BEHIND THE CANDELABRA: My Life with Liberace by Scott & Alex Thorleifson Thorson

BEHIND THE CANDELABRA: My Life with Liberace

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The true story of Liberace--or the facade behind the facade--from Thorson, who was Liberace's live-in lover for several years toward the end of the entertainer's life. After being kicked out of the Liberace household, he later sued Liberace for conversion of property that Liberace and his staff had withheld from him. The suit was misrepresented in the press as a palimony suit, but it was actually about recovery of rightful property. Thorson was a stripling of 18 when aging Liberace fell like a tree for the young man's looks. Thorson had always felt like an orphan, was thrilled to have a father figure in his life, and soon managed to have Liberace eject his former live-in lover from their circuit. He was less attracted to Liberace physically, though he remained faithful for their entire companionship. Faithful, in fact, is an understatement. When Liberace undertook plastic surgery to have his sagging features restructured, he also induced young Thorson to have his own features redone to match a painting of Liberace in younger days. Thorson psychically as well as facially became Liberace's son. At the same time, the unbelievably costly life-style (Liberate would spend $25,000 on installing and decorating 18 trees every Christmas, while spending months collecting costly presents to scatter under the trees) inflated both men's weight; and when Liberace asked Thorson to lose weight, the lad became addicted to cocaine-based diet pills that did the trick but kept him unstable (he later joined A.A.). After their parting, Liberace came down with AIDS, and played his last show at Radio City Music Hall while dying. Before his death, he called Thorson in for a farewell chat. Well done and an X-ray on Liberace's quite untruthful autobiography, The Wonderfull Private World of Liberace (1986).

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1988
Publisher: Dutton