Showtime premieres the documentary film Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston Nov. 15. Simon George wrote and directed the project, about the heavyweight boxer who fell on tough times. “Told through original conversations with luminaries, historians and some of Liston’s closest friends and family, Pariah chronicles the rise and precipitous fall of one of the most vilified and misunderstood sports champions of all time,” said Showtime.
Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight crown in 1962. Eight years later, he was found dead in his Las Vegas home from a supposed heroin overdose. “Throughout his rise to fame, Liston was disparaged and denigrated by white society as a violent criminal. His association with notorious mobsters and his back-to-back losses to Muhammad Ali inevitably caused Liston to spiral out of control,” said Showtime.
The film was developed from Shaun Assael’s book The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights. Mike Tyson speaks about Liston in Pariah, as do Assael and boxing historians Nigel Collins, Jerry Izenberg, Bob Lipsyte and Don Majeski.
Pariah is executive produced by Louise Norman, Adam Hawkins and Dimitri Doganis.
“There are a million stories about Sonny Liston’s life and death,” said George. “He led multiple lives and he led multiple deaths.’