RENO, Nev. (AP) — A former lover of Liberace who was the subject of an HBO film on the pianist's life has been sentenced to eight to 20 years in a Nevada prison for failing another court-ordered drug test while on probation for burglary and identity theft convictions.
Washoe District Judge Patrick Flanagan sentenced Scott Thorson on Wednesday after a string of bad drug tests capped by his failure to show up at a court-ordered treatment facility. Flanagan originally suspended the prison sentence in July and gave Thorson a second chance in September after testing positive for methamphetamine, but he failed tests twice in October and again on Nov. 1. He was arrested Nov. 19 after violating an order to enter an inpatient treatment facility in Reno two weeks earlier, court records show.
Thorson, 54, whose real name is Jess Marlow, had admitted he was an addict but insisted he was determined to get sober when he tearfully appealed to the judge in September to spare him from prison. "I'm just asking for another chance," Thorson said, explaining he was dealing with his newfound celebrity stature."
"I can't help who I am," he told the judge at the time. "I'm in show business. I attract these cameras." Flanagan said it would be his "last chance." "I'm not impressed — I don't think anybody is — with this so-called celebrity status," he said. "You're just like any other addict who has committed a crime against a victim."
Thorson had said his goal was is to write another book on the heels of his "Behind the Candelabra," which was used as the basis for the HBO film of the same name that won the Golden Globe for best TV movie earlier this month. Matt Damon played Thorson in the film, and Michael Douglas, who donned the flamboyant costumes to play Liberace, claimed his fourth Golden Globe for his work.
Deputy District Attorney John Helzer said in urging prison time in September that Thorson had been trying to capitalize on his fame since he told arresting officers last year he couldn't afford the bad publicity of going to jail.
"He's not a celebrity. He's a story," Helzer said. "It's one of accusation and manipulation and failure."