Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace Hardcover – June 22, 1988

449 customer reviews

See all 14 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$29.66 $6.99
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Save up to 40% on professional, scholarly and scientific resources.
Wiley's Summer Savings Event
Save up to 40% on professional, scholarly and scientific resources. Learn more.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1977, the 18-year-old Thorson became "lover, friend and confidant" of the 57-year-old Liberace, a relationship that would continue until 1982. Here, with Thorleifson (coauthor of John Wayne) he relates the sorry, seamy tale of his "callous" eviction from the performer's Las Vegas penthouse in favor of a teenager and the public brouhaha that followed when he filed a palimony suit. The book is uncomfortably candid with revelations about "Lee"who was driven to experience sexual variety with younger males, even as he continued to publicly deny his homosexualityand Thorson's protestations that he was unfairly branded a street hustler by the tabloid press. Although the acrimonious suit was ultimately settled (the provisions were kept secret), Thorson notes that he has written this memoir because "I need the money." His bitterness at Liberace, who died of AIDS in 1987, lessens at the end of the book, and with back-handed gratitude he concludes: "Leaving Lee . . . may have saved my life." Photos.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"This memoir by Liberace's longtime lover has been made into a biopic. . . . Peter Berkrot provides a direct and unadorned narration." ---AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 242 pages
  • Publisher: E P Dutton; 1st edition (June 22, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525246533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525246534
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (449 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #768,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

207 of 218 people found the following review helpful By Kemble W. Scatchard on September 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book is closer to the truth than one might think. I first met Scott and Liberace through one of my dearest friends, Ray Arnett, who produced and directed the Liberace Show for 30 years. He said he always felt sorry for Scott and that he (Scott) was treated very badly by Liberace, who had foolish and unrealistic expectations of a young, well spoken, handsome boy less than half his age.

The book is specifically NOT about the Liberace Show, nor does it pretend to be great literature. It tells honestly, the story of how a 10 year relationship between a closeted super-star and a teenaged dog-sitter came to be, how it survived and how it finally devolved amidst a backdrop of the glitz & whirl of the '80s and a society decimated by a poorly understood disease called AIDS. It would be a common and uninteresting tale had it not involved two men, a great deal of money, mob connections and, by the standards of Europe and Canada today, constituted a 10 year marriage.

The movie (of the same name) is shooting right now and is due to be released in 2013. It stars Matt Damon as Scott and Michael Douglas as Liberace. If it sticks to the book as intended, it will be both a conscientious statement on gay marriage rights in the US as well as an entertaining event.

I paid $14.00 for the hard cover and it is signed by the author.Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace
28 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
112 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Paige Turner VINE VOICE on May 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a great read--full of dish and gossip. Yet it provides readers with a view of Liberace's personal life as seen through the eyes of former lover Scott Thorson, only 18 years old when he met the famous entertainer. Liberace went to outrageous lengths to protect his public image as that of a confirmed heterosexual bachelor entertainer, yet ironically Thorson and the gay community watching one of Lee's Vegas shows knew the truth right off the bat. I believe Thorson's book is the first one that spoke of Lee's lifestyle, dispelling all the carefully constructed myths by Lee's PR people and by the entertainer himself. Thorson writes about how Liberace's circle of friends and employees always jostled for position with the entertainer; how these cronies resented Scott's position with the famous star. You can see that Thorson developed a great affection and love for Liberace; however, Liberace, ever the Svengali, goes to extremes to remake Scott in his own image with fancy clothes, jewelry, and plastic surgery, which proves to be Thorson's undoing. A life of excitement, mega-shopping sprees, expensive gifts and largesse, turns into one of isolation, betrayal and drug addiction. Thorson was responsible for exposing Lee's true lifestyle to the public and was entangled in a 4-year lawsuit which he settled, upon learning that Lee had HIV. It would be easy to look upon this book as a celebrity trashing by a bitter lover, but fortunately Thorson never stoops that low. He still maintains great affection for Lee, even when he details the bitterness and battles of their relationship.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By kt on May 16, 2013
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
Right off, please be aware there are no pictures in this book with the exception of the one on the front cover which I found disappointing. I assume considering his relationship with the family at the time he could not obtain permission to print any. I found this disappointing that is why I gave it a 4 instead of a 5.

I have been a big fan of Liberace since evenings when my family would sit and watch his show in the late 50's on our old black and white TV. Was priviliged to see him at the Seattle Opera House in the early 70's and was still awed by the man. I have read Bob Thomas' "Liberace: The True Story" and found it to be a good companion to Scott Thorson's book, however I found this book to be a touching memoir of the relationship between these two men who I, without a doubt felt a great deal of love, devotion and affection for each other. Although this book may be what some rock solid Liberace fans may not want to read, I believe Mr. Thorson has written a very honest account of his life with Liberace. I did not find any hostility or revenge motive in this book whatsoever in fact, I found it written with compansion and love.

I recommend this book as a definate read. It does differ in some areas from Mr. Thomas book as it relates stories told by Liberace to Scott about life experiences in his life that were not the ones Liberace wanted the public to hear about. Liberace wrote his own book which was not always truthful because he worked so hard to hide his homosexuality which, unfortunately other biographers and filmakers have relied upon in their own narratives.

I find this book totally believable, however the one discrepency I found was his version of how Bugsy Siegel was murdered. The true story is well documented so I'm not sure where he got his version....maybe from Liberace himself.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
49 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Robert Welborn on May 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I have been a life long fan of Liberace. My mom and grandmother loved him, so we always watched him when he was on television. Liberace was one of the first shows I ever saw in Las Vegas. Having met Liberace personally while on a trip to Las Vegas, I can honestly say he was very nice, but come'd have to be blind to not know he was gay. I read this book about 23 years ago. With the Michael Douglas movie coming out, I decided I wanted to read it again, so I am getting it either for my Kindle or Audible. I do believe most of what is in this book. You have to look at the time... the early 1980's...All of his peers knew, at that time an entertainer did not come out as gay...most of his fans were older women, it would have been career suicide. No one really knew what Aids was or how you got it. I'm sure if everyone knew back then about Aids, and how it was spread and how to prevent it Liberace would have lived and been performing up into his 80's. There was another movie about Scott and Liberace that had Victor Garber portraying Lee. The end of that movie almost had me in tears when he was taking the hairpiece off at the end. When I met Liberace, I could see what Scott saw in him...he had a way of making you feel special. When you're 18, you just want to fit in and be accepted, so I can see how a young guy could make Lee their life and lose themselves. Read this book, you won't be disappointed. Liberace was a true performer...just seeing him perform, you knew why he was the highest paid entertainer in the world. He made a brand of himself...the Piano...the restaurant, the museum....sadly the museum and the restaurant and Lee are only memories, but his legacy will live on.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?