Liberace: Behind the Music
Liberace: Behind the Music is a 1988 Kushner-Locke Company television production. It is an "unofficial" biopic drama on the life and death of Władziu Valentino Liberace, who went from a humble working-class background to become a famous American pianist and vocalist. Known as "Liberace", he became the highest paid entertainer in the world, while embracing a lifestyle of flamboyant excess. The film first aired less than two years after his death, in the United States, as a CBS Sunday Movie.
|Liberace: Behind the Music|
|Written by||Gavin Lambert|
|Directed by||David Greene|
|Theme music composer||Hagood Hardy|
|Country of origin||Canada USA|
|Running time||97 minutes (USA)|
|Original release||United States
October 9, 1988
The modest-length production (97 minutes) traces Liberace's life, as played by Canadian actor Victor Garber, from his humble beginnings in a Milwaukee suburb, through his major life highs and lows, culminating with the highly publicized palimony lawsuit filed against him by his former limo driver and alleged live-in boyfriend of five years, Scott Thorson (played by Michael Dolan), and his failing health, ending with his death at age 67 on February 4, 1987, from AIDS complications.
Film clips from Liberace's actual stage appearances are interspersed in the storyline.
Liberace: Behind the Music was broadcast one week after the ABC biopic production Liberace (1988), starring Andrew Robinson in the lead, and with a script holding to a point of view that Liberace was heterosexual. Liberace: Behind the Music, however, acknowledged his homosexuality.
Wladiziu Valentino Liberace, a gifted classical pianist fueled by poverty, was already playing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 17. Through a variety of his highs and lows, chaptered in TV-style format, Liberace's life from his early years through his death are chronicled such as his career highs and lows and the struggle with keeping his sexuality hidden from the public.
|Saul Rubinek||Seymour Heller|
|Michael Dolan||Scott Thorson|
|Maureen Stapleton||Frances Liberace|
|Michael Wilkes||George Liberace|
|George Touliatos||Salvatore Liberace|
|Joan Heney||Serious Lady|
|Paul Hipp||Elvis Presley|
|Frances Hyland||Florence Bettray Kelly|
|Rochelle Bruneau||George's Girl|
Liberace: Behind the Music is available on DVD from Kushner-Locke, distributed through Tango Entertainment.