Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace
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Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  773 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 15th 1990 by Knightsbridge Pub. Co. (first published June 22nd 1988)
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Hester
When I first learned that this book existed I was pissed that I didn't know about it years ago. Then I worried it was no longer in print, after a quick check on Amazon I had a "praise Jaysus!" moment when I found it and that I could get it for my Kindle.

I was filled with a joyous glee that warmed my heart. I imagined Thorson's story to be a magical waterfall of sleaze that would flow down a sparkling mountain of garbage and at the summit of this mountain of trash would be a beautiful rainbow. An...more
Sue
Scott Thorson did a decent job of explaining what type of life style Liberace lived. Some time he rambled on about other people.

I have read other books about famous people and have come to the conclusion that many of them are very troubled people. They have money to live the great life but are very lonely people and have some very sick life styles.

Liberace had a very permissive life style and paid the price for it. And it was a very high price--his life. The book is filled with examples of how...more
Mediaman
The HBO movie made me want to read this ahead of time and it's hard to know what in the book could possibly be used in a film--there is almost nothing to the story. The "author" Scott Thorson (supposedly Liberace's male lover but the forced writing style is that of the co-author) mindlessly goes through the excesses of his life with Liberace but nothing really happens. Lee pouts. Lee gives expensive cars and jewelry. Lee buys another mansion. Lee gets jealous of Scott hanging out with people lik...more
Adam Dunn
This is a well-written book. Thorson and his ghost-writer did a great job.

The behind-the-scenes story of Liberace is captivating with lots of action and excess. I knew little about Liberace going in and this book serves as a great introduction to the man and his life.

Thorson starts the book off well, playing the narrator instead of choosing sides. Near the end, around 80%, that shifts heavily. Perhaps realizing the audience for the book would be Liberace’s fans, and not wanting to go up against...more
Erin Cataldi
This will be filed as one of the most bizarre and impulsive reads I've embarked on this year. I was inspired to read this memoir after reading an article in last week's "Entertainment Weekly" about the upcoming HBO movie on Liberace's life and lover starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglass. I was so intrigued that I went out and got the book, even hough I know little to nothing about the legacy of "Mr. Showmanship." This book told me everything I ever wanted (and didn't want) to know about the p...more
Liz
In the mood for someting trashy, I listened to the book on CD. Bad writing about the life of a lost soul manipulated by the decadent, narcissistic entertainer. Curiosity kept me listening, all the while wondering why I was wasting my time.
Gabby
When I was growing up, there were two men on television I found totally repugnant. One was Milton Berle, and the other was Liberace. I usually don't read biographies or autobiographies because there's no one else's life I'm THAT interested in reading about. I have enough with keeping after my own. However, I was intrigued by the idea of Michael Douglas and Matt Damon starring in a movie about Liberace and his lover, so I watched it. Interestingly enough, that made me want to read the book, so I...more
Ashley
I already saw the HBO movie (MATT DAMON) so I'm not sure why I felt compelled to read the book? What can I say, I'm a glutton for candelabras. You actually feel for both Scott and Lee, and I really wish this story had ended better. I'm a firm believer in the "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful" Liberace credo but maybe it's not always the case. (See: plastic surgery, drugs)

I found out that Liberace performed on the Muppet Show so I will be watching that on YouTube tonight. So there's that...more
Holli
3 1/2 stars
surprisingly easy to read (not a biography) and quite gripping. Not as titalating as I am sure it could have been. Still...very engaging story and quite horrific at times. Scott lost all sense of himself. Replaces glamour with reality. Necessary book in these times when stars are glorified.
Nona Raines
Okay, I had to read this book after seeing the HBO movie. Maybe I'm gullible/naive, but I believe this book is a decent representation of Thorson's life with Liberace. One of Dr. Phil's folksy remarks is "No matter how flat you make a pancake, there are always two sides" and this is only one side. But in my opinion Thorson is for the most part quite complimentary toward Liberace. Yes, the man had his quirks and some deeper problems, foremost being so deeply in the closet and having to deny, up t...more
Chris
I saw a new version of this book at Barnes & Noble, and there is an afterward by Scott Thorson in this newest edition. I really enjoyed this book, and had a hard time putting it down. I read it because of the upcoming HBO movie staring Michael Douglas as Liberace, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson. Scott meets Liberace when he is only 18 years old, and Liberace is 57, and Liberace takes him under his wing as a father, mentor, lover, employee. It is a fascinating look into the life of Liberace....more
Donna
I liked the book....the movie did follow the book. The movie was a bit more graphic...which I didn't think was necessary. I always did like Liberace. I do feel Scott got the worst of the deal. Drug addiction, and it seems no way out.
Abby
This wasn't the best written book, the writing style reminded me of reading a biographical essay assignment from an eleventh grader who discovered a thesaurus. That being said, it sure was interesting. Most of the basics were covered in the movie version, but there are some interesting tidbits left in the book. Just reading about Scott's friendship with Michael Jackson and the completely crazy afterward made this worth reading. This is an interesting look into the world of celebrities who are pu...more
Schizophelia
An altogether sad tale told (almost regretfully) by Scott Thorson, the ex-boyfriend of the late Liberace.

Wide-eyed and fresh out of a traumatic childhood, Thorson meets the narcissistic Liberace and is immediately tucked beneath Liberace's rhinestone studded wing. The impression I got was that Thorson was not a hustler or an opportunist but a lost kid searching for a stable home. Loving Thorson's genuine love, packed into a hot, 19-year-old body, Liberace happily welcomes Thorson into his life....more
Steve Mark
I choose this as an airplane read when Amazon offered it for $1.99, curious to read the source material for the HBO film. Thorson had a good ghost writer, and it was better than I expected. Surprisingly, the most interesting part of the book is the account of Liberace's rise to fame, which takes up a large portion of the first part of the book. Thorson links some of this to stories Liberace told him, but much of the material also seems to be the result of research.

As far as their relationship,...more
Rhina Guidos
trashy but fun read while waiting for the bus. if you lived in Nevada, no doubt you have bumped into this type of character. there's an obvious mix between truth and the truth as Thorson sees it. I would definitely mark this as a long airplane ride read. entertaining. makes me want to visit Liberace museum if it ever reopens.
Kurt B.
Read this while I was under the weather last week. As trashy tell-all celebrity bios go, this was surprisingly good, i.e. full of titillating tidbits but also tempered with as much wisdom as one might expect given the participants. Much better than the other celeb bio I read that week, Belinda Carlisle's "Lips Unsealed."
Joe
The problem with this "tell all" is that it was written about a year after Liberace died. Had Scott waited until now to write this (and for Liberace's friends and family to die off), I think we would have got a much more juicy in depth protrait of the man.

Scott focuses on his life with Liberace: their excessive spending, Liberace's flamboyance, Scott's plastic surgery, his addiction to drugs, their break-up largely because of it, and the lawsuit that ensues afterwards. Basically, all stuff we al...more
Sue
This book was poorly written. It was a pick for my book club, and I found the book, which took me forever to read, to be uninteresting. The author had a tendency to repeat himself from one chapter to another. I would not recommend it.
Stephanie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karla
Normally, I don't like celebrity "tell-all" books; I find them trashy and classless. More often than not, those being talked about have long since passed away or are in the fits of dementia and are unable to defend themselves. However, this book appealed to me. I was drawn in by the sensitivity of Thorson to his former lover and his wishes to conceal his homosexuality to Lee's adoring public. One cannot believe the extremes to which Liberace requested his young lover go to in order to prove his...more
Joe Harris
The portrait of Liberace drawn from this somewhat self-serving story depicts a selfish, manipulative sociopath who used and disposed of his "proteges" and treated people like objects.
Farrah
It was definitely a dishy, fun behind the scenes bio but the writer - Liberace's former boyfriend - came off as a little too biased and not totally honest/open which lowered my rating.
Lady of the Lake
This is Scott Thorsons life with Liberace his view of how things went not really a bio that is unbiased. But it was interesting if seen that way.
Hannah
The high fructose corn syrup of books. Enjoyable and entertaining despite the sad ending and the author's shortcomings as a person and a writer.
Jen
I wish I could give this 2.5 stars. Maybe I'm jaded by the excellent movie adaptation, or maybe I was expecting more gossipy details, that weren't already revealed but I was hoping for more from this book. In fact, I remember reading about this in my Great-Grandmother's subscription to The Enquirer. "Of course he's a fruit," she said. "So what?" For her, "so what" was enlightened acceptance. For me, the "so what" was DETAILS! I wanted them then and I still want them now. I thought I would finall...more
Bookaholic
Cu titlul complet Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace (În spatele candelabrului, viața mea cu Liberace) cartea a fost lansată în 1988, la un an după moartea artistului, și este scrisă de Scott Thorson în colaborare cu Alex Thorleifson. ”Colaborare” s-ar putea să fie un cuvânt cam tare, dat fiind faptul că Scott nu avea la activ prea multă educație formală în momentul când fusese adoptat, la figurat, de Liberace, iar viața lui de după Liberace l-a dus într-un program de protecție a marto...more
Erin
Not very well written, but I was somehow compelled to keep reading. Liberace was a fascinating, fascinating character.
Erin
Craziest thing was the "Afterword". But now I'm ready for some gold leaf and velvet flocked opulence, HBO. Bring it!
Faith Barnese
Compelling ...

I remember Liberace as a child along with the likes Lawrence Welk, Buck Owens and Engelbert Humperdink. The stories of show business lives have always fascinated me. This one particularly interesting because of the gay lifestyle and the early years of the AIDS virus when society was less informed and judgemental of anything outside of the norm. I read this after having seen the movie and found the movie closely reflected the book. Liberace was the ultimate entertainer from my child...more
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