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|Born||1958 (age 54–55)|
|Born||1958 (age 54–55)|
Thorson met Liberace in 1976, when he was 16 1/2, through his friendship with Hollywood film producer Ray Arnett. When Thorson was 17, 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. 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 sexual promiscuity and Thorson's drug addiction, brought on by Liberace's hiring a plastic surgeon to restructure Thorson's face to resemble a young Liberace, and the doctor's prescribing a cocktail of highly addictive drugs, including cocaine, quaaludes, Biphetamine, and demerol post-surgery. Thorson also later battled Hepatitis C.
In 1982, Thorson filed a $113 million lawsuit against Liberace, the most famous part of which was a palimony suit. In 1986, Thorson and Liberace agreed to settle out of court for $95,000, two cars, and two pet dogs. He visited and reconciled with Liberace shortly before the entertainer's death in 1987, at Liberace's request. A year later, Thorson published a book about their relationship, Behind the Candelabra: My Life With 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 amongst people interviewed 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. During his relationship with Liberace, Thorson underwent plastic surgery to look more like Liberace. During the interview with King, Thorson revealed his chin implant had been removed earlier in 2002. In May 2012, he told Entertainment Tonight the plastic surgery had consisted of a nose job, his cheek bones' being raised, and a chin implant.
In 2008, Thorson pleaded guilty to felony drug and burglary charges and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was subsequently released. Thorson currently lives with his common-law wife in New England.
A movie drama based on Thorson's book Behind the Candelabra will air on HBO in 2013. It features Matt Damon as Thorson and Michael Douglas as Liberace. It is the first movie on the Thorson-Liberace relationship and its aftermath since the 1988 Canada-US made-for-TV movie Liberace: Behind the Music, 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.