Liberace and the Making of the “Behind the Candelabra” Film

With anti-gay riots in Paris this last week, and the first gay marriage in France at Montpellier, the TV film “Behind the Candelabra” aired on 26th May in U.S. and to be aired on U.K. television on 7th June is a timely reminder of how things have changed since Liberace lived under the pressures of secrecy with his partner Scott Thorson in the late 1970s/Early 1980s.  I always find it fascinating how films come to be made, and the relation of the actors’ charts to their roles as shown in their birth charts, and the real-life people they portray.


Liberace, who was a stand out celebrity in the 1950s and 1960s (when I was growing up), began to play piano from a very early age.  He had Sun conjunct Mars in Taurus, representing his energetic music and lifestyle.  His Ascendant was opposite exactly a conjunction of Venus and Pluto, indicating a difficult romantic life .This difficult emotional tone was reinforced by a T-square with the Ascendant opposing Venus/Pluto exactly squaring Chiron on the cusp of the 4th House.  But he also had a Grand Trine between Uranus exactly trine natal Midheaven (Career) and the Venus/Pluto conjunction (a glittering musical career).

Scott Thorson

Scott Thorson, the partner at the heart of the story, who wrote his autobiography which sparked the project, had Venus exactly conjunct Chiron (again, emotional pain) in Aquarius forming a T-square with a Mars-Jupiter opposition.  He also had the Sun square Neptune, which manifested as a lifelong problem with drugs and history of imprisonment.

He and Liberace had  their Marses exactly conjunct at 23 degree Taurus, a conjunction which can bring sexual compatibility, and passion, but also (often later) conflict, which is what eventually happened in their relationship.

Liberace leaned heavily on Scott to have plastic surgery (Scott’s Sun square Neptune) in order to look like him, and this is portrayed in the film.  Eventually Scott sued Liberace for palimony, around the time of Scott’s Saturn Return in Capricorn, when he was aged 29.

His Neptune in Scorpio was square exactly Liberace’s Neptune in Leo in 8th House (his fondness for luxury and extravagance), a basic spiritual unease in their relationship which may have been one of the causes of their split. Neptune being an issue between them, and “Behind the Candelabra” being the title of Scott Thorson’s autobiography about their life, leads me to wonder if the candelabra is a symbol for Neptune.

Steven Soderbergh

The film Director Steven Soderbergh, who directed the powerful Erin Brockovich, has Jupiter conjunct Chiron (an overwhelming desire to promote healing) and Jupiter trine Neptune (success in film directing).  Like Scott Thorson he has Venus exactly square Chiron (a need for healing through relationship) and therefore understands perfectly a fundamental part of Scott’s woundedness.

He has significanct interaspects with Liberace: these include Liberace’s Mars trine Soderbergh’s Sun, Liberace’s Neptune trine Soderbergh’s Venus and Liberace’s Nodal Axis square exactly Soderbergh’s Uranus (a karmic and group connection).  These are aspects which will have continued to get under Soderbergh’s skin until he made the picture!

As Liberace had Mars conjunct Scott Thorson’s Mars, Scott’s Mars is also trine Soderbergh’s Sun.  But Soderbergh’s Mars is square to Scott’s Mars.  There is sympathy (sextiled Moons) but also the possibility of conflict through the squared Marses.

Steven Soderbergh  is aged 50 now, so it is his Chiron Return movie, so the development of his Inner Healer is involved.  He is retiring or taking a break in order to paint (Chiron squaring his natal Venus).

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas, who plays Liberace himself in the TV film, has his Moon one degree away from Liberace’s Ascendant, and is able to access his personality through his own emotion.  It is not a typical role for him (his style usually being represented by his Scorpio Ascendant), but his Midheaven is in Leo (expressing a career in show business, and also the flamboyance of Liberace, who had Neptune and Saturn in Leo).

Michael Douglas’ North Node (karmic mission) is in Cancer (his profession handed down in the family) and sextile exactly Chiron, the planet of healing. Early in his career he produced the film “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, Chiron representing mental health issues.

His natal Sun is conjunct Neptune by 1 degree, reinforcing the direction of  the acting profession and the role of film in his life.

Michael’s Neptune (film representation) sextiles exactly Liberace’s North Node, so it may be a karmic contract that has been played out.

On August 16th 2010 Michael Douglas announced that he was suffering from a type of throat cancer, with Pluto then squaring exactly his Sun in Libra (and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Sun)  and Pluto conjunct exactly Michael’s Moon.  He was facing his own mortality.  Saturn, a hard taskmaster, was also transitting his Sun.  However Neptune was trine his Venus (throat) and by 11th January 2011 he was able to announce that the tumour was gone.

The timing of the film was affected.  He had been asked to do the film, and Steven Soderbergh waited for his recovery, so the project was very significant for Douglas.  Steven Soderbergh’s Neptune is conjunct Michael Douglas Ascendant in Scorpio – he could envisage Douglas in the role of Liberace.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon, whose Midheaven at 28 degrees Scorpio is exactly conjunct Neptune (charisma), was also marked out at birth for a film career.  With three planets and Midheaven in 10th House in Scorpio, this encapsulates his role of agent in the Bourne Trilogy.

His Moon at 22 deg Capricorn is trine exactly his own Mars in Virgo and trine Liberace’s Mars in Taurus, their Marses being in trine.  Matt Damon’s Moon is conjunct Michael Douglas’ South Node.  Another indication of a karmic role.

Film launched 26/5/13

At the TV launch of this film in the U.S., Neptune trined Liberace’s Venus/Pluto conjunction – charts are often very relevant posthumously, and Liberace may have influenced the project from spirit! Neptune was square his Nodal Axis – portraying karmic pain, but ultimately balancing and possibly healing.

Saturn was conjunct Scott Thorson’s Neptune – this may have been for him a stark portrayal of his drug addiction.

Pluto was trine Steven Soderbergh’s Pluto (his announcement that it would be his last film, but also his own empowerment through this production) and sextile his Jupiter – the satisfying end of a cycle, and also triumph.

In Conclusion

Notably Mars is prominent in the exact interaspects between all these men, emphasizing the theme of male sexuality. It may imply that the right men at the right time were chosen to be involved in a project of this nature.

The relationship betweeb Liberace and Thorson didn’t last, and the secrecy and social climate undoubtedly put some strain on their relationship, but they had different issues to work out in this lifetime and reached a parting of the ways.  The current climate would probably have seemed impossible, if not inconceivable, to Liberace starting out on his emotional life.


On Sunday (2nd June) morning the week dawns brightly with a sextile between the Sun and Uranus. It’s a good day to bring a group of friends together, or indulge in some original creativity, or if you’re a scientist to perfect your invention ready for patenting!

On Monday (3rd) Venus enters Cancer, and any creation you are engaged in will complete its design phase and work with the heart, on the feeling and emotional aspects of its purpose.  Part of Grand Trine no. 1 occurs in the evening, with Mercury trine Neptune. This too has application for your creative purposes, in bringing down inspiration from the spiritual plane to the rational mind.  The Universe does not waste energy, and this part of the Grand Trine may find you engaged in a group project.

The Grand Trine completes in the early hours of Tuesday (4th) morning, and you may see the grander purpose or plan, with your particular role in it.  Mercury now trines Saturn, so after the spiritual downloading comes a practical phase which is the next step.

The Sun also squares Chiron on Tuesday, so there may be health challenges or awkward situations.  Know that there are solutions, possibly close at hand.

Friday (7th) is the busiest day aspect-wise, from 8.24 a.m. (in the U.K.) TO 23.57 Hrs.

Here is your timetable:

8.24 a.m.: Neptune stationary, prior to turning retrograde – starting a re-evaluation of your spiritual path.

11.46 a.m.: Venus trines Neptune, and initiates the second Grand Trine of the week – this is about embodying more inspiration into your creativity, art or music, more compassion and unconditional love in your relationships, and more understanding of the relationship between the spiritual and the material, providing information about abundance.

15.23 Hrs: Venus trines Saturn, completing the Grand Trine and grounding the work you have done.  Again you may be involved in a group application.

You may prefer to view the two trines as one big trine, from Monday to Friday, possibly reflecting  a work project you are engaged in. So Mercury and Venus in conjunction (arts and writing projects) are enabled by their trine with Neptune (spirit) and Saturn (matter). A wide range of successes can come under this banner.

22.03 Hrs: Mercury opposes Pluto, initiating a T-square patterning which slightly combats but does not wipe out the benefits of the Grand Trine(s). There may be a challenge in implementing plans or a fault in the thinking which needs to be ironed out. The cause may be a deep psychological issue.

23.57 Hrs: Lastly on this day, Mars squares Neptune and there may be confusion in action, confusion about men, or about the performance of your car. Again have faith in the power of the overall plan presented to you this week, and take steps to remedy any problems so that the project is not derailed. If this is a group situation for you, encourage each person to take responsibility for their own part.

The week ends with  a New Moon on Saturday (8th) plus another square.  The New Moon is at 18 degrees Gemini, favouring communication, education, science and travel within your own country.

Mercury squaring Uranus then puts the cat among the pigeons or the spanner in the works in relation to communication and technology. This is part of the T-square, and requires clarity of thought and possibly swift communication.

The T-square continues over to next week, but is balanced and counteracted by a powerful trine which supports the efforts you have made this week. It is not a case of the wave dissolving your sandcastle, but a little reconstruction may be needed next week.

The week in bullet points:

  • Sunday – brilliance
  • Monday – soft feelings and spiritual input
  • Tuesday – laying foundations; healing crisis
  • Friday – complexity; rigorous aspect timetable
  • Saturday – new beginning; be alert mentally