Scott Thorson, Liberace's Former Lover, to Spend 8 to 20 Years in Prison

01/24/2014 at 11:10 AM EST

Scott Thorson, Liberace's Former Lover, to Spend 8 to 20 Years in Prison
Scott Thorson
Washoe County Sheriff's Office/WireImage

Matt Damon

Matt Damon

A former lover of Liberace, who was the subject of the HBO film Behind the Candelabra, 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 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 status since Matt Damon played him in the HBO film.

"I can't help who I am," he told the judge at the time. "I'm in show business. I attract these cameras."

Scott Thorson, Liberace's Former Lover, to Spend 8 to 20 Years in Prison| Crime & Courts, Behind the Candelabra, Liberace, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas

Matt Damon in Behind the Candelabra

Claudette Barius / HBO

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.



Michael Douglas, who donned the flamboyant costumes to play Liberace, claimed his fourth Golden Globe for his work in the film. Damon was also nominated.

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."

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