latest role will see him playing Liberace’s gay lover Scott Thorson in an HBO TV movie of the pianist’s life.
Matt Damon stars alongside Michael Douglas, 67, in the title role, and the pair were spotted getting into character on the set of the project, entitled Behind the Candelabra, in Palm Springs on Monday.
Michael Douglas, 67, looked the spitting image of Liberace on the set, sporting a brown wig, lilac shirt and beige trousers as he headed to his trailer in between takes.
The actor’s brown wig was slicked back into a Seventies style which left the veteran actor bearing a striking resemblance to the musician.
Matt Damon and Michael Douglas get into character as gay lovers on set of new Liberace biopic
Scott Thorson was 17 when he first met Liberace in 1976.
Liberace had promised Scott Thorson, who was raised in foster homes, that he would adopt and care for him and eventually the performer incorporated his live-in lover into his lavish Las Vegas stage performances.
The Ave Maria singer was famed for being the world’s highest-paid entertainer at one point, and enjoyed his fortune with an extravagant lifestyle.
But the romance ended due to the pianist’s sexual promiscuity and Scott Thorson’s drug addiction, which led him to contract Hepatitis C.
In 1982, Scott 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 Thorson 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.
Also joining the cast are Dan Aykroyd as Liberace’s long-time manager who disapproved of his relationship with Thorson, Rob Lowe as the plastic surgeon tasked with making Scott Thorson’s face resemble Liberace’s, and Debbie Reynolds will play Liberace’s mother Frances, according to Total Film.